Giving Thanks: How Has Your Family Influenced Your Path?


Parents. Grandparents. Ancestors. Forefathers. Those that have gone before.

Whether you are the posterity of faithful Latter-day Saints or a modern-day pioneer with parents who are not members of the Church, you are nonetheless who you are and where you are, in part, because of them.

A Precious Treasure

Elder M. Russell Ballard’s recent conference address entitled, “The Trek Continues,” reminds us of how important it is to value the lives and convictions of our ancestors:

Elder Ballard
Image via

I have a deep conviction that if we lose our ties to those who have gone before us, including our pioneer forefathers and mothers, we will lose a very precious treasure.

How do we give thanks for, as well as keep hold of, this very special treasure—the faith of our fathers?

Although temple work and family history are key ways to show gratitude for what our forefathers have done, we may consider strengthening ties to those family members who are still in this “mortal sphere.” Although not pioneers in the 1800s sense, they have, in a way, gone before us.

Couple in front of Bountiful Temple

For some of us, our parents took the first steps to be baptized, married in the temple and start a family before we came into the world. For others, who may not come from a family of church members, they still may have struggled to provide for us and encourage character traits that were precursors to our accepting the gospel. Faith, hope, patience, love, and virtue are not qualities exclusive to the Mormon church. They can be universal to mankind.

Without Regrets

So whether we honor our parents for showing us the importance of education or our grandparents for immigrating to a land of freedom, it is important to express our gratitude face to face for as long as we can. Too many survivors of loved ones end up regretting “not spending more time” or “not expressing enough gratitude.” After all, is not one of the top ten commandments “honor thy father and thy mother?”

Reaching out to show gratitude to a parent or grandparent, aunt or uncle, can be as simple as sending a text, email, or card. Those who may feel separated from the activities of their younger posterity simply appreciate the time you can spend with them.

One great-grandfather, the faithful patriarch of his family, always sends off visitors with the phrase, “Thank you for spending time with us!” He knows that in our fast-paced world, 15 minutes can mean a lot.

And that is all it might take to honor and show gratitude to those who have and will influence our paths forever.

The following video snippet shows how Madeline, a student at BYU, feels about her family and the influence they have had on her life. Be sure to include in the comments how your forefathers, both those who are living and those who have passed on, have helped make you the person you are today.

Because in a month focused on being grateful, there is no doubt we should all reflect on the words of Elder Ballard and strengthen the ties we have to our family, a precious treasure indeed.

Jasmine has degrees in Spanish and International Relations from BYU and has always had a love for writing ever since she penned her first haiku at age 9. She and her husband, Shawn, are the the parents of 8 children, who keep her very busy when she is not writing for Third Hour.