The central core of the foundation of any society is the home. President Thomas S. Monson has taught us, “Actually, a home is much more than a house. A house is built of lumber, brick, and stone. A home is made of love, sacrifice, and respect. A house can be a home, and a home can be a heaven when it shelters a family.”
The home is the first institute of learning in which children are automatically enrolled as pupils. Therefore, the home becomes a virtual classroom, and fathers and mothers, the patriarchs and matriarchs of the home, become the first school teachers that their children meet. They teach their children their first life lessons, imparting to them the basic knowledge that they will need to survive in society, thus preparing them to enter that larger institute of higher learning called life. Mormon.org teaches, “Our families are where we experience our biggest triumphs and our deepest vulnerabilities—and they are where we have the greatest potential to do good. We believe the family is divine in nature and that God designates it as the fundamental building block of society, both on earth and through eternity.” Therefore, it is fair to say that our families are important.
Jaeden Vaifanua, a 16-year-old Mormon youth from Utah, has written a song for the 2017 Mutual Album called “What Family Means to Me” with an accompanying YouTube video that was published on 10 July 2017. The purpose of the video is to teach youth about the meaning and importance of family, but the message is one that people of all ages can learn and take to heart. As a person watches the video and listens to the words of Jaeden’s song it becomes apparent just how important her family is to her, and how important our families should be to each of us.
Jaeden is half Samoan and comes from a musically inclined family on both sides. She is the youngest of five children in her family. Her oldest sister, Shaene, is 26. Her other sister, Taylor is 24. Her brother McCrae is 23 and her other brother Mitchel, who is currently serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico, is 20.
She says that she spends a lot of time with her family and that they are special to her, so when she was given the topics of what to write a song about and found out that one of them was about family, she knew that was the one that she should write her song about. She wrote down some things about her family and told Nik Day, who helped her write the song, “This is about family and that’s why I chose it and I want it to be about my family.”
In an interview about the writing process of “What Family Means to Me,” Jaeden said, “One of my favorite lines in the whole song is in the chorus. It talks about road trip driving till the break of dawn. Off-key singing to our favorite songs. That’s my favorite part because to me it paints a picture of my family. We travel a lot and I travel all over the place with my dad. And I just think of us and having jam sessions in the car and just being with my brothers and sisters. I love it.”
Jaeden was also asked if she has any specific memories of singing with her family. She replied:
Our family song is “Love at Home.” I’m half Samoan. So growing up just having all our hundreds of cousins and my grandparents. We would always get together as a family and have our talents shows and stuff and end it with a hymn and a prayer and “Love at Home” was always our song with our cousins, grandparents, our family. We’d like to sing it a lot as a family when we’re all together. We always feel the Spirit. I look at it as a theme song for our family. “Love at Home” means a lot to my family and same with this song so it all goes together.
Jaeden’s family means everything to her. That is the reason that “What Family Means to Me” has such special meaning to her. She realizes that it is in the home where family members learn to live together, work together, laugh and play together as shown throughout the video. Also, the home is where the family learns that it is alright to make mistakes and know how to forgive one another, peacefully resolving any conflicts among one another and never allowing the sun to set while being angry or upset with any member of the family.
This is what family means to Jaeden Vaifuna, and what it should mean to us as well.