Alleviating suffering while creating conditions for the people of the world to flourish along with preserving the planet are tall orders. We are routinely reminded by politicians and pundits that the solutions to such issues are only to be found in big government and big international institutions. While governments and institutions play important roles, we may have missed the message from Confucius given more than 2,000 years ago: “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” I have often wondered why Confucius chose “integrity of the home” for his description.
Saving the people of the world and the planet is actually a cottage industry. It starts in homes and families and communities, not in large bureaucratic buildings.
Not all homes are the same. The people who occupy any particular home vary widely. The structural integrity of the home, however, is made up of core principles, values and personal responsibility. If such morals are not taught and learned in the home, it matters little what government laws or regulations require — the structural integrity of the home will, under pressure, be compromised and the strength of the nation will be diminished and eventually destroyed.
Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently admonished members around the world to live Christ-centered lives in a home-centered, church-supported approach to worship and devotion. He recognizes the need to fortify the moral structural integrity within homes.
Sheri Dew, executive vice president of Deseret Management Corporation, once described the need for such structural integrity by describing the fatal flaws of the world’s first jet airliner, the British-made de Havilland Comet.
“When the Comet was introduced in 1949, the future seemed bright for jet travel and the Comet was the undisputed, front-and-center leader — until three Comets unexpectedly disintegrated in flight, killing all aboard. The planes were grounded as puzzled engineers worked feverishly to understand why they had operated flawlessly at first, only to break apart later in midair. The engineers set up a fuselage in a large pool and pumped water in and out, simulating the effects of repeated cabin pressurization. At first, the experiment revealed nothing, nothing at all. But over time the pressurized circumstances yielded a startling discovery. The repeated stress caused small, microscopic cracks to form around the rectangular windows, cracks that would eventually widened into gaping holes. The planes could not withstand repeated pressure. They lacked structural integrity, and the pressurized circumstances revealed what the Comet was at its core — a bright shiny pretender that was not secure or safe.”
Creating a safe and secure world will require significant repair to the structural integrity of homes across the country and around the world. Such repairs cannot be outsourced to government agencies, signed into existence by the executive branch or voted into being by Congress.
Recent events in Washington show how destructive politicians can be to the nation while ignoring the power of the immense strength of structural integrity in the homes of the American people.
While the intense and ugly battle to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh raged on, political parties raised money, ranted for hours and railed against the opposition. Absolutely absent from the conversation were any mention of the principles, values and personal responsibilities central to the cause of the calamity.
Far from the lights and cameras and removed from the divisive rhetoric, however, families sat around kitchen tables and in living rooms to talk about issues that would not only preserve the structural integrity of their lives and homes, but of the nation.
At home, underage and binge drinking were actually discussed. At home, conversations were happening about premarital sex, unsupervised parties, consent and respect for women and men. From these pages, Christian Sagers raised a critical question for every home to consider about what he termed as the real “con job” of the Kavanaugh hearings — the notion the nation has embraced that sex has become a commodity rather than a sacrament.
More homes having these simple conversations could be transformational for individual lives and for the country. The Supreme Court nomination process could have been an entirely different discussion.
Governments have limits. Homes with this type of integrity have immense power to influence neighborhoods and communities.18 comments on this story
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelves Apostles of the church recently spoke to the G20 Interfaith Forum on how the individuals in strong homes and communities do far more to impact real lives than government ever could. In describing the church’s self reliance program, he said, “In just three-and-a-half years, over 700,000 participants have taken a course, including thousands from other faiths. In Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay alone, almost 7,000 business have been started or improved, over 4,200 individuals have found a new or better job, about 1,500 participants completed a personal financial course, and approximately 7,000 others started an education with a career goal. From data we collected from participants in just these four South American countries, 40 percent reported increasing their income after attending a self-reliance group, 37 percent increased their savings, and 54 percent decreased their consumer debt.”
Countless other examples show that home truly is where principles and values are taught, where character is forged and where personal responsibility is practiced. Confucius, from his 2,000-year-old perch, was right: “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”
Save the world? Start at home.