Friday, October 7, 2011

Family Home Evening Lessons on The Family: A Proclamation to the World #1

I did a lot of searching for ideas on the first paragraph of the family proclamation. It was a rocky start because most of my children are young and I didn't want to make it all serious. Porter saw me researching and he saw a picture of a paper family tree. He asked me what it was and I told him I was thinking of doing that for family night. He popped up and offered to make it himself. Of course, I took him up on that offer.

So, we started by having the kids read aloud the first paragraph right off of the wood carving we have on our mantle.The younger five were already standing in the middle of the room so I stood behind Morgan, our rambunctious seven year old, and kept him occupied by keeping my hands on him and moving around the room as we faced different directions depending on who our focus was on.

We began by discussing what it means for something to be "ordained of God". I won't tell you specifics because your family would have to handle that based on your own situation like your children's ages; they're attention spans (your husband's attention span); and how deeply you want to explore these principles.

We then discussed that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children. We talked about what a plan is. We brought up the adversary to God's plan, best known as the devil, commonly known as Satan, and to Latter-Day Saints known as Lucifer, another of God's spirit children who was cast out of Father's presence for rebellion.

We talked about how America has enemies like the terrorists, who destroyed the Twin Towers and hundreds of lives, and how an enemy would attack where ever it would cause the greatest debilitation.

"So," I posed the question, "if the family is central to God's plan, where would the adversary focus most of his attention?"

They quickly caught on and we discussed the many, many, many ways that families can become vulnerable and how the world's status quo disagrees with the principles of truth and righteousness.

It was then time to pull out the adorable family tree that Porter designed for us (I'm sorry Shanelle!), and we each glued our own leaf on. I wrapped up our discussion by looking each of my children in the eyes and telling them that we loved them very much; that they are the most important aspect of our lives. And that even though family life is not always fun and pleasant they are worth all the frustrations and hardships that we face as parents. I also opened up my heart and expressed to them my personal belief that Father has given us a Plan of Happiness and that if we will strive to live by the teachings of Christ and obey the commandments our lives will be so much easier and happier.

I haven't yet planned next week's Family Home Evening, but as we learned from doing the 6 B's from President Hinckley, it is really neat having a themed series because the kids know that next week is going to be connected to last week and they are interested in what is coming next. I'll try to keep you posted.

Sparkling Reflections

It's wonderful here at Bear lake today. There are only a handful of vehicles on the entire beach. The sun is shining and the water calm. But not completely calm. There is just enough rippling to create that tranquilizing sound of water lapping against the sand. Such a lovely sound as to enhance the peacefulness of this moment in time.

I look out at my five young children far off in what they call the "hot sand". The boys with a two foot shovel, no doubt searching for treasure. The girls with a big wad of... sea moss? What is their plan for that?

As I see them out there playing I am vividly reminded of how I used to be transported by my imagination to any world, time, or situation I desired. I love days like today when the only thing on the agenda is to allow the children the freedom to magically transform themselves into any character they want to be. Their mode of transportation is to simply follow any whim of their imaginations.

Sparkling reflections on the water; the sounds of splashing, laughter, and seagulls; and my one lone beach umbrella all come together creating a fulness of heart and a smile in my eyes. Today will be stored in an imaginary heart pendant to be opened on some future cold day.