Family Home Evenings – A Slightly Different Approach
A while back, Jim Daly asked (the then) President George W. Bush to identify the most significant threat to the United States of America. He thought Bush would say it was terrorism. Instead, Bush answered immediately and without equivocation:
“The deterioration of the family.”
And, it’s true. In our hustle and bustle for work and the thousands of activities Americans think they MUST DO… so often, we as a people lose sight of our God and our family. And, as with anything, when we don’t nurture, honor, and maintain our relationships… they begin to deteriorate.
I’ve always liked the idea of “Family Home Evenings” in the Mormon Church. While I don’t necessarily agree with every facet of some of great friends’ beliefs… I do like their church’s deliberate focus on FAMILY. For those of you not in the know, here’s how it works:
One day a week is set aside as “Family Home Evening” night (FHE). (This tends to be on a Monday night with many just because Mondays are generally less hectic for most, but it can be whichever night works best for your family.) Basically, these evenings are a time for the family to come together and study scripture and learn and teach together. There are MANY variations on how this could go and what it could be comprised of, but most of the following elements in some order:
- “Go out and change something” – Kind of like a takeaway or charge for the week – whether it be a thought or assignment.
Steven and I have been wanting to do this for a long time – we know how important it is for our family to pray together and learn together and live out the Gospel together in an INTENTIONAL way. Sometimes we do great at it, and sometimes… well, sometimes we fall very short.
It’s important to us, though, to raise our children in God and grow spiritually TOGETHER – AS A FAMILY. So, in addition to coming together with our church family every week, this is something we want to try (and try hard at).
I’ve made a list of topics for our family to start with – things that can be expanded upon as they get older, where we can dive deeper and deeper into scripture as the years go on. And, funny enough, many of them run parallel to some of our Girl Scout lessons I’m teaching (like, “honest and fair” and the other petals!).
First up, our unit is GRATITUDE/THANKSGIVING (perfect timing, right?)
And, in my head…Lesson 1 will look a lot like this:
Song: Count Your Blessings (song)
Lesson: Read Luke 17: 11-18. Ask how the one leper showed his Gratitude. (Point out that while the other nine were undoubtedly happy, they didn’t trace their blessing back to God). Talk about how important it is to not just be “happy” about our blessings, but to thank GOD. Act this story out or draw pictures illustrating it. Talk about different ways to show our gratitude (singing, writing, saying it (prayer), etc.)
Activity: Continue the sticky-note blessing wall (the girls LOVE this) – Alternative ideas are: Have kids think of things they are thankful for of different colors: 5 things red, 5 things blue, 5 things green, 5 things brown, etc.
Prayer: Let the girls lead a prayer of thanksgiving to God.
Treat: Apples and peanut butter
Take-Away: Each day, write and fill more post it notes for our wall.
So, I’d love to know: Do you do anything like this? What have been your favorite lessons/topics (or, which would you love to do?)? Feel free to leave your link in comments if you have any great resources that would go with this!