So how was General Conference for everyone this past weekend? I thoroughly enjoyed it! The messages were spot on for what we needed to hear (as always). But particularly, Hubby and I picked up on a similar thread that seemed to run through the entire conference: Follow the Prophet. And what did the prophet have to say? Be grateful.
In a time of so much trouble and trials, I love that the Lord is counseling us to be grateful. To be of good cheer. To not dwell on doubt and depression, but to lift up your spirits, strengthen your family, and carry on. What a balm to so many of life’s sorrows.
And speaking of strengthening the family, I wanted to talk today about Family Home Evening. For those who don’t know what Family Home Evening is, it is a ‘special time set aside each week that brings family members together and strengthens their love for each other, helps them draw closer to Heavenly Father, and encourages them to live righteously.’ (www.lds.org) In the LDS church, we have designated Monday night as Family Night so that meetings are not held then and other scheduling complications do not arise to conflict with this special time together as a family. Some families change this to another day of the week due to work or other scheduling complications within their own family. The day is not what’s important. The time you spend together is.
Well-planned family home evenings can be a source of long-lasting joy and influence. These evenings are times for group activity, for organizing, for the expressions of love, for the bearing of testimony, for learning gospel principles, for family fun and recreation, and of all things, for family unity and solidarity. -(Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, and N. Eldon Tanner)
Family home evenings should be scheduled once a week as a time for discussions of gospel principles, recreation, work projects, skits, songs around the piano, games, special refreshments, and family prayers. Like iron links in a chain, this practice will bind a family together, in love, pride, tradition, strength, and loyalty. -(Ezra Taft Benson)
Monday evenings should be reserved for family home evening. … The primary emphasis of family home evening should be for families to be together to study the gospel. We remind all that the Lord has admonished parents to teach their children the gospel, to pray, and to observe the Sabbath Day. The scriptures are the most important resource for teaching the gospel. -(Howard W. Hunter, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Thomas S. Monson)
Sometimes it can be very difficult and even frustrating to hold Family Home Evening. Let’s be honest… when the toddlers are running around screaming and won’t sit still, or the teenagers are dragging their feet and grumbling about having to spend time with their nerdy family, or you don’t seem to be getting any support from your spouse, sometimes you wonder ‘What in the world is the point?!’ (For the record, I have total support from my hubby (thanks Hubby!!), no teens at home to think I’m a nerd- yet, but my toddlers sure can give us a run for our money!) 🙂
Well the point is that there are so many blessings and promises associated with Family Home Evening. Blessings such as building family unity, increasing the Spirit in the home, instilling gospel truths in the hearts of your children. Promises such as, ‘Love at home and obedience to parents will increase, faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influences and temptations which beset them’ (Joseph F. Smith, 1915); and ‘We promise again that as you faithfully plan and hold quality family home evenings, you will gain strength to withstand the temptations of the world and will receive many blessings which will help qualify you to enjoy your families through eternity in the Celestial Kingdom.’ (Spencer W. Kimball, 1978). (For an extensive list of promises and blessings, click HERE.)
Wow. What blessings! I’d say those are worth the effort. Yes, it may be difficult, but the end result will be worth it.
So here’s our challenge: If you are not currently holding weekly Family Home Evenings, start the habit now. Pick a day and time (Monday night sound good? 7 pm?) and don’t let anything interfere with it. Nothing! Soccer practice? Nope… it’s not as important as family. Homework? Get it done before or after. Favorite t.v. show on? DVR. Heart attack? Uh… okay, you can go to the hospital. 🙂 But decide now that your family is going to be the top priority in your home.
If you are already in the habit, then your challenge is to step up the quality of your Family Night. Try to bring the Spirit more fully into your home and think of ways to get each family member to be an active participant in the night.
For help on making your Family Home Evenings more successful, check out the links below and then tune in tomorrow for my special Family Night treat to each of you! 🙂
Family Home Evening Helps:
- Making Family Home Evening Successful
- FHE Quick Tips (lots of great ideas for all different situations)
- Family Home Evening Ideas from LDS Splash
- A Year of FHE blog
- The Family Home Evening Spot blog
- Family Home Evening-Getting Started from Mormon Chic
- Family Home Evenings For A Year from Lissa’s Place