Have you seen the commercials for HASBRO board games where they proudly suggest the benefits to having a family game night? I always smile and think to myself, "old news HASBRO....LDS has been saying that for years." I believe in families in getting together at least once a week to not only play games but to talk, learn, teach and support the family as a whole.
Family. Home. Evening.
Three more words:
Just do it.
I know planning and holding an hour of quality family time can seem overwhelming but that is only if you think there is only one way to have a great FHE. There is not.
Years ago when I lived in Provo, my friends and I took turns trading family night ideas. I had a few games where my kids learned The Articles of Faith, Lehi's dream and the story of Jonah and the Whale.
In our group of women we had a mom who had a file cabinet full of lesson ideas to coincide with stories from the bible,
a mom who owned her own laminator and had made all kinds of posters she used to engage her young children, and a mom who had collected faith building stories for what seemed like endless topics. Trading ideas and visual aids was a great idea that just made sense.
Four words: Every Family is different.
What works for teenagers wont always work for younger children. It doesn't matter how, when or what you do for Family Home Evening. What matters is the effort and consistency. What REALLY matters is the intent and the spirit we welcome into our home.
Here are just a few things I've learned over the years about what to do and what not to do when I comes to family bonding:
Treats are a great motivator. If you must resort to bribing your teens with brownies to get them to attend another hour of family time, then so be it.
Family Home Evening doesn't have to take a long time. Think quality, not quantity.
Don't ever ask everyone to write down things their mom/wife can improve on. And for heaven's sake, if you do want to hear the items on each list, don't have your husband go first. It won't be pretty.
If the house is a mess, how about announcing a family clean up as the nights activity. After all, cleanliness is next to Godliness...right? Kill two birds with one stone. Clean house, family night boding....Make it work!
Have FHE even if your kids aren't getting along. Tell them the story of Nephi and his brothers not getting along. Don't have the angry child say opening prayer unless you are prepared to hear, "And please, bless my brother not to be so annoying" Try not to laugh. Maybe you could follow that up by reading about Cain & Able. Let the scripture fit the crime!
Kids love hero's so introduce them to the hero's in the scriptures and make the words come alive when you read together.
You may not want to tell stories about all the intense battles in the scriptures the night before the Primary Program because when your child gets up to say their line over the pulpit, you will not hear the words he was assigned. Maybe you're like me and will listen as your little son yells over the pulpit, "DEAD! Dead I tell you! BODIES EVERYWHERE! BLOOD and GUTS everywhere!"
Hands down one of the funniest things I have ever seen at church.
So, go make some really yummy treats and bribe your little heart out. Maybe tonight's family Home Evening will be on Reverence and not yelling at the entire ward.
Three words: Family. Home. Evening.
Three more words: Make it work.
If played correctly, FHE is a life long game where everyone wins in the end.