One night each week, usually Monday night, Mormon families everywhere gather together to spend a night together. They have a family "meeting" of sorts that is called Family Home Evening. This practice was introduce almost a century ago by one of the prophets. Joseph F. Smith, in 1915.
In these Family Home Evenings the family grows together and parents have an opportunity to teach their children their core values and beliefs. They also get to spend uninterrupted time with their children. In todays busy age of technology and distractions, this time is invaluable.
A typical Family Home Evening starts with a prayer and then a song sung together by the family. Perhaps a scripture will be shared. A prepared lesson is given by one family member and then the family does some sort of activity together. At the end another song and prayer are said and a refreshment is enjoyed.
Now that is pretty textbook. In reality, many Family Home Evenings (at least at our house) are not as well prepared as they should be and sometimes we combine the lesson and activity together. Still, the time spent together is worth all the trouble to pull something together. I know for those with teenagers it is sometimes difficult to get kids happy about participating, but our little kids LOVE Family Home Evening. We keep the lessons short to account for their attention spans and they adore the activities.
Tonight we had a great Family Home Evening. I thought I would share what we did. We started with our prayer and then I asked the girls to sing a song they have been learning in church for the ward Christmas party. It is about how heavenly choirs must have had children and how they must have sung at his birth. It is a great song. They did a great job singing it.
For our lesson I read to the kids an email story sent to me by my cousin. It is about Santa coming and telling us to teach our children about Christmas and its true meaning. (I will paste the story to the end of this post so those who want to can have it). It goes over how so many of our Christmas traditions can point to the Savior if we look at them symbolically.
After the lesson, we gathered together and made a gingerbread house out of a kit I bought at Costco.
It was a fun time together. The kids loved it and Jon and I had fun too. Next, Jon sat to the piano and played a bunch of Christmas songs. Annie played Jingle Bells, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, and Jolly Old St. Nick on the violin, and we all sang. (The girls emptied the dishwasher while singing and I did the dinner dishes.)
By the end of the music it was time for bed so we had our closing/family prayer and put the kiddos down for the night. All in all, it was one of our better Family Nights.
Family Home Evening may be a "Mormon" teaching, but it is a great idea for any family. The lessons can be whatever beliefs any parent holds. What is most important is that the program strengthens families. Even if it is just spending a night playing games together, the time spent together deepens family relationships.
So whatever your beliefs may be, I challenge you all to pick a night and try spending a Family Home Evening with your family. Adapt it to your needs and situation. If you take the challenge, let me know how it goes. If you already do this, share one of your best Family Home Evening Ideas. I always love good FHE ideas!
Here is the email I got for those interested: