I love the concept of the home as the laboratory for learning to love and to live gospel principles.  Here is a quote from Elder Nelson regarding this idea:

Where the home is, there love should be. The home is the laboratory of love, and in it resides the most important unit of the Church and of society—the family. Recently I was interviewed by a representative of a national magazine who expressed keen interest in a photograph on my desk of Sister Nelson and me with our family. He asked if we had any problems with rebellious youth, drug abuse, and morals among such a large family. When I replied in the negative, his interest seemed to become more intense.

Then he said, “When did you and your wife start to plan for your family and give them such emphasis in your lives?”

I simply replied, “Before we were ever married.” Then I continued, “You see, we believe that our major goal in life is to strengthen our family. Service in the Church, the community, continuing education, and our occupational endeavors all are undertaken to provide development for our family.”

He seemed surprised. He countered; “But earlier in our interview you said you and your wife had always tried to obey the scripture, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God.’  Now you tell me the family comes first.”

He thought he had me. But I simply reviewed my long-established priorities and said, “I cannot seek the kingdom of God without loving and honoring first that family he has given to me. I cannot honor that family without loving and caring first for my wife!” I love her. She is my highest priority, and our eternal marriage in the temple is our highest commitment. We love our children and their children born and yet unborn. This love we are building in the sanctuary of our home. Here is where we have learned the power of love, and I testify that it is a real, dynamic, all-encompassing power!
          -Elder Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, March 1979

I think our relationships in the home really are the true test of our character.  The family is where we see each other at our best and at our worst.  At home is where we tend to let down our guard and where our true self is revealed.  Within the home is where we have the greatest opportunity to serve- to truly give of ourselves and to learn to be selfless.  With our family members we have the greatest opportunity to exercise virtues such as patience, forgiveness, gratitude, and unconditional love.

Certainly we should not expect perfection from father, mother, sister, or brother, but I believe a wise Heavenly Father designed families as a means of developing godlike attributes.  Truly “the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

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