By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog
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Kylie Turley asked for this one.
When my kids were young, our FHE was watching the Simpsons together on Sunday evenings. We’ve never done the more formal lesson + refreshments version.
I’ve never been part of a family that’s held FHE regularly.
We’ve done the whole shabang, and we enjoyed it a lot. The kids are older now, so our FHEs are pretty simple and often just family activities. Our biggest problems in earlier years happened when the one giving the lesson would make it like a sacrament meeting talk. The kids get enough talks at church. When they were small, I did do some flannel board stuff, but my kids feel pretty inundated with church and church assignments. Lately, I have asked that we go to _Preach My Gospel_ for our scripture reading. We read one sentence from the headings of Christlike attributes (faith, charity, repentance, virtue, humility, diligence, obedience) and then tell stories to further the point. Children–whatever age–love stories. In church, eyes open a bit when a story starts, and close a little when the sentence starts “As Elder So and So has said…” or “In the book of Alma, we read…” In FHE, slide the balance towards the anecdotal. That’s my advice. (It’ll be interesting to see how Bruce and I do FHE as empty-nesters. That’s coming soon.)
When I was growing up, I was the only active church member in my family, so no FHE. Now, I’m single and living on my own, so I have nobody to have FHE with. I plan to have it when I’m married and/or have kids, but I realize that since I’ve never had a model of how it’s supposed to work, I’ll have a lot of learning to do to figure it out. (Does the church teach people how to do it, or is everyone just expected to know it from having it growing up? How do converts learn?)
But our current FHE’s are very short on lessons and more geared toward family activity. I have two elementary school aged kids and two preschoolers with shorter attention spans.
Every week, but that is more my wife’s doing than mine.
Now if you asked if we had productive fhe every week, I might have voted differently.
We’ve always done FHE, even before we had kids. It’s actually harder with kids, because when it was just us, we’d invite some other family in the ward to come over and do FHE with them (almost every week) about some crazy piece of doctrine (We’ve had lessons on everything from Second Anointings to tree rings in the sacred grove), and now we have a kid in school, so bed time is earlier, and it is a lot harder, but we still have a simplified lesson (we have been using the new Nursery manual as a jumping off point for ideas, but I want to teach the lesson this week on how my older daughter can use the moment of silence at shool to pray in her head is she wants to), and we have a treat and a game or go do something together. It’s just something we do. It’s not that hard to do, and it is really a lot of fun.
I think it’s important because it gives a space for us to talk about religion as a family, so my kids know what I think and feel about things we otherwise don’t normally talk about. A lot of incorrect things are taught at church, and I appreciate a little room to emphasize and discuss things I think are important.
We would watch Buffy then discuss it. Really.
Yep — 10 minutes of good times every Monday.
(Song, prayer, and a story from The Friend. Occasionally ice cream thereafter. We have it dialed in pretty well right now with kids ranging from 11 to 4.)
You should break down the yes vote between those who hold it on Mondays, Sundays, or other days. My sense is that (like us) most FHEs happen on Sundays. We make it less than half the time, so I voted no.
My remaining nonhandicapped son at home is all for FHE in theory, but in practice, he can’t wait for it to be over. My now-departed daughters were downright hostile toward it, even the one who remained active. My dad would not conduct it when I was growing up, and routinely fell asleep when my mom tried to, so I have no model of how to do it right.
My kids are still pretty little. My favorite lessons so far was having a ten minute lesson on “animal manners” before going to out to dinner. (The next week we wanted to see if they had learned anything, so we tried to take the wild things to the BYU Museum of Art. Yep, left after about ten minutes.)
Growing up we had FHE from the manual every Monday night. My mom made a fancy FHE dessert, my Dad did the lesson, and all of us kids listened and learned.
We’re actually strong on this. It’s short and informal — singing (not always church songs), a scripture card or some puppets doing stuff, then hide and seek marathons. Good times.
We really try to have some kind of weekly FHE observance. It is often short and not always gospel-themed. It always involves family prayer. And treats.
My kids’ favorite (from so many years ago):
Crushed oreos on top of chocolate pudding, which looks like very rich dirt. A few gummy worms on top. Easy, easy, easy.
We watch CSI together every Monday night religiously.
We don’t always have a formal lesson–though we usually do–but we always have treats. We also always sing. Singing + Prayer + Treats = FHE.
too busy reading blogs to follow counsel on having FHE
not a joke
Our experience probably mirrors that of most. At times we’ve been gung-ho. Other times we’ve been no-show. We’ve had lessons, thought, musical numbers, games, treats, prayers, etc. We’ve had Monday Night Football, outings, arguments, etc. Growing up, it was much the same, except no football (it was before Monday Night Football, if you can remember that far back!).
For us, the key has been flexibility. The comment above about using Preach My Gospel is spot on. A great resource, not only for FHE, but family scripture study as well.
PS-what are the stakes of your wager?
Peter, see the title of my last post.
Are you threatening me? With what, exactly?
You’re losing, but not by much.
I would say it was not difficult when we had two kids but now with six, I mostly just want them in bed.
Our version is watching America’s Funniest Home Videos together. (My wife thinks Simpsons too crude.)
Oh, how I try. And oh, how I fail miserable most weeks. I do know people who do it without fail, and who do it like we’re supposed to- it’s just an uphill battle in my home. Getting three little kids to pay attention after dinner, school, homework and all that rigamarole is darn near impossible.
I know, I know, argue for your limitation and all that…
Family night is much easier to hold regularly with the kids constantly reminding us “It’s Monday night!!!” We sing lots of songs around the piano, usually read a chapter out of the scriptures, and then spend the bulk of the time reading poetry and stories. Right now we’re in Norse mythology for the story. We’ve also done Greek myths and the Iliad and Odyssey, and the Ramayana. Next up is Beowulf again. I guess it’s more a Family Humanities Evening, but it’s what works with for us. We do get fun discussions.
Every week except when I’m working nights. Our most successful lesson scheme was learning the articles of faith songs from the Children’s Songbook. Amazingly simple. If a kid can learn I Am a Child of God, they can learn 13 other songs (I admit some melodies are weird, but it works). Now our 7, 5, and 2 year olds know them. We also always have announcements where we review the week and everyone knows what is going on for the upcoming week.
After reading the other comments, perhaps I should have voted “yes” instead of “no” — we don’t manage every Monday, but if we have dinner at Grandma and Grandpa’s, I’d say that counts even without a lesson. As for “formal” lessons — they are seriously about 2 minutes long, with a song and always with treats (treats are what keep the kids quiet and at the table while I talk; my son has autism and these things are a challenge even without autism).
When I was growing up, my family had periods where we had it every Monday, and other periods when it fell by the wayside. Normal, in other words, I’d say.
We are in the downsizing phase, with half the kids gone, and only a 10 & 14 year old at home. We have regularly had FHE since the missionary was a baby. This fall has presented a bit of a challenge, since it marks the first year of full-time employment for me, and especially since the 14y-o is in a drivers-ed class on monday nights from 6-9 pm. Sundays haven’t always worked, either, thanks to too many firesides or choir practices, etc.
But two weeks ago, when we missed having FHE on Sunday and Monday, my husband and I were clearing the table from supper, when the 10 year old arrived with a package of cookies from the storeroom and the 14 year old with a wite-board marker. “We are having family home evening,” they said. So I led a song, and daddy said a prayer. The 14 year old taught us about how following the signs keeps us safe (a variation from his drivers-ed class) and the 10 year old handed out treats. Then we played hide-the-thimble.
Whoops. Meant to say the above story took place on a Tuesday night.
We hold FHE on Monday nights. Well, we try to, anyway. Or at least I try to.
Some nights I manage to get my husband to actually close the top of the laptop and pretend to pay attention. Most nights he just keeps on going with whatever he’s doing on the computer.
My oldest is only 3, so FHE is about 10 minutes long. We use the FHE manual and have a short story and look at some pictures of Baptism, making correct choices, lying, etc. Sometimes we play a game. Most nights we just have a closing prayer and get a lollypop for a treat.
I imagine we’ll expand as the kids get older to a real song, prayer, lesson, spiritual thought and treat format.
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