In our church we set aside Monday nights as Family Home Evening. There are never any church activities and you hesitate to call other members on Monday nights and if you do you tend to apologize for calling on Monday night. We’ve not been the most diligent at always doing Family Home Evening, particularly when Jamie has a college class on Mondays and we forget to do it on Sunday or Tuesday instead. Lately we’ve been making an effort to have Family Home Evening every week and it has been very nice.
What is Family Home Evening? Aside from simply being together at home as a family (or not at home depending on what you choose to do that week), there is a lesson of some sort, prayers, and often singing and likely refreshments, too. Our pattern for the evening is an opening song, almost always a primary song due to the ages of our kids, opening prayer, lesson, closing song, closing prayer. We don’t usually have refreshments really, though the kids always have a bedtime snack no matter what day of the week it is.
Some recent lessons we have done:
Jamie drew an engine, two train cars, and a caboose and I cut them out beforehand and wrote “Our dear Heavenly Father” on the engine, “We thank thee” on one car, “We ask thee” on the other, and “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen” on the caboose. We colored the train parts and discussed the four parts of a prayer. The kids put them in order and we talked about why you thank first and ask second. We talked about what amen means. Cameron thought it meant “The end.” Since that lesson he’s often been very thoughtful at the end of a prayer to make sure he really agrees before saying amen. Then we put the assembled prayer train on our wall (where it still is actually).
Being Spiritually Prepared
We told the parable of the Ten Virgins and talked about what it means. Then we talked about how we fill our virtual oil lamps. Then we took clay and made our own “lamps.” Mine turned out looking more like a bowl. Ian got all artistic and made a rather realistic looking oil lamp. Cameron made two little ones. Ani took forever and carved words in hers.
Families Are Forever
I wrote the names of many of our ancestors on slips of construction paper beforehand. We talked about the sealing ordinance done in the temple and how Jamie and I were sealed when we got married so our kids are automatically sealed to us at birth and that I am sealed to my parents and so on. We talked about how later that week my father would be sealed to his parents and his mother and father would be sealed and his mother would be sealed to her parents and our chain would be unbroken for many generations. We created three chains and talked about how just one person would bring those chains together. We added Grandmomma’s slip of paper to the chains and ended up with one big, albeit convoluted, chain.
Little Sins Can Be Big Problems
I got the idea for this lesson from a friend. We each put a small rock in our shoe and then we went for a walk. We talked about how the rock was only a little thing like a little sin is a little thing. Of course after a little amount of time the little rocks were bothering us all (well, according to Cameron, not him) and so we removed them from our shoes. We discussed repentance and how it gets rid of the “little thing” bothering us. Ani is wonderful with all these lessons. She plays right into my hands and says all the right things to move the lesson along perfectly. She was very disturbed by the rock in her shoe. She put it in her arch. Cameron had put his at his toes so I think that’s why it didn’t bother him.