I’m not sure why we were asked to speak about Family Home Evening for a Relief Society thing. Probably because I visit teach Addy and she knows I would do anything for her. Whatever. But we did speak a bit about family home evening with teenagers and kids of varying ages. We weren’t at all profound in what we said, but hopefully it helped SOMEONE. This is kind of a wrap up of what we talked about.
With teenagers, it sometimes hard to get everyone to stay home for FHE. Sometimes we have to adjust that. If someone is in a play or a concert that performs on Monday night, that becomes our FHE. We go to that activity to support that family member. Same with sports. I don’t like it when there’s a softball or baseball game on Monday night, but when there is, we go as a family.
We had a non member foreign exchange student live with us last year. While not a member, she was a part of our family for that year. We didn’t want to preach to her about everything gospely at home, but still wanted to hold family home evening, since that’s what we normally do. After she had been here a couple of weeks, I told her about Family Home Evening, and we gathered together for FHE. We did our traditional opening, with a song and prayer. We probably sang “Popcorn popping” or something super serious like that. For our lesson, I talked about Writing in Journals, and how that’s a record that we keep for ourselves, and for our kids and grandkids. I asked the kids if they all had journals, and she didn’t have one. She had never thought about keeping a journal before, and wanted to start one. She kept that journal and wrote in it the whole time she was here, and hopefully that will be a treasure to her to have a record of her thought and feelings while here in America. Of course, our girls tend to write in their journals during church, and she quickly picked up that habit as well.
Years ago we took a cruise that turned out to be a bit less than the perfect vacation. The Norwalk virus had us all quite sick for about two days each. One day we disembarked on an island (I can’t even remember what it was, something like Cabo?) we were dragging, tired, and just barely not sick. We also didn’t have enough cash to even pay for the girls’ braids, but that’s another story.
At that time, I remember starting our family cheer. Now we tend to do the family cheer on vacations and family home evenings.
Group Family Home Evenings- Ryan’s family had a tradition of meeting once a month as an entire family for FHE. We would rotate the who was in charge of lessons and snacks. Most of the time we met at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, but sometimes we would rotate. Some times we had a family pool party or a barbeque, or an activity. The kids got to see and interact with their cousins and hear testimonies of the gospel from family members…not just their parents.
–The kids would be happy if we joined a bowling league and went bowling every week. That’s always the activity they want to do together, even though we don’t go very often.
-Let the kids teach the lessons. Sometimes they are working on something for Faith in God, scouts, or personal progress that requires them to teach something. This is a great opportunity for them to teach the lesson or part of the lesson in FHE.
–Use church magazines. Sometimes we end up just reading and discussing an article from the Friend or the New Era, or watching a video clip from lds.org.
–Sometimes around birthdays we have a lesson honoring the birthday person and why we value them.
–Some of our FHE nights in the summer are family weed nights, yard work nights, or we go for a walk or a bikeride to a nearby park.
–Don’t be afraid to be silly. We want our kids to ENJOY the time spent with the family, and have fond memories of FHE, even if they never remember a single lesson that you teach, they’ll remember that time you played hide and seek in the dark, or played the silly game where one person is the arms for another person.
–Just do SOMETHING together as a family, and be consistent about it. Call it family time, call it Time out for Family, or call it FHE. Just as long as the kids know that family is important enough to get together. And when you do, no matter what contentions there are before or during the lesson, y9ou will have added peace as a family AFTERWARDS.