I grew up just a few houses down from our town cemetery. Both my great-grandparents are buried there, plus a few other relatives. My grandfather is in the American Legion. For the past eight or so years, he has organized the Memorial Day program in my hometown and the surrounding communities. My extended family—aunts, uncles, and cousins—attend the Memorial Day program in the cemetery in the morning. After the program, our whole family runs across the street to my grandparents’ house and we have a special breakfast. The Memorial Day program is something in which many Americans participate. It is part of our culture. The breakfast is something unique to our family culture.
So what does this have to do with you?
According to a member of the governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dallin H. Oaks, the depreciation of the family has led to the “lowest birthrate in [US] history.” Furthermore, “in many European Union nations and other developed countries, birthrates are below the level necessary to maintain their populations. This,” he says, “threatens the survival of cultures and even of nations.”
How do families safeguard cultures and nations? It is obvious that if no one has children than nations will eventually disappear. It seems a little extreme to think about, but who says it can’t happen?
Perhaps a little less dramatic but still concerning is the danger of losing cultures. Posterity is a safe hold for culture, both on a macro and micro level. While one family celebrates a birthday by going to Chuck E. Cheese, another might have a family party. This is a family tradition and part of a family culture. Have you ever talked to one of your friends and discovered that one of their traditions is to have a cookout on the Fourth of July? This family tradition contributes to a nation’s culture. Families create and perpetuate traditions. Traditions create culture, both within families and on a larger scale in society. Without families, who would continue these traditions?
Families are imperative for saving cultures and nations.
—Jessica Neilson, Stance