Monday, November 29, 2010

family night

Confession: Ryan and I have NOT been good at having family home evening, which for those who don't know is something we are told to do in our church. We are to hold a special time each week (usually on Monday evenings) together as a family and teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ or other appropriate topics that are needed for our family and spend time together in prayer, music, and an activity. Well, with a baby/toddler I have just struggled with how to implement the gospel into Gavin's life. I mean seriously, he won't sit down and fold his arms for a prayer or really have any idea what I'm doing. I've attempted to read him scriptures from the picture books and he just turns the page faster than I can read one caption. It feels unnatural because he is my first child, but I have heard on more than one occasion in church that infants can feel the spirit and comprehend more than we realize. We are to start young. I DO know that Gavin responds to music and loves to look a pictures. So, after too many years of not doing it, I have taken the counsel seriously since October's General Conference and we are now on week 3 of family night. I had the thought to use the Nursery Class manual "Behold the Little Ones". It is proving to be a big help as it is short, uses music and pictures. Gavin pays attention for about oh point 5 seconds. Tonight he was especially energetic. We were trying to teach him how to pray. Riiiiiiiiight! So the song from Primary came to my mind as he was jumping around. It was much more successful and realistic rather than explaining to him the process.

Then came the closing prayer. Ryan said it while I attempted to hold Gavin in my lap and fold his arms. He resisted. The funniest part didn't even have anything to do with Gavin.

Ryan said: "Dear Heavenly Father, We are grateful that we have been able to have family night for 2 weeks in a row now."
I said: (Cutting Ryan off) "3, 3 weeks not 2!" as if I was bound and determined to get credit for 3 weeks in a row!! (Just in case the merciful Man upstairs didn't know already). Ryan and I busted up laughing, had to regain composure and finish the prayer. Have mercy on us, we are still IMPERFECT!!

So, I am very curious: How did it go for you when it came to starting family prayer, scripture study, and FHE with your first baby/toddler? Any tips?


  1. Honestly, Stace, you guys are totally above par. This exact dilemma plagued us until Reagan turned 4. WE tried, but it just felt weird, like Matt and I having family nite ourselves. We usually just held a 2 minute thing, like share a thought, but we weren't consistent.

    Now that Reagan is 4, starting the habit was so easy, because she reminds us. She knows that monday night is treat night and she likes to plan the "lesson." We don't forget now, thanks to her.

    My advice to you is share something for you and Ryan and when G turns 3-4, start it up the real way. Love ya!

  2. I totally know what you mean, and the nursery manual has been a big help to us, as well. I also just started subscribing to the friend magazine, and the brightly colored pictures are fun and Lincoln likes to hear the (paraphrased and shortened) stories. He's about 2 1/2 now, just for reference. One thing I keep in mind is that it's ok for our family home evening to be 10 minutes long. Usually we just do a song, a prayer, a little lesson, and then Lincoln plays while Matt and I go over the calendar for the week. Then bedtime for Lincoln, and Matt and I watch a movie for our "activity". So I guess that's longer than 10 minutes, but the part the Lincoln is involved in is very short.
    Just know that you'll be blessed for your efforts and your consistency. Remember Elder Bednar's talk from last October? You should totally read it again! All about consistency - not perfection :)
    sorry - long comment!

  3. When your oldest is little Family Night is so hard. Consistency is really the key. I think for a long time we used the Gospel Art Kit. We'd pick out a picture, tell the story, and that was our entire lesson. The nursery manual is GREAT too... perfect for the little ones. We still use it occasionally. Now that my boys are a little older it's easier... we can do fun activities and lessons. My baby is 18-months and is more a distraction than anything... but sometimes he'll come sit down and listen to a story and he loves at the beginning when we sing songs. I think around 2 is when my boys start to really pay attention. Now my boys look forward to FHE and love helping with whatever they're in charge of for the week....

  4. we do our best to get him to fold his arms and then we just keep going until the prayer is over. we do lots of coloring activities and will talk about the lesson as we color what we are talking about. or we do cookies or something tactile that we can do while we tell a story from the scriptures. however, we usually only do it two weeks out of the month. sigh. two is better than none!:)