In President Henry B. Eyring’s young single adult years before he had a family, he said he “thought often of the children he wanted to have, and imagined them as redheads, like his mother. When he faced temptation. . . he would remind himself, “I can’t do that — the Redheads are counting on me.”
Temptation is a real and daily reality for each of us, and for young single adults, who are busy, tired, and seemingly right in the way of the adversary’s fiery darts, it can be easy to succumb – especially to the little things. The choice to sleep in after a late night of homework seems to make more sense than waking up a little earlier than normal in order to study the scriptures. It almost seems counterintuitive to accept a calling or a ministering assignment when one is already busy juggling school, work, and a social life. Ice cream for dinner during finals week is much more appealing than is taking the time to prepare a nutritious and nourishing meal. Deep debt is a more normal method of handling school finances – taken on almost without a second thought.
Such are examples of the everyday choices and temptations, conscious or subconscious, that many young adults – including myself – face on a regular basis. The choices being made in these situations are often small and simple and may not involve grievous sins; however, President M. Russell Ballard reminds us that: “Like weak fibers that form a yarn, then a strand, and finally a rope, these small things combined together can become too strong to be broken. We must ever be aware of the power that the small and simple things can have in building spirituality. At the same time, we must be aware that Satan will use small and simple things to lead us into despair and misery.”
On those days when we’re feeling tired, unproductive, or like the newfound responsibilities of adult life are weighing extra heavily on our young shoulders, it can be difficult to decide to “choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong,” and the thought of everything we have to do (or should be doing) can seem incredibly overwhelming.
There’s no one around to remind us to do our scripture study, say our prayers, wake up on time, eat nutritiously, or manage our free time wisely. Our choices are ours, and sometimes because we no longer live with our parents and siblings, it can be easy to justify that our less-than-wise, in-the-moment choices won’t hurt anyone else. We know that “happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ,” but perhaps we sometimes get sucked into the mentality that happiness in single adult life is attained by doing what feels good in the moment and it is easier to momentarily succumb to our natural man.
But what would happen if we adopted a more eternal perspective? How would our choices be different if we kept in mind the words of Elder Kim B. Clark:
In God’s eternal plan, there is an eternal companion for every one of you, if you are faithful. You may not know yet who that person is. It may be some time before you meet that person, but your beloved companion is a real person who will one day be sealed to you forever. And every one of you has children that will bless your life. You may not yet know who they all are, but they are real people living in the pre-mortal realm preparing to come into your family. You are husbands and wives, mothers and fathers in God’s eternal plan. That is who you really are.”
President Nelson reminds us, “Understanding who we are influences how we choose to live our lives. What we choose to do here will determine the kind of life we have throughout all eternity. We are never living just for today.” As I consider my future family, the spouse I will someday marry and the children that I will one day have the privilege of raising, I think of the example I hope to set for them and of the choices I hope they would make. I want the very best for them! I want to be the best for them. And I hope that they will desire the best for themselves.
I haven’t yet met them, but they will be the ones I hope to spend all eternity with, and my choices now will very likely have an effect on them. I want to establish habits of putting the Lord first, of proactively keeping covenants and being obedient, of being a good steward of my relationships, time, physical body, and education, of being careful to choose only uplifting entertainment and always living temple worthy. When they ask me for advice about this stage of life, I want to look back and be grateful for the way I chose to conduct my life – in a manner that allows me to share firsthand experiences of the blessings that come from choosing the right, even when it’s hard. My own parents have done that for me, and I am eternally grateful for their good choices throughout their single years and the habits they established early on that have continued to bless their children.
Like President Eyring, when I take the time to think about my future family as central to my eternal life plan, rather than thinking only of myself, I tend to make better choices. I wonder how it would change the world if more people – of all ages – adopted such a mindset and intentionally did their best to prepare to establish successful families – which “are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” No doubt it would help the positive influence of families to spread to individuals, communities, and nations.
Author Annalee Blonquist is an intern pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Mount Liberty College with a special interest in history, law and government. She would like to especially thank Dallin Scott for his help and suggestions with this article.
Don’t forget to check out our latest podcast on how everyone fits into “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” The interview covers a unique circumstance with someone who might not be your typical defender of the family. Hear your own invitation in the latest episode of the “Raising Family” podcast.
 Elder Kim B. Clark “Identity and Purpose in God’s Eternal Plan,” BYU-Idaho Devotional, April 22, 2014.