Home the Basis of a Righteous Life

Leah &amp Varian Final Canvas BLOG

Hello again my lovely readers. Normally I would try and mix up the spiritual posts with some of my other themes, but I am scheduled to teach again in church tomorrow and this has been where the majority of my creative time has been spent this week.

As always these chapters from President Gordon B. Hinckley are amazing and chapter 11, Home the Basis of a Righteous Life, is no exception. I printed out a more condensed outline for myself to use for teaching, but have written out all the passages here for your convenience; mingled with a few of our family photos over the years. But click this link to see the printer friendly form: Ch 11 FULL LESSON

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Feel free to use this lesson plan if you are also scheduled to teach this chapter, or just for your own personal study. The lesson is about the importance of family and teaching your children. This is a lesson close to my heart, as I come from a family who always tried to do this, and am in this stage of life where I am desperately trying to be a good mother and raise my children well and to be strong in their testimony of Jesus Christ. Parenting is hard work (!!!!!!!!!) and may the teachings of this lesson help us all in our quest to raise our children in love.

Chapter 11 – Home the Basis of a Righteous Life

Introduction- CTR 5 Class (5-6 year olds) sing I am a Child of God.

I am a child of God,

And He has sent me here.

Has given me an earthly home,

With parents kind and dear.

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,

Help me find the way.

Teach me all that I must do

To live with him someday.

???Think about these lyrics, how has their teaching benefited your life or could bless the lives of these children???

(I thought having this group of children sing would help get the attention of the sisters, a lot of whom are the mothers, aunties, grannies of these kids. But I came across this lovely mormon channel youtube video of I am a Child of God if you’d like to use instead. )

Section 1: Family relationships are the most sacred of all relationships.

Briefly mention points of paragraph 1: “The family is divine. It was instituted by our Heavenly Father. It encompasses the most sacred of all relationships. Only through its organization can the purposes of the Lord be fulfilled.”


Show a rope- have them picture mountain climbers, using ropes as they travel to protect themselves from danger and slipping. Think of how vulnerable your children are and that as you travel through life there will be many challenges and obstacles. As a parent you would want to bind your family safely together to protect them from harm, or give them stability against the dangers/temptations that will come.


In the following reading, listen for the things that President Hinckley has said are important to use to bind our families together:

Read Section 1: paragraphs 2-3 pg 167

“We are a church which bears testimony of the importance of the family – the father, the mother, the children – and of the fact that we are all children of God our Eternal Father. Parents who bring children into the world have a responsibility to love those children, to nurture them and care for them, to teach them those values which would bless their lives so that they will grow to become good citizens…. I want to emphasize that which is already familiar to you, and that is the importance of binding our families together with love and kindness, with appreciation and respect, and with reaching the ways of the Lord so that your children will grow in righteousness and avoid the tragedies which are overcoming so many families across the world. 

It is imperative that you not neglect your families. Nothing you have is more precious.” 

???What were the things that President Hinckley said here would bind your family together??? (Not a very open ended question- but there’s lots to cover and want to save time for later discussions.)

Use poster board to make a mountain (labeled Life). (Or to be simpler just quickly draw one on the whiteboard.) At the top could be Heaven or Heavenly Parents. Tape/tie the following answers down the rope. You could use poster board strips with the below answers-  taped together to be the rope, or tape the answers to some twine.

  1. Love and kindness
  2. Appreciation and respect
  3. Teaching the ways of the Lord- so children will grow in righteousness and avoid tragedies

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SECTION 7: We strengthen our families as we seek heaven’s help and nurture a spirit of love and respect for each other.

Rock climbers need more than just ropes to climb safely, they also need anchors.

From Wikipedia: In rock climbing, an anchor can be any device or method for attaching a climber, a rope, or a load to the climbing surface – typically rock, ice, steep dirt, or a building – either permanently or temporarily. The intention of an anchor is case-specific but is usually for fall protection, primarily fall arrest and fall restraint. Climbing anchors are also used for hoisting, holding static loads, or redirecting…a rope.


Being a parent is hard. Of course it is also wonderful and rewarding but sometimes it can just. be. so. hard. Let’s read the following paragraphs and listen for some parenting anchors that will help us as we strive to teach our families and bring them back safe and sound to the presence of our Heavenly Parents.

Pg 173 paragraphs 1-3

“[Raising a family] may not be easy. It may be fraught with disappointment and challenge. It will require courage and patience….Love can make the difference – love generously given in childhood and reaching through the awkward years of youth. It will do what money lavished on children will never do. 

-And patience, with a bridling of the tongue and self-mastery over anger….

-And encouragement that is quick to compliment and slow to criticize. 

These, with prayers, will accomplish wonders. You cannot expect to do it alone. You need heaven’s help in raising heaven’s child – your child, who is also the child of his or her Heavenly Father.” 

Make/find something that looks like an anchor and thread the rope through. Could use posterboard, or duct tape folded in on itself.

  • Love – generously given
  • Patience- bridling of the tongue and self-mastery over anger
  • Encouragement- quick to compliment and slow to criticize
  • Prayer- to receive Heaven’s help

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FOLLOW-UP: From Chapter 10’s challenge

Section 7 paragraph 9 – the bottom of pg 174 to the top of 175.

“Let us continually work to strengthen our families. Let husbands and wives cultivate a spirit of absolute loyalty one to another. Let us not take one another for granted, but let us constantly work to nurture a spirit of love and respect for each other.” 

This fits in perfectly with our last challenge from chapter 10. (Click HERE for that post.)

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Remind them of Last Lesson’s Challenge to place this magnet where you could easily see it and strive daily to find ways to seek the comfort, happiness and well-being of your spouse or other loved one.

???Raise hands if you tried to do this challenge???

???Would anyone like to share any positive experience of trying to do this challenge????

Section 2: Fathers and Mothers have the privilege of caring for their children and teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ.

1st paragraph pg 168

“We call upon parents to devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church. The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this God-given responsibility.”

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Paragraph 2 is long but lovely:

“I am satisfied that nothing will assure greater success in the hazardous undertaking of parenthood than a program of family life that comes from the marvelous teaching of the gospel: that the father of the home may be clothed with the priesthood of God; that it is his privilege and obligation as a steward of our Heavenly Father’s children to provide for their needs; that he is to govern in the home in the spirit of the priesthood “by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned” (D&C 121:41-42); that the mother in the home is a daughter of God, a soul of intelligence, devotion, and love who may be clothed with the Spirit of God; that it is her privilege and obligation as a steward of our Heavenly Father’s children to nurture those children in their daily needs; that she, in companionship with her husband, is also to teach her children to “understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands…[and]to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.” (D&C 68:25, 28)”

Have the sisters reflect on this image of motherhood and how they can better rise to meet it. Could discuss if time.

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  • If time: paragraphs 3-4. Could recap/highlight to save time

“In such a home, parents are loved and not dreaded; they are appreciated and not feared. And children are regarded as gifts of the Lord, to be cared for, nurtured, encouraged, and directed.

There may be an occasional disagreement; there may be small quarrels. But if there is prayer in the family, and love, and consideration, there will be a residue of affection that will bind forever and a loyalty that will always guide.” 

Section 3: Through family prayer, children grow with faith in the living God.

Sometimes when climbing, one needs to stop and take some breaks on a ledge or secure spot to rest and regather energy and strength. One of these ledges can be family prayer.

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  • 3 Nephi 18:21 “Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.”

Paragraph 1 pg 169

“Behold your little ones. Pray with them. Pray for them and bless them. The world into which they are moving is a complex and difficult world. They will run into heavy seas of adversity. They will need all the strength and all the faith you can give them while they are yet near you. And they also will need a greater strength which comes of a higher power. They must do more than go along with what they find. They must lift the world, and the only levers they will have are the example of their own lives and the powers of persuasion that will come of their testimonies and their knowledge of the things of God. They will need to the help of the Lord. While they are young, pray with them that they may come to know that source of strength which shall then always be available. in every hour of need.”

??? Advice on making family prayer more successful, what’s worked for others in figuring out how to make time for it and teach reverence..etc.???

Section 4: Family home evening can draw parents and children together in learning the ways of the Lord.

The practice of a weekly Family Home evening was requested by the First Presidency in 1915, and in 1970 President Joseph Fielding Smith designated Monday nights as the preferred night to do so. In the October 2002 General Priesthood Meeting, President Hinckley encouraged public school officials and community leaders to keep Monday nights free of other activities and events to better help families use this as FHE.

He said, “We are fearful that this very important program is fading in too many areas. Brethren, there is nothing more important than your families. You know that…I am satisfied that this program came under the revelations of the Lord in response to a need among the families of the Church.

If there was a need 87 years ago, that need is certainly much greater today…And we urge, in the strongest terms possible, that fathers and mothers regard most seriously this opportunity and challenge to make of Monday evening a time sacred to the family.”


Read Paragraphs 3-4. Page 170-171

“I am grateful that we as a Church have as a basic part of our program the practice of a weekly family home evening. It is a significant thing that in these busy days thousands of families across the world are making an earnest effort to consecrate one evening a week to sing together, to instruct one another in the ways of the Lord, to kneel together in prayer, there to thank the Lord for his mercies and to invoke his blessings upon our lives, our homes, our labors, our land. I think we little estimate the vast good that will come of this program. 

If you have any doubt about the virtue of family home evening, try it. Gather your children about you, teach them, bear testimony to them, read the scriptures together and have a good time together.” 

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In groups of 3-4, have sisters plan a FHE lesson plan with song, scriptures/lesson, activity and treat (Pass out FHE blank outlines). Have topics written on poster board for them to choose from, or they can think of their own.

REPORT if time – Collect and post their plans on the Relief Society Facebook page and in the ward newsletter.

Here is the blank FHE lesson plan to print out: Ch 11 FHE blank lesson plan

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(To clarify I don’t mean you should discipline if you have time for it, more-so I mean cover this section if there is still time in the lesson. 🙂 )

Pg 174 Section 7 paragraphs 5, 7-8

“I speak to fathers and mothers everywhere with a plea to put harshness behind us, to bridle our anger, to lower our voices, and to deal with mercy and love and respect one toward another in our homes. 

Of course, there is need for discipline with families. But discipline with severity, discipline with cruelty inevitably leads not to correction bur rather to resentment and bitterness. It cures nothing and only aggravates the problem. It is self-defeating. 

There is no discipline in all the world like the discipline of love. It has a magic all its own.”

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Example of a blog post I read where the mom would draw pictures of video cameras on sticky notes and place them around her house. When she would see them she would imagine herself being recorded as she interacted and had to discipline her children and doing so helped her to curb her temper, stay calm, and be more loving and patience with her children. Heavenly Father

Hymn 96: Dearest Children, God is near you (Verse 2):

2. Dearest children, holy angels
Watch your actions night and day,
And they keep a faithful record
Of the good and bad you say.
Cherish virtue! Cherish virtue!
God will bless the pure in heart.

Colossians 3:14-17 “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

If time: ???What strategies have worked for your family when trying to discipline with love???

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Pg 168 Section 2 Paragraph 5

“Now a word to the single parents…. [You] carry exhausting burdens in fighting the daily battles that go with rearing children and seeing that their needs are met. This is a lonely duty. But you need not be entirely alone. There are many, ever so many in this Church who would reach out to you with sensitivity and understanding. They do not wish to intrude where they are not wanted. But their interest is genuine and sincere, and they bless their own lives as they bless your lives and those of your children. Welcome their help. They need to give it for their own sakes as well as for your sake.”

???Ask/discuss/brainstorm with the group what things they can do to help other people with children. How to cross that barrier of awkwardness? What help is helpful and what isn’t?..etc. ????


30 Day Challenge- pick one or both
  1. Twice daily Family prayers (Sticker Chart) 
  2. Weekly FHE

Here is the link to the Family Prayer Chart: Ch 11 Family prayer handout


In closing – a prophet’s prayer for our families: pg 175 last paragraph of chapter.

“O God, our Eternal Father, bless the parents to teach with love and patience and encouragement those who are most precious, the children who have come from Thee, that together they might be safeguarded and directed for good and, in the process of growth, bring blessings to the world of which they will be a part.” 

Bear my testimony of the sacredness of family and the importance of teaching our children to know and love the scriptures, to follow the commandments of Jesus Christ, to pray to our Heavenly Father and live the gospel; and that by doing so our families can be eternal and return to live with our Heavenly Parents.

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  • Questions at end of chapter: What do we lose if we neglect family prayer? How can parents improve in their efforts to help their children live the gospel?
  • My sister-in-law Felicity’s example of daily devotional with her kids and how this has blessed us as we’ve tried to do it over the years. Ring a bell and the kids know it’s time to come to the front room for devotional and when they get there if they’re sitting reverently they’re allowed to ring the bell. We have an opening prayer and song. Read a chapter or so from the children scriptures. Then each child takes turns standing up and reciting the Articles of Faith that they have memorized. End with another song and prayer and occasionally a treat for those who were reverent and participated. Hoping that by doing this the kids will learn the scripture stories and doctrines of the gospel, learn the hymns or primary songs, practice praying and reverence and sitting still, practice memorizing and public speaking, learn their Articles of Faith, spend time together as a family. 
  • Section 5 and the story of the tree / application to teaching our children while they are young.
  • Section 6 Rebellious children.

PS: I don’t know what the blogging etiquette is for downloading free images off the Internet. I googled a few of the climbing pictures and family prayer and copied and pasted from there, those are not my originals, and the FHE book and President Hinckley book from lds.org

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A lot of the family shots are done by my 3 lovely sister and sisters-in-law.

  • Mandie Wood Harris – Illumine Photography
  • Alana Aston – Sunlit Studios
  • Felicity Aston  – Felicity Aston Photography

Well these lessons are quite the novel-posts. I’d promise to make my next one a small one, but there’s no guarantee. 🙂

To end things off and tie into our lesson’s metaphor – here’s one of my all time favorite climbing shots:




2 thoughts on “Home the Basis of a Righteous Life

  1. Katie Barker says:

    Leah! I love this lesson! I’m speaking in Sacrament next week and I was able to use a lot of this information. Thank you for sharing and for being so strong!

    I took my daughter, Abbie, to do baptisms in the Ogden Temple a couple weeks ago. Your dad did her confirmations. it was so fun to see him again!

    Thank you and with lots of love! Katie (Ward) Barker


  2. memoirsofaleah says:

    Katie- it’s so nice to hear from you!!! I’m glad this helped, how did you lesson go? That’s so neat you saw my dad in the temple. I thought you were living up in Logan? Hope you’re doing well! xoxoxo Leah


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