If I asked you to tell me what is most important to you in your life right now, what would you say? Possibly your phone, or maybe sports? Others might say their friends, or their social life. There are various answers, but lately I’ve been pondering that question on my own and I’ve decided that for me, it is my family. Now you might be thinking, “A teenage girl, saying that her family is the most important thing in her life?” I know it might not be the usual answer but the importance of my family kind of hit me recently.
This past summer, I went to Houston, Texas for a ballet program. I lived there for a month and a half in college dorms with a roommate, and learned to be quite independent. (Or at least as independent as it gets for a 16-year old.) Surprisingly, I did not get home sick. I was dancing from 9 am to 6 pm, 6 days a week, for 6 weeks. I didn’t have much time to even think about home. So if I wasn’t home sick, and I was learning to be independent, how did this experience make me realize the importance of families?
Sometimes you have to go without something for a little while to understand what you’re missing out on, and my time in Texas did just that. I came home to Utah and began noticing that the simplest things were the most important. I don’t think my four younger siblings left my side for at least a week after I got home. Before my time away I never realized how much my actions influenced them. This realization has made me try to be a better example.
Eating in a dining hall full of 300 ballerinas for six weeks straight also made me realize why family dinner is so important. We often don’t think much of it, but as our lives get hectic, dinnertime becomes the key to keeping our families happy and together as a whole. I started going to the dinner table with a smile on my face, excited to hear about how everyone’s day went.
Saying a prayer before we eat also meant so much more to me upon returning home. I was truly thanking Heavenly Father for our dinner instead of just paying attention to my growling stomach.
Family scripture study and prayer became a whole new story. While I was in Texas I read my scriptures and said my prayers every day but something is so special about sharing that experience with your family. There is a completely different spirit and happiness that is indescribable.
I also learned how grateful I am for my parents, in particular my sweet Mom. Doing laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, making food, and doing all those things that made our house a home, was a lot harder than I thought. I look back and realize that I barely survived doing all of those things on my own, and it made me admire my Mom so much more for doing all of that, not just for me but for all five of her kids. Whether or not your Mom still does all of those things for you, I encourage you to thank her and remind her how much you love her.
Now, you might not be able to fly out of state for a month and a half to realize how much family means to YOU. So take a moment each day to reflect on your own how important your family is in your life. Put your phone away, and enjoy some time laughing with the people that care about you most. Put in the effort to ask how their day was. Give your family members a big hug and remind them that you love them. Read scriptures as a family. Get down on your knees, and say a family prayer daily. Heavenly Father sent you here to earth, with the family that you have for a reason. Don’t let a busy life be a reason to keep you from being happy around the people that matter most. Your family loves you. Don’t forget it.