Don't flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become. Except in cases of necessity, which are rare, leave your friend to learn unpleasant things from his enemies; they are ready enough to tell them. -Oliver Wendell Holmes
Why is it that we are so much more careful with strangers and friends, than we are with our own family? Is it because our family must love us, and will love us, despite nearly anything we do, and with friends and acquaintances we do not have that luxury, that amazing quality that lasts a lifetime and beyond? Shouldn't that quality alone compel us to revere our family? Or, because we are so intimately familiar with one another, so tied in memories, good and bad, with both triumphs and grudges, we expect our family to just take what we say or do and swallow it, whereas we would be so much more careful with those who don't know us so well, those who would judge more harshly. It is a human struggle. I am guilty of it.
My friend was sharing an experience about answering the door to some women who were proselyting. They asked her what she considered the most dire circumstance, the greatest danger to the world today. She thought a moment, and then answered, "The breakdown and corruption of the family." The women were speechless and just stood there blinking. She guessed they expected her to say wars, the lack of Christian faith, or our world leaders, etc. But her simple answer holds truth. A family is the basic unit of the human race. It is where we come from; it is how we continue. If the family breaks down, becomes disconnected, dissolved, misplaced, disregarded, what does that say about us as a race? Isn't that more crucial than, say, global warming? The planet will still be a planet, but in what state will we be?
"Indeed, nothing is more critically connected to happiness—both our own and that of our children—than how well we love and support one another within the family." M. Russell Ballard
It starts at home, and it starts with us.