During Stake Conference a few months ago, Elder Hymas of the 70 was presiding at our stake center. He taught about many great things, one of them being the importance of Family Home Evening. I got nervous as he kept pulling people from the audience to walk in front of the pulpit to ask them questions. All the random people he chose were spirit guided.
In one of these routines, he asked a group of brothers and sisters how FHE had blessed their lives. I was really surprised by the response of one sister in particular. She mentioned that she was old and did not have a family to have and FHE with. It was just her and her two dogs but regardless of the presence of anyone else she still had FHE every Monday with her two dogs. She would pray, sing and have a wonderful time. She said the dogs would sign too although she was not sure if they howled because of her bad singing.
She then said she did because it was a commandment given to us and she wanted to be as obedient as possible. She said it made her feel good and that’s why she did it. She is really one of the smartest women I know. She does it because is obedience to our prophets. Obedience makes all the difference she later told me after I mention to her I would publish a story about her.
Let me tell you that she made me and many of us feel ashamed. I mean my wife and I have FHE but in our own way at times it does not involve a hymn or a spiritual though but it involves conversation, planning and good old alone time with each other. But, I raise questions, is it the obedience aspect that is so important? Or the priceless outcome of developing eternal family bonds? Okay so maybe the questions are bit biased and directed to give an answer of “all the above” but there is such a profound Eternal feeling about the whole idea.
Here are a few things you and your family can enjoy for your next Family Home Evening. Fist remember, that when President Joseph F. Smith instituted FHE in 1915 it was meant for the strengthening the families, so, if there are other ideas that would fit best for your family night fun by all means do them, share them with us.
1. THEME NIGHTS
This could mean anything from learning how to prepare an exotic meal with your kids on a historical/doctrinal point. For example, Pioneer Day is coming soon, so, you can teach your family about the wonderful example and imperative impact the pioneers left behind in their legacy, our country, the Church. You could then watch a movie like 17 Miracles or Ephraim’s Rescue while eating your homemade pioneer meal. You can even make yummy pioneer candy like taffy and sugar brittle!
2. INVITE A NON-MEMBER FRIEND OVER
Your could never go wrong with some outside company. Your example as a family can just be the thing your close friends or even investigators may need to get closer to the Savior. Most people don’t have peculiar weekly events which focuses in strengthening the family, trust me that they won’t be able to deny the spirit they will feel inside the walls of your home. (you can invite the missionaries as well so they can have someone to teach and a nice warm meal, two bird, one night.
3. POPCORN POPPING ON THE APRICOT TREE
Okay, my wife may hate this one, she loves the stuff but has become allergic to corn. But if you have a little one at home that can chow down all day without a hiccup then this idea can be a great way for your cute sunbeam to learn a hymn or two. This popcorn theme can be really fun as well!
4. FEED MY SHEEP
This one may not work if you don’t live near an ocean or a lake. Take the fam to the beach during sunset (or sunrise if time permits) and teach about serving others. You can use the example of Christ teaching Peter when he found him fishing to ” go feed my sheep” (see John 21) a little scenery never hurt anyone. Plus it really teaches a valuable lesson to do what’s most important, the Lord’s work which in many cases if not all, comes attached with service.
5. GO TO THE MOVIES!
You may have to do your spiritual thought before hand but is never wrong to go watch a good uplifting movie.
6. SERVE TOGETHER
prepare in advance to go do some service with your family for your FHE activity. Whether someone you home teach/visit teach or even at a local shelter. There are always needing an extra set of hands to help those that hands hang down.
You can teach about what you want and do something your family may be interested on, but stepping outside the norm is always a good way to keep things interesting and exciting. FHE is also meant be fun! You can hike together, go Bowling, PIZZA NIGHT! Surfing, Skating, go to a Zoo. Remember to have that spiritual thought because you want to grow together both spiritually and in friendship.
I may not know what you and your family are learning right now, but I can promise that whatever it may be, FHE will be the vehicle for a strong, fulfilling family ties. You may be related to one another, but you will be surprised the things you will learn from each other, the deep, sacred needs your children may have and the needs your spouse may have. FHE builds trust and creates both parenthood and friendship between parent and child. FHE develops sacred love and understanding between spouses.
Can you have a happy and fulfilling life without FHE maybe, to an extent. You will in many ways deprive yourself from many blessings and lessons that come from it. It was Christ who taught in both New Testament and in the Book of Mormon to “be perfect even as he is perfect or his father in heaven is perfect.” (see Matthew: 5, 3Nephi:12) FHE is a stepping stone for that here on Earth and Live Eternal. After all, the Kingdom of God is built on family and family values so might as well be obedient and start now.