When I got my first cell phone, I was in University and it was a time when they were pretty basic. I could send and receive calls, but there was no texting at all. It helped me communicate with friends and family and I loved having its convenience. 

Fast forward the years and smartphones with texting are now the norm. They’re fast, efficient, flashy and smarter than most of us (aka me).One of the love/hate relationships I have with my smartphone is the predictive text feature. When I first got the phone, I was pretty annoyed with it. When I tried to text, it would pop up with suggestions of words as I typed. It’s what they call “predictive text”. While it drove me nuts and caused me to send some really strange texts to people (everyone can relate, I’m sure!), I got used to it and found that this feature saves a lot of time. 

The more I texted certain words, the more my phone started to predict what I was going to text—and I don’t even text very much at all. For instance, if I had used a word like “restaurant” or even an unusual word like “Fallentine” a few times, my phone would pick up on the first few letters and fill in the word for me. The more consistently I used certain words or phrases, the more consistently my phone could predict my texting behavior.

Just as with predictive texting on our smart phones, the words we say or the things we most consistently do in our homes and families (whether good or not-so-good) can often predict the future behavior of our children. What’s done most often in our homes is what our children most often will duplicate in their own lives.

For instance, here are a few “textbook” examples. If we:

  • consistently hold family/personal prayer, family/personal scripture study, Family Home Evening, attend the temple frequently;
  • watch General Conference and attend Stake Conference;
  • speak kindly, lovingly, encouragingly and well of family members and others;
  •  wear/purchase modest clothing for ourselves and our children;
  • come home from Church and talk about what we’ve learned;
  • serve diligently in callings;
  • served a full-time mission;
  • take time to turn off or tune out electronic devices;
  • seek education and learning;
  • work hard at whatever we’re currently doing;

… chances are, our children will most likely follow suit. However, if we look at the opposite of these examples with young people in mind, it gets scary. Fast. For instance, if we find ourselves:

  • being casual or sporadic in scripture study, prayer, FHE, etc.
  • skipping sessions of General Conference, Stake Conference, General R.S., Priesthood or YW broadcasts;
  • being casual with temple garments;
  • coming home from Church with critical remarks or gossip about the lesson, talks or ward members or Church leaders;
  • yelling, belittling or being mean or sarcastic in our remarks to others;
  • choosing not to serve a full-time mission (young men);
  • constantly texting/use of electronic devices or the Internet;
  • neglecting education or not seeking opportunities for learning and growth;
  • not being actively engaged in meaningful work or service;

… chances are, our kids are more likely to learn these same behaviors. See? This gets really scary! Our words and deeds in the home environment will have a great and long-lasting impact on our children. They believe what we say. The listen to us and take us for our word. Even more than what we say, they will do what we do. By what we most consistently do or say, we greatly increase the chance that these predictions (good or not-so-good) will come true. 

In fact, the Prophets and Apostles in The Family: A Proclamation to the World and throughout countless scripture, actually predict that:

“Happiness in family life is most likely (hint of predictive text here) to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. … Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”

A quote from Elder Richard J. Maynes in a powerful talk (here), sums it up nicely when he said:

“The responsibility for establishing a Christ-centered home lies with both parents and children. Parents are responsible to teach their children in love and righteousness. Parents teach their children with words and through example. When parents preside over the family in love and righteousness and teach their children the gospel of Jesus Christ by word and through example, and when children love and support their parents by learning and practicing the principles their parents teach, the result will be the establishment of a Christ-centered home.” (Elder Richard J. Maynes, April 2011 General Conference, Establishing a Christ-Centered Home)  

To me, The Family: A Proclamation to the World is better than any smartphone and certainly better than any text we can ever send or receive. It’s an inspired document can actually predict the happiness that will most likely occur if we have our families and homes centered on Jesus Christ--and if we implement its inspired and prophetic counsel. On the other hand, the second to last paragraph is a chilling reminder what we can expect if both we and our society ignore the teachings and prophesies of ancient and modern prophets. Whichever the case, this proclamation is going to stand the test of time and I’m thankful for its teachings every day of my life.

Angela Fallentine

Most of you are likely familiar with my friend, Angela, as I have featured her before as, not only a guest writer, but the main subject of one of my own posts, which is how I came to know her. If you haven't read it, you really should. Angela is one of the courageous defenders of the Family, and has truly gone the distance in standing for what she believe, in the most intimidating of circumstances. I will meet her one day, of that I have no doubt. She is one that is stellar in her testimony of Jesus  Christ, and is as true as they come in sustaining God's Prophets'. 

Please take a minute and visit Chocolate on My Cranium or Mormon Mommy Blogs to see what's happening over there during our Family Proclamation Celebration!


Kathryn Skaggs

Angela Peterson Fallentine was born and raised in a Alberta, Canada and is a Canadian turned Kiwi (a Can-iwi). She and her husband fell in love with the scenery and peaceful lifestyle of New Zealand and they now call these islands in the South Pacific "home". She loves being a wife and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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