The Church has received an award from the National Parents' Day Foundation for its series of public service announcements in its "Homefront" series.
The award was "in recognition for the Church's creative efforts through television to strengthen the traditional family and to undergird the important role of parents."Foundation's president, Dr. Robert Grant, and veteran entertainer Pat Boone presented the award. T. LaMar Sleight, area director of public affairs for the Church's North America Northeast Area and president of the Oakton Virginia Stake, accepted the award at a program during the National Parents' Day celebration July 23 in Washington, D.C.
Pres. Sleight told those at the ceremony: "The Homefront series is designed to strengthen families. The basic unit of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the family and we believe our society can only be as strong as its families. The most important lessons of life are learned at home."
Quoting the counsel given by President Harold B. Lee and President David O. McKay, Pres. Sleight said: " `The most important of the Lord's work
youT will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own homes' and `No other success can compensate for failure in the home.' "
He added, "Wherever I go, people say, `Oh, yes! You guys are the ones who do those fabulous commercials about families.' "
The Homefront television and radio spots began in the early 1970s to address issues of importance to communities and to strengthen families. The series has earned more than 160 awards including 18 Clios and three Emmys.
The spots are distributed to approximately 1,400 television and 11,000 radio stations. While the United States has been the primary audience for the series, it is now sent to several other countries. The Homefront messages focus on the family twice a year and on service once a year.
In response to a request from NBC about 10 years ago for public service announcements for children, the Church produced the Homefront Jr. series. It airs during times of programming for children and focuses on self-esteem and values such as honesty and integrity.
The National Parents' Day celebration included a prayer breakfast and a children's festival.
Other 1995 organizational honorees included: The Mothers' Network, Best Friends Foundation, The National Institute for Responsible Fatherhood & Family Development, the Center for the Improvement of Child Caring, The Stepfamily Foundation Inc., Focus on the Family, The National Center for Family Literacy, and the National Council of Negro Women.
At a White House photo session Friday, President Clinton acknowledged the honorees in their efforts to strengthen families and parents.
Dr. Grant said the aim of Parents' Day was to "regularly provide a public platform from which to address the problems (created by the crumbling of the traditional two-parent family) and to find ways to support parents across America.
During the prayer breakfast, Pat Boone said: "There is a Mothers' Day and a Fathers' Day. Are we leaving anyone out? Why do we need a Parents' Day? Just as those days are separate, so too often are the parents in reality." He added that real parenting is in danger and if it is not fostered, it may disappear.
National Parents' Day was officially signed into law as a day of commemoration by U.S. President Bill Clinton in October 1994 after unanimous approval by Congress. It designates the fourth Sunday in July of each year as National Parents' Day.
"It's certainly appropriate for us to have a day to emphasize the importance of parenting," said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware. "In parenting, individuals have the greatest influence on the future of our country, and in fact, on the world. Members of the Church further understand that parenting is the most important role anyone can play in this life - and is one in which we can shape not only the temporal but the eternal as well."