Introduction to a Good Thing – Family Night

I’ve decided to create a new category on my blog about Family Nights, mainly because my own family dynamic has changed so much recently, that I need to put a little more thought into how to make it work. This is my post about what it is generally.

It's a good idea to take turns doing each part of the Family Home Evening. A chart of some sort can help you keep track.
It’s a good idea to take turns doing each part of the Family Home Evening. A chart of some sort can help you keep track.

One really cool thing

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (AKA “The Mormons”) does is encourage families to spend time together in ways that strengthen their relationships as well as their understanding of the gospel through Family Home Evenings. This is a concept that is valuable to any family, no matter what your religious background is, and I’d like to encourage you to try it in your family, if you don’t already do it. In my church, Monday nights are the night set aside for families. No church meetings are scheduled on this night and we try to avoid scheduling other activities then as well.

A typical Family Home Evening looks something like this:

  • Call everyone together and start by singing a song.
  • Have someone say a prayer. (Dear Heavenly Father, Please bless us to have a good night together, that we can have Thy Spirit with us and not fight or yell at each other…) 😉
  • Have a short Family Council and go over the calendar for the week so you don’t tell Grandma you’ll all show up to weed her yard on the same morning as Junior’s soccer game. This kind of family communication can save a lot of conflict in the future.
  • Have someone teach a short lesson. It’s good to rotate who does this, so no one gets too burned out on doing it. Some lesson ideas might be:
    • How to find opportunities for random acts of service.
    • Stories of your ancestors.
    • The importance of sharing. (Lest you think this lesson would only be good for young children, consider the Bible’s discussions about service and how the early Saints held all things in common. Are there ways to incorporate that sort of generosity into your family culture?)
    • The importance of a healthy diet, or living according to your religious dietary laws. Mormons have what is called the Word of Wisdom that guides what we put into our bodies. Family night is a good time to clarify the importance of this sort of thing and why we do it.
    • Basic principles of your religion or other beliefs. We’ve had lessons about the atonement of Jesus Christ, the nature of God, the Law of Tithing, the principles of repentance and forgiveness (this link is to a really good video clip which I will also place at the end of this post.), and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost (another good video), among other things.
  • After the lesson, we usually do some sort of activity together. We might play a game, make something in the kitchen, rake leaves, do a service for someone, or take a walk.
  • Then we have a closing prayer and treats. The night is never complete without the treats. The prayer and treats are a way of ensuring that even if your Family Home Evening devolved into Family Fight Night, there is still something good to come out of it.

These Monday posts will feature fun ideas for what you can do with your family, as well as ideas for the treats. Hopefully in the process, it will help me put a little fresh air into my own family nights. Please feel free to share your ideas, successes, and failures, in the comments.

winner-winner, veggie dinner 🙂

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