By Kevin V. Hunt
Back a few years ago, I was invited to talk along with our son, Rusty, in a church Sacrament meeting. The occasion was his eminent departure for a Church mission to Brazil. That talk was an opportunity to reflect upon the things that had become important to me (and to my wife and our family). And in whole, the talk really was a statement of my gratitude for God and a glorious way of life – righteous principles – that He had inspired us to live. It was recognition – and again gratitude, of His beautiful concepts that inspired and guided us. It was a time of reflection and gratitude for our children and posterity and their power and strength.
And it is in the spirit of Gratitude, that I now publish this article in recognition of God’s blessings unto us. It is often in retrospect, that one can fully appreciate the blessings given to us. This message is shared – not in the spirit of pride or bragging, but in the acknowledgement of blessings that come as we have strived to live in God’s way and to press forward with a desire to do good things.
RAISING A RIGHTEOUS FAMILY
(From a Father’s Perspective) – By Kevin V. Hunt
Talk given at Rusty’s “Mission Farewell” August 14, 2005
[My wife, Lou was assigned to speak on the same subject “from a mother’s perspective” and covered many of the same subjects. At the beginning of my talk, I said, “My wife and I did not correlate what to talk about on our talks so you will notice a lot of duplication. But that is, in reality, a testimony of husband and wife working together for common goals.]
The Hunt family has enjoyed a glorious and wonderful weekend as a family. We have gathered in a family reunion to celebrate our Rusty going on a mission. Jenae and Paul and new little Kaitlin have come from Utah. Kaylea and Pete and their big/little Bryson as well as Jackie and Michael and their brand-new Abby all live nearby but have been here with us. Siblings and Parents have also joined in various activities. We have together celebrated the joy of family – of being together and of accomplishments of family members. And that means that we have basked in the joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – for the two go together.
Our weekend together began with a family Temple trip. We enjoyed baptisms and sealings with six of our children and spouses there. Saturday morning, we migrated en masse to Gilbert’s Freestone Park for a big family photo. Our favorite photographer joined us and performed wonderful service on our behalf. To add to our joy of being together on that beautiful summer morning, K.C., home just three months from his mission, announced his engagement and coming Temple marriage to Miss Celeste Farr – from the middle of nowhere, Nevada.
The family photo was an opportunity for me to measure success and growth of our family. It had been five years – almost to the day – that we had had a full family photo. Since that time, we have always had a missionary serving and each of them overlapped with a sibling. So, it has been that long since we have been fully together. (We were actually all together in May as KC returned but we had to wait for the arrival of Miss Abby for the family photos.)
Much has happened in the five years since that last family photo. Two boys followed their older brother and five uncles in achieving their Eagle Scout Award. Keith has been ordained a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood and his two brothers both became Elders in the Melchizedek Priesthood. Five children have gone to the Temple for their endowments. Jackie served a mission to Venezuela. Jenae Served a mission to England and Wales. K.C. served a foreign mission to Ft. Worth, Texas. Rusty is now called to serve in Brazil. Larissa was baptized. Four more children graduated from high school. Two summers ago, we had three daughters get married within 60 days. It was a wonderful whirlwind of family joy and happiness as we went to marriages in two states, three temples and endured five receptions. Son-in-Law to be, Paul, nearly died in a major car accident in Provo Canyon. We rejoiced in the Miracle of his recovery – which even allowed him to dance – in great pain, and with a rod in his femur – at his own wedding reception. Jenae and Paul got married on the 25th Anniversary of Lou and me. And that was a real shock – since Lou is still only 29.
Now each of those three new families have added to family posterity with the addition of three new grandchildren. And we rejoice in them and their wonderful spirits. And K.C. has now become engaged. I might note that a marriage so soon was not in his plans. He had big plans for school and career. But the Lord literally dropped Celeste into his lap so K.C. recognized that blessing and is now taking early action. K.C. learned in his youth and as a missionary to listen to the Lord – and then after hearing the message, standing up to salute with a “Yes, Sir” and then taking action. The home children have developed talents, progressed in school, church, Young Men and Young Women. We are very proud of each of the children and their accomplishments – for WHO and WHAT they are.
As I have contemplated the above, I have had frequent occasion to reflect with sincere gratitude, on the family and the children that we have been blessed with. I feel much like Book of Mormon Ammon who said in Alma 26:8-12: “Blessed be the name of our God: let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever. And it came to pass that when Ammon had said these words, his brother Aaron rebuked him, saying: Ammon, I fear that thy joy doth carry thee away unto boasting. But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing as to my strength I am weak: therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things, yea, behold many mighty miracles [we have seen] wrought in the land, for which we will praise his name forever.”
Our friend and neighbor Bishop Hale asked me to talk today on the subject of “Raising a Righteous Family from a Father’s Perspective”. That subject gave me opportunity to pull together some of my own thoughts on the subject as I have contemplated the Lord’s blessings in our behalf – and the accomplishments of our family. He asked me to speak to the many young couples and families of the ward. So, with that injunction, I go forward. And from 27 years of marriage experience, I now share with you the contemplations of what has brought success, joy and happiness to the Hunt family.
I have compiled a list of things that we have done – and that I would recommend to others relative to raising a righteous family.
- Commit yourselves and the whole family to the Lord. Put Him first and live and serve according to all His commands.
- Build upon a foundations of family traditions. Have traditions for church attendance and service, Sabbath observance, family work projects together, a lot of recreation and trips together. Watch General Conference together. Expect family participation by “always doing it” together.
- Set goals for the family, for expectations, for achievement, for obedience and commitment to the Lord. Unite together as a couple and a family to achieve all that the Lord has in store through conformance to His plan.
- Plan for a big family. Don’t limit the number of children. Plan for and welcome all that you can possibly get. We set a goal at marriage – to have twelve – but ended up with nine. And, as Lou says, “Nine is Fine”. And remember that the number of children that you can have and nurture and provide for is not tied to economic wealth – though having nine children does have some impact on the budget. We have enjoyed our many children and it just keeps getting better.
- Keep the mom home with the children in the early years. That is probably the greatest decision of our lives. What wonderful things have come from the commitment and sacrifice by all of us.
- One of the greatest things that we did – and we didn’t really pre-plan it – was to not have a television in the home. I can not begin to tell you of the blessings of that one decision made when Jackie was just four and which continues to this day. Having no television gave us a multitude of time together, time to learn crafts, develop talents, a great amount of “talk time” and has sheltered and protected our children from the evils of the world.
- Read together. What great benefits we have derived from the thousands of hours we have read together.
- Pay a full tithe. And the question is, “Do you want the Gross blessings – the big blessings – or do you want the Net – just part of the blessings.” And pay a generous fast offering. These offerings will help to solidify the family financial success and survival.
- Do the basics religiously and regularly. Not big things any of them – but have family prayers, personal and individual scripture study. Attend church – to ALL of the meetings and activities together. Eat meals together and talk together. Work and play together.
- Be a part of all activities and programs of which the children are a part. Celebrate achievement and success.
- Parents and siblings unite together in personal example to all of the children of the family. Work for and achieve pre-set goals for family righteousness, missions, and Temple – and all the intermediate steps and standards needed to meet those big goals.
- Talk often of missions and Temple marriage and the expectation and opportunity for each to be ready and prepared for these major life milestones.
- Trust in the Lord – and build this attitude of trust in family members through recognition and gratitude through life’s activities, commitments, and decisions.
- And I just thought of another one – not in my original typed text: Record the events and blessings and them refer to them often to reflect upon progress made and the Lord’s blessings in your lives.
Well, there you have it. That’s the “Reader’s Digest” version. There is more that can be said, but those 13 items will establish a major foundation. Those are the Hunt family keys to success. They have certainly worked for us and we have had great joy because of them. And even though I grew up on Park Place – on the Monopoly board, I don’t believe that the Hunt family has a monopoly on the good things of life – the blessings and opportunities and the end results. I believe that those same blessings and opportunities are available to all through obedience, planning, and trust in the Lord. Just DO IT, as President Kimball always stressed, and all things will come together. As our Hunt family scripture says in Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and he shall direct thy paths.”
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And as I prepare this blog article for publication, I am again reminded of the Lord’s guidance in our lives. I am so grateful for the principles that were taught to us through the years and which we strived each day to try to live. And doing so has brought great blessings to me, to my wife, and to our family. Fifteen plus years more (since the 2005 church talk) have just accentuated the truth of these guiding principles. And those blessings just keep coming. For that I express my profound gratitude to my God.