The World Congress of Families was held in Salt Lake City last week. Amid mild protests from pro-LGBT groups, over 3,000 attendees from around the world gathered to support pro-family speech and activism. Rather than being “anti-LGBT” the conference focused on what has been dubbed the “natural family” or the traditional family. It seems impossible that any sane person would be “anti-family” but that seems to be the way the world is going. The groups in attendance at this conference, rather than promote a hateful agenda that strips rights from others, focus on supporting public policy that places the traditional family (a father, mother, and children) at the forefront as the highest possible standard for society.
Topics for the conference included parenting guides, marriage guides, self-empowerment & the worth of the individual, education regarding the dangers of pornography, support for groups intent on ending sex trafficking around the world, homeschooling, educational ethics, scientific studies behind the pro-life movement, and more. Most encouraging was the opportunity to be surrounded by people who are not only emotionally invested in very similar ideals & goals, but also going out into their communities to do something about it! People are looking for the good and doing good in their own part of the world.
One of the great aspects of this conference was the Emerging Leaders Program. This inspired program invited young adults (mostly university age) from around the world to attend the conference and go back to their respective countries as leaders in creating positive change. I met delegates from many countries throughout Asia, Europe, South America and more. These young men & women have a desire to be the change that they want to see and it was inspiring. I feel so small but I learned from this conference that even one person can make a difference. Just by getting involved with a group or talking to neighbors about promoting an ideal or writing letters an individual moment of action becomes coupled with other moments of action and it can turn into a movement. Or it can create a positive change in one person’s life and those actions are extremely valuable for that one person. Remember the story about the starfish? A man wandered along the beach throwing starfish into the ocean when he was stopped by another man who questioned the futility of his actions because of the unending number of starfish…how could he possibly make a difference? As the man threw another starfish back in the ocean he stated, “I made a difference to that one.”
This conference was tiny compared to the population of the world. It may seem impossible to make a difference. But being surrounded by like-minded people working for positive change showed me that it is possible. There are thousands in my community, there are thousands in many communities all over the world who are dedicated to families. We are not out to promote hate. We are not out to trample on rights. We are out to educate, to promote an ideal, one that places societal values over individual indulgence, one that teaches people how to be happier! And we can do that one starfish at a time.