One thing I’ve known for a long time is that I wanted to hold a regular Family Home Evening (FHE) in our home, but I’ve always been at a loss on how to begin. Yes, we had FHE when I was growing up, but when you start a family of your own, it seems so intimidating! We tried starting a while back when we lived in the condo. I think we got through 2 lessons and then it burned out! But lately I have found some great resources online that made me thing, Hey we can do this! So we are trying again.
We had our first one last night, and I’ll be honest there were plenty of bumps! Trying to get a 4 year old and 2 year old to stay seated and engaged for what you have planned can be a challenge, so I tried to keep it short, sweet and to the point. We had our first lesson on I Can Listen and Obey- since we are having a very hard time with listening!
We opened by lighting our family candle that we made in one of our last FHE. The candle is just a pillar candle that we decorated with stickers to spell out our family name. We light it to draw attention that something special is about to happen, and to remind us that Jesus is the light of the world, and the reason that we are gathering together as a family. Then we sang Listen, Listen (from the LDS Children’s Songbook) and had our opening prayer.
After that the lesson portion was on Jonah and the Whale. I printed out a picture of Jonah and the whale that I colored and used for our visual aide. We talked about how Jonah chose not to listen to God when He asked him to do something special for him. Since he chose not to listen he got swallowed up by a whale, and stayed in the whales belly for 3 days and 3 nights, until he repented and the whale spit him out. Then Jonah went out and did what God had asked him to do. We talked about what happens when we choose not to listen (we make people sad, we might get yelled at) and how we feel when we choose to listen (happy, we make others feel good and special).
Then we played a game working on listening by singing Do As I’m Doing (again from the LDS Children’s Songbook). This took a while because Bri went running off through the house, then Jonah followed, and we spent probably 5 minutes trying to round everyone up. But I think it helped them get their wiggles out for the activity that came next.
We made what I called Obedience Jars. These were just jars that I bought at Wal-Mart (they’re a little big for this purpose, but they work!). We decorated them with foam stickers with their names and other fun stuff (princess stuff for Bri, cars for Jonah). Then we put 50 kidney beans in each jar. Throughout the week we will use the jars to work on listening. Each time they do something when they are asked to they will get 5 more beans to add to their jar. Each time they choose not to listen they will loose 2 beans. At next week’s FHE we will count their beans. If they have 50 or more beans they will get a very special surprise treat! If they have less than 50 we will try again and they can earn their treat next week. I like the idea a lot, we’ll see how well it works!
We closed by singing Quickly I’ll Obey (LDS Children’s Songbook) and then had a closing prayer and a treat of Simon Says Sundaes. Each person got to make a sundae for someone else, but they had to do it the way they wanted to, and the person the sundae was for had to say Simon Says… and then what they wanted. It was really fun, and the sundaes were sooooo good!
Overall I think that it was a pretty good first venture! It will get easier as we do it every week, and the kids get used to the routine of it (and Steven and I too!). I am excited about some of the lessons I have found or written for future weeks, and I’ll share them with you for you to use if you want!