"Perhaps most significant of all classrooms is the classroom of the home. It is in the home that we form our attitudes, our deeply held beliefs. It is in the home that hope is fostered or destroyed. Our homes are the laboratories of our lives. What we do there determines the course of our lives when we leave home. Dr. Stuart E. Rosenberg wrote in his book The Road to Confidence, 'Despite all new inventions and modern designs, fads and fetishes, no one has yet invented, or will ever invent, a satisfying substitute for one's own family.'
"A happy home is but an earlier heaven. President George Albert Smith asked, 'Do we want our homes to be happy? If we do, let them be the abiding place of prayer, thanksgiving and gratitude.' (In Conference Report, Apr. 1944, p. 32.)"
- Thomas S. Monson, "Precious Children—A Gift from God," Ensign, Nov 1991, 68
Click here to read or listen to the full talk
"The classroom of the home"—President Monson makes good use of this expression and imagery. Many of the important lessons of life are taught and learned as a family interacts together in that setting. And I think it's not just the children who are learning; adults continue to learn as well, throughout their lives, in that special "laboratory":
It's not hard to extrapolate on the situation when home life deteriorates, as it has in so many ways since President Monson shared this thought in 1991, more than 25 years ago. The lessons he describes are not being learned in far too many home settings in our time. Crucial attitudes and beliefs that should be learned are missing. And hope is destroyed more than it is fostered. Society is definitely impacted.
On the other hand, there are still many who can testify to the statement, "A happy home is but an earlier heaven." As we carefully retain the practices of prayer, thanksgiving, and gratitude, we can be blessed with that joy and peace.