Today I was studying 1 Nephi (a book I am very familiar with as I have read it multiple times). I was impressed with Nephi saying he was the son of “goodly parents.” What made them “goodly?”
I looked up “goodly” in the dictionary. Here are a few of the definitions I found:
- Of good appearance, good looking; well favored or proportioned; comely, fair, handsome.
- Notable or considerable in respect to size, quantity, or number
- Of good quality, admirable, splendid, excellent; well suited for some purpose, proper, convenient.
- Gracious, kind, kindly disposed.
Then I discovered “goodly” appears 29 times in the KJV of the Old Testament, 4 times in the KJV of the New Testament, 4 times in the Doctrine and Covenants, and 1 more place in the Book of Mormon. I began to wonder what the Hebrew and the Greek meanings might do to help me gain a better understanding of the word “goodly.” I learned that most of the time it was used it was referring to something being beautiful, pleasing, good, magnificent or excellent.
It still seemed a bit vague.
“I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father…”
At first glance, it seems that “goodly” is tied to education. So, it would seem that “goodly parents” ensure that their kids gain an education. They pay particular attention to teaching their family members the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I think a large part of being a “goodly parent” is being a righteous example in the home and creating an atmosphere where the Spirit can dwell.
Colossians 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.”
Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children obey your parents in the Lord: for it is right. Honor they father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
Ephesians 6:4 “And, ye fathers provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Ephesians 5:25 husbands… “love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church…”
Ephesians 5:22-23 wives… “submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”
In short, the father, mother, and children should strive to live in harmony with each other. A home that is inviting to the Spirit can have no name calling, backstabbing, demeaning, nor degrading of each other. No matter how mad or frustrated a person might get, they must show kindness and respect for others, and forgive wrongs. Parents aren’t dictators. They are partners with each other and their children.
Maybe, to be a “goodly parent” a person needs to follow the counsel in the hymn “Love at Home.”
There is beauty all around,
When there’s love at home;
There is joy in every sound,
When there’s love at home;
Peace and plenty here abide,
Smiling sweet on every side,
Time doth softly, sweetly glide,
When there’s love at home.
“Goodly parents” set the tone of the home. They set a good example. They hold family prayer and scripture study. They encourage family members to worship together.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33; 3 Nephi 13:33).
“And now, my sons, remember, remember that is is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fail. (Helaman 5:12)”
“Goodly parents” teach their children by following the prophets and building a sure foundation upon Jesus Christ. They teach their families to have a hope in Christ. They teach their families to care for others, to “clothe the naked and to feed the hungry.” (Jacob 2:18-19). “Goodly parents” must teach family members all that they must DO to live with Him. There is no better teacher than example.
The thing is, families are under attack. In a Conference address in October 2012, Elder L. Tom Perry said, “As we know, [Satan] is attempting to erode and destroy the very foundation of our society – the family. In clever and carefully camouflaged ways, he is attacking commitments to family life throughout the world, and undermining the culture and covenants of faithful Latter-day Saints. Parents must resolve that teaching in the home is the most sacred and important responsibility.”
Elder Perry shared five things parents can do to create stronger families.
- Parents can pray in earnest, asking God to help them love, understand and guide their families.
- Parents can hold family prayer, scripture study, and family home evenings. They can also eat together as often as possible.
- Parents can get church support by communicating with teachers and leaders.
- Parents can share their testimonies often.
I found these quotes as well that support how one can become a “goodly parent.”
After all that study on being a “goodly parent” I realize I fall short. It’s a good thing that effort counts in the ways of the Lord. It’s a good thing that the ultimate in GOODLY PARENT picks up the slack when we fall short.