Thursday, August 4, 2011

On Family Home Evening

This past Sunday I had the chance to teach a combined Priesthood/Relief Society lesson, along with the other counselor in the bishopric and some ward members we recruited to participate. The topic we decided to pursue came from stake conference in June, when we were asked to put greater emphasis on the messages from General Conference, in particular by making them a central part of Family Home Evening. Our goal then was to share best practices for FHE, with examples representing single adults, young married couples, parents of small children, and parents of teenagers.

We began by reading from Handbook 2: "Latter-day prophets have counseled parents to hold a weekly family home evening to teach their children the gospel, bear testimony of its truthfulness, and strengthen family unity.Family home evening may include family prayer, gospel instruction, testimony sharing, hymns and Primary songs, and wholesome recreational activities. Family home evening is sacred, private family time under the direction of the parents. Priesthood leaders should not give directions as to what families should do during this time."

I then shared my recent experience with FHE for one; Summer and the kids were out of town for two consecutive Mondays, and both times I decided to hold FHE by myself. I chose a General Conference address, listening to the audio while reading along in the Ensign and looking up scriptures referenced by the speaker. In both cases I had a great experience, and from that I learned two things:

First, we are blessed when we hold FHE, regardless of the circumstances. It's not the number of people involved or the elaborateness of the event; it's the act of doing it that matters. And secondly, the words of living prophets will always inspire you if you're listening carefully. The first week I listened to Elder Perry's talk, and the second week it was Elder Holland's. Both touched on different things I needed to hear and specific things I need to do differently in my life.

I then shared with the ward members some thoughts from Elder Holland's address, defining General Conference and explaining what we can get from it. I bore testimony of the great blessing it is to be led by prophets, and how a continual and thorough study of their words can bless our lives.

After I sat down, we heard from our four participants, whose messages covered the important facets of consistency, simplicity, flexibility, and adaptability. The message was pretty basic: try your hardest, hold FHE weekly, involve your children at their level, and adapt to the circumstances of your family. And I think everyone heard something they needed to hear.