Perfection may not be realistic, but is it something to progress towards? As part of our storytelling series, meet Taralyn and see what she learned when she studied “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” with that question in mind.
I have always seen “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” as a beautiful painting – an ideal to aim for. Something that’s created and achieved over a lifetime and into the eternities, rather than some ideal to reach and check off my list. I’ve studied it as a young, single adult, questioning her ability to ever create that ideal. I’ve studied it as a wife and mom, who looks like she’s “arrived.” But the truth is, every version of me could find faults and judgement and weaknesses if she looked to compare herself with the ideal.
But I don’t see it that way – I see it as a reminder of God’s promises. Am I imperfect, flawed, and broken? Absolutely. Could parts of the proclamation make me feel marginalized or misunderstood? Most certainly. But the family proclamation isn’t about me. God’s beautiful painting is about Him, not me, and I appreciate that no matter what stage I’ve been in, I’ve been able to find myself in it.
The family proclamation actually led me to my specific Master’s program. After years of working with at-risk youth, I knew I wanted to do more with families. I hated seeing them go home to brokenness that undid the work they did in treatment. But I also loved wilderness therapy, and wanted to find something that married all of that. That bit about “wholesome recreational activities” directly led me to my Master’s Program in Youth and Family Recreation. Because whether I helped other families with that or wound up getting married and starting my own family, I knew the added education would flesh out that piece of God’s painting for me.
I have also felt heartache over how some of God’s children feel reading some of the declarations in the family proclamation. But I also believe those firm declarations give us opportunities to see where/how we can grow, and also to see where we need to invite and allow Christ’s Atonement to heal and empower us. Within God’s beautiful painting, there is a place for all of us.
Seeing Yourself in the Family Proclamation
We hope you will come to see this website as one of those places. Our desire is that everyone who visits will come to see themselves in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” We hope that time spent here will help make the principles of the proclamation more prominent in hearts and minds; that as you do so, you will be able to find something that inspires you, no matter where you are on the path.
The “Ideal”: How Do You Fit into the Proclamation?
Many may feel their family situation is less than ideal. In studying “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” start where you are and use the principles to take steps forward in whatever ways you can. Sharon Eubank, First Councilor in the General Relief Society Presidency taught:
The reality is that a majority of Church members do not live in perfect family situations. I’m not sure anyone lives in that perfect ideal family. … we are on this earth to learn the skills of strong family relationships, no matter what our own situation is. … The Lord sees you. … If you trust your life to Him, His hand will guide you every step of the way until you are happy and at peace with all the desires of your heart.
Paragraph 7 of the proclamation is a great one to study if you have a difficult time relating to some aspects of the family proclamation. It is filled with scriptures, quotes, research, and stories that can help you to see yourself in the proclamation.