I just saw that Gene R. Cook’s Raising Up a Family To the Lord must be out of print: Amazon.com only has marketplace copies, Barnes and Noble doesn’t list it at all, and even Deseret Book’s Web site only offers an audio tape and a couple of translations.
That’s too bad, because it is far and away the best book about parenting that I’ve ever read. Cook, a general authority in the LDS Church, wrote the most specific, organized, detailed, inspiring, and practical family guide ever set down on paper. What most especially impresses me is that he published this book two years before the church’s famous Proclamation on the Family. Talk about prophetic! Actually, Elder Cook’s book is the best manual for implementing and living the Proclamation that anyone could ever ask for. That’s why it’s so tragic that it seems to have fallen by the wayside. It should be in every home. Couples should study it regularly. I’d love to see it become popular, or even come back into print.
As it is, some of those used copies at Amazon are going for as low as three dollars. It’s worth a million times that.
I used my notes below as the text for a lesson once when I was elders quorun president, and got a few laughs because the notes are so long. Yes, Elder Cook covers all his bases, and does so in exacting detail. But don’t get the idea that these notes are exhaustive–they don’t convey the wonderful spirit of his dozens of personal stories that carry the testimony of his principles into our hearts. Not much of what he writes could be considered “commandments,” anyway: mostly ideas for us to adapt and use in our own circumstances.
Still, any family, of any faith or none at all, would benefit greatly by working these ideas into their home life over time. I’ll say that the more any family resembles the ideal outlined by Elder Cook, the more happy and healthy they’ll be.
Please forgive the inconsistent spacing in my notes:
Raising Up A Family To The Lord
by Gene R. Cook
* See outline of basic priorities on pp. 13-16.
I. Most important things: instill habits of personal prayer and scripture study in children by modeling them
as a family; also, convey spiritual values to children through daily living in the home.
A. Do not rely on church programs to mold children– they merely support the home.
B. Involve children in home teaching responsibilities; expose them to faithful models (“second
witnesses”) in church.
1. “Family duties” to encourage include:
a. Weekly family home evening.
b. Family and individual prayers twice daily
c. Bless food at each meal.
d. Make time for family activities.
e. Family scripture study
f. Have mealtime discussions
g. Discuss gospel while working together.
h. Use special holidays and occasions to teach the gospel
i. Teach tithing and offerings by example.
j. Teach the gospel through bedtime stories.
k. Hold private interviews.
C. Teach children these doctrines BEFORE they turn eight:
2. Faith in Christ
4. Gift of the Holy Ghost
5. Pray and “walk uprightly before the Lord”
6. Observe the Sabbath Day
7. Labor in faithfulness and not be idle or greedy
8. Seek for the riches of eternity
II. Teach Your Family By The Spirit
A. Pray with children as soon as there is trouble
B. How to invite the spirit: