Life's patterns set in childhood

If the present vicious slide of society is to be checked, that process must begin in the homes of the people, President Gordon B. Hinckley told graduates of Southern Utah University June 3.

"You are among those who will establish and maintain many of those homes in the years to come," he added.President Hinckley offered the university's baccalaureate address in Cedar City, Utah. During his remarks, he explained: "As you know, this is not the end. It is commencement. It is a wonderful season to step out into the world. I think it is the greatest season in the history of the earth.

"But all is not well. There are areas in the fabric of society which are unraveling. There are challenges which you face which no previous generation has been called upon to face in the same measure.

"I am concerned about your children," President Hinckley said. "I am concerned in a larger sense about the children of America and the world. I am particularly concerned about the millions of children who come into the world with handicaps, seemingly impossible to overcome, with children whose lives are blighted by neglect and abuse of parents and others, with children who have limitless capacity but almost no opportunity. This has become a problem of ever-growing proportions and terrible consequences. In the long term, it may well be the most serious problem facing our nation because its consequences multiply and reach forward through the generations to come."

Continuing, President Hinckley counseled: "Every young man must realize that in fathering a child, he takes upon himself a responsibility that will endure as long as he lives. Let every young woman know that in giving birth to a child, she has placed upon herself a responsibility that will endure for many years to come and will consume her time and energy if she is to be the kind of mother she ought to be.

"How tragic is the desolate and ever-increasing picture of illegitimate births. With each such birth comes responsibility, particularly to the mother, but also to society at large.

"Many of you will look to the Church, your church whichever it be, for help in teaching moral values. From the days of Sinai to the present, the Church has been the conservator and teacher of values. And help of a substantial kind will be found there."

President Hinckley explained: "The patterns of life are pretty well set in childhood. The tracing of those patterns is largely made by fathers and mothers. The cost and the size of the home are not nearly as important as the quality of its environment."

Create a home, he admonished, "where a young man looks to his wife as his equal, his comfort, his dearest friend, and his greatest asset; where a young woman walks beside her husband, neither before nor behind him, as a companion and looks to him as the light and strength of her life; where children feel secure in the embrace and love of happy parents, who nurture and teach and instill in them those moral and ethical standards which will guide them throughout their lives.

"My dear young friends, at this glorious time of graduation, I could wish for you nothing better than love that is true and good, than marriage that is honorable and secure, and children to be nurtured and loved and reared in those values which are of the very essence of our civilization.

"No one else will be able to teach them as effectively as you," President Hinckley continued. "No one else will have as serious a responsibility to do so. As the years pass, nothing, I repeat, nothing will bring you as much satisfaction as to watch them grow, guided by the values you have taught them, primarily through your example."

President Hinckley exhorted those listening to teach their children such things as tolerance, civility toward others, respect and loyalty.

"Teach them the beauty of freedoms, the marvelous freedoms established by the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution of this nation.

"Teach them obedience to law, that where there are disagreements there are proper and peaceful ways to adjudicating differences.

"Teach them fidelity one to another, that marriage is sacred, that the home is the basis of society, that good family relationships are the foundation of good and productive lives.

"Teach them the importance of health . . . . Teach them the quality of charity and the meaning of service . . . .

"Teach them that there is a power greater than their own to whom they may appeal with expectation of help. Teach them to `look to God and live.' "

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