“The great plan of happiness revealed to prophets is the plan for a happy family.
It is the love story between husband and wife, parents and children, that renews itself through the ages” (Boyd K. Packer).

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Keepers at Home

Titus 2:4-5 reads:
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed".

I've been pondering this scripture, focusing particularly on the phrase "keepers at home".  What is a Keeper?

In modern day parlance, we commonly reference a housekeeper.  In the past a housekeeper was someone who had charge of the keys of the manor; who oversaw the day to day operations involved with keeping a home functioning smoothly.  The housekeeper makes sure that the meals are cooked and served on time, supplies are purchased, bills are paid, laundry is completed, and other arrangements are seen to.  They don't necessarily do these jobs themselves.  I see the role as more supervisory than anything else. The manager of the home.  In this sense, a keeper is someone who is responsible for the maintenance of something.

A Keeper is also a guard.  A guard is a protector and defender.  A guard is to keep us safe from harm or danger.

A Keeper is one who assumes responsibility for another's behavior.

Finally, a keeper is someone charged with responsibility for the preservation and conservation of something valuable.

A keeper is the role that God has given to women.  There is so much meaning wrapped up in that one little word.   How can we be Keepers at Home?

I have to say, some days I get a lot of joy out of my responsibility as housekeeper....and other days, not so much.  On the days that I feel joy, it is because I recognize that my efforts have made our home a better place to be that day.  There is joy in fulfilling our Godly purpose.  Like most things that God asks of us, it isn't going to be easy all the time.  But we are richly compensated for our efforts.  When most people think of themselves as keepers of the home, this is the role that first comes to mind.  It might feel like a drag.  You might think to yourself, "yes, my job is to do the laundry and change the diapers while HE has all the fun".  And some days that will be true.  Other days your role as keeper of the home will be manifest in witnessing small delights such as a child's first prayer, a flutter of kisses on your cheek, or the look of silent appreciation as a feverish family member slips between freshly laundered sheets and tucks comforting quilts around their body.  There is joy in being that kind of keeper.

As keepers of the home, women are tasked with being the guardians of their home in spiritual ways as well.  As co-chair with our spouse in the running of our homes, I believe women have been blessed with a particular sensitivity to the needs of our family.  That is what we bring to the table.  It is our responsibility to create an environment where we and others in our family can receive the personal revelation necessary to make appropriate choices.  We support our husbands in their role as spiritual leader in our home, but recognize that they depend upon our insights and in-the-trenches experience in the day to day management of the home.   As women, I believe it is our duty to keep the influence of Satan at bay; to stop evil in the form of music and other media from crossing the threshold into our home.   We create the haven that our families need.

If a keeper is also a conservator - what, then, would we be conserving?  Along with the atmosphere of our home, I believe that women can quite literally be the tie that binds a family together.  As keepers of our husband and children, we foster and establish quality family relationships.  Family relationships are the number one priority in this life - and our main role is the preservation of this unit.

Why are women counseled to stay home and concentrate on their families?  It is not to enslave us to our husbands, to make us utterly dependent.  It is because our job is so important.  It is time-consuming.  It is vital to the salvation of our family.  If we are focusing our efforts in other areas, we will not be as successful as our family needs us to be.

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