"The responsibilities of parenthood are of the greatest importance," said Elder Howard W. Hunter, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, in an October 1983 general conference address. "The results of our efforts will have eternal consequences for us and the boys and girls we raise. Anyone who becomes a parent is under strict obligation to protect and love his children and assist them to return to their Heavenly Father."

The importance of parenthood and the family cannot be overemphasized. In the United States the week of Thanksgiving was designated as National Family Week. Many other countries also designate days or weeks to call attention to this most important unit of society.Few challenges are greater than that of being good parents. "Even with the best intentions, conscientious, good parents sometimes experience feelings of despair, failure and hurt when children do not make right choices and turn out the way we would like. Even in those circumstances it is so important for parents to love, pray for, and never give up hope for a son or daughter who may have strayed or brought disappointment," said Elder Ben B. Banks of the Seventy in his October 1993 general conference address.

"Parents should be the master teachers of their children. The Church will assist parents in their teaching and training - but only assist. The Church cannot be a substitute for parental responsibility. Elder Richard L. Evans said the home `is also the source of our personal lives, and in a sense the determiner of our everlasting lives. And so our plea is for parents to take the time it takes to draw near to the children God has given them. Let there be love at home. Let there be tenderness and teachings and caring for and not a shifting of responsibility onto others. God grant that we may never be too busy to do the things that matter most, for home makes the man.' "

Articles on this page and pages 7-10 discuss various perspectives on parenting.