For years now our family has had one focus;to be the kind of family who lives each day with spiritual purpose. We deliberately do all kinds of things like have daily devotionals and family council meetings, weekly PPIs. A family mission statement isn’t just a good idea to us, it is something we use to keep our family focused on progressing as a group toward the missions God has prepared for each of us. We talk about everything and every feeling. If we feel the Spirit leave our home every member of the family has been taught to bring it to the family’s attention and to pray and sing a song to invite it back into the home.
If we are driving to the store and children start to argue, we stop, discuss, pray and sing until we feel the Spirit so that we can go out into the world carrying a feeling that will be different, warm, and inviting. This is the way we live to keep the Spirit and to stay focused on our responsibility to spread goodness and light to the world.
Each member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been asked to be a missionary. Our family realized that this could only be possible if we learned how to recognize the Holy Spirit and use it each day. Our Spiritual commitment to our family feeling is intense. It is the most important thing we teach and worry about in our home. However, we never knew that just focusing on keeping the Spirit in the home could impact the world the way it has.
If you remember, in November 2009, a BBC show called “The World’s Strictest Parents” aired an episode about the way our family lives and how we helped two troubled British teens to feel the Spirit of family and to make much needed changes in their lives. The teens and some members of the camera crew didn’t want to leave our home because they didn’t want to leave the feeling in our home.
The show was a huge success! The BBC told us that it was the most watched episode of the program so far. After each airing of the program my husband and I are contacted by many people from all around the world. They ask us many things and want to know how we live. They are interested in our religion and the principles our family lives by. They want to know how to live better lives and strengthen their families. It is inspiring to meet people like this! They are so brave to contact perfect strangers and ask for advice. Our family has made some life long friends from this experience. We can’t ever have too many friends.
We really can’t wait to get to Europe some day to meet all these new friends. We have had opportunities to have great discussions about the things the Peck family believes and why we live the way we live. The experience has corrected information that people had previously believed about the “Mormon” church. People in England who have seen the program now know that we are not polygamist, we have equality in marriage relationships and family responsibilities, we use electricity (no really people are told we don’t), we read the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon, we are Christian, we have strong families, and we love all kinds of people no matter their differences.
The world’s eyes have been opened a bit more from the program we did. Our family couldn’t be happier. We get responses and questions all the time like these below:
“This episode shouldn’t be called ‘The World’s Strictest Parents,’ it should be called The World’s Best Parents!”
“After I saw your episode I realized no one has ever taught me what is right and wrong before. Will you help me learn the difference between the two so my life doesn’t turn out like the teens that came to live with you?”
“How do I find more out about your church and how you live?”
“I didn’t want to leave your home. It felt so nice there.”
“Thank you for showing us what you REALLY believe.”
“Thank you for giving me hope for my family…now I know the thing we are missing.”
As you can imagine, my husband and I were very humbled and excited to receive messages like these in our inbox and mailbox. We had hoped some good would come from doing the program that our better judgement told us we shouldn’t do, but we had no idea it would spread so much goodness and inspire so many people to make wonderful changes in their lives the way it has. We instantly love each person and want them to find the happiness they are searching for.
Obviously we can’t help all the people who contact us learn everything they want to know about our religion, so we have been in contact with the missionaries to help with teaching people who want to learn more.
When all the response started coming in about the show I realized that for each one person who contacted me there were many many more who didn’t contact me but just found other people or missionaries to learn what they wanted to know about how we live in our religious culture. It’s just like on a blog. hundreds of people will read it and use it but only one or two will actually leave a comment.
What We Learned
1. A loving, Spirit filled home is the best MTC there could ever be.
2. A person, or family, has to prepare every day by having the Spirit in order to be ready to be used by the Lord for His purposes.
3. No family is boring.
4. The world is craving strong families.
5. Now is a really good time to just open up and tell people what we believe and show them how we live. Invite people into your home.
6. We can all change the world by living our regular lives. In fact, in our reality TV world, that is probably the best way to change the world.
7. Live each day with purpose. Deliberately do things which prepare you to speak up with the Spirit.
When I was young I had grand dreams of serving a mission. The plan was mission then marriage, but it didn’t work out that way. I got married before I had the opportunity to serve a full time mission. However, now I see that marriage and strong family IS my mission. And, this mission is making a big difference. Apparently, my life schedule was supposed to be marriage then mission.
There is no greater mission than to be a parent or spouse; to make an eternal family. Family is the main message our full time missionaries give to people learning about our faith. So, it only makes sense that those of us who are raising a family or peparing to raise a family look at our missions with spiritual eyes. We are living the missions we were meant to and if we magnify our efforts and focus on the Spirit then our homes can be the training grounds for other great missions as well.
May God Bless You and Your Families! ~Nicholeen
To read more about how the Peck family lives and the parenting principles they follow visit http://teachingselfgovernment.com