Debriefing General Conference

I like to debrief.

One definition of debrief is “to carefully review upon completion”.

I debrief after parties, talks, vacations, activities, lessons, holidays, events, etc. — anything that I was in charge of.  I basically analyze what I did well and where I could improve.  I like to pat myself on the back but then give myself room to grow.   And like I said back here, the best time to debrief is right after you finish an event.

So last night, Chad and I debriefed General Conference. (The things I sucker him in to. He he.)  We didn’t evaluate the talks or discuss doctrine… yet.   We just reviewed the role we played in our General Conference experience and in our children’s experience. I wanted to write it down so I would remember my thoughts in 6 months.

What Went WELL this weekend (in no particular order):

  • The bike ride between sessions was so fun and the weather was perfect. We went on an awesome new trail behind our house.  It was great to get the kids out, move their bodies and clear their minds.  (I love my bike!!!!) It helped focus us for the next session.  This is a new tradition for sure or at least weather permitting.
  • I appreciated Jennifer’s suggestion back here to have the kids in the room doing quiet activities during some some sessions.  We tried that during the Saturday and Sunday afternoon sessions. Legos, blocks, coloring, drawing, and Barbies worked pretty well for us.  Elle even learned to french braid my hair.
  • Croft loved this packet by the cartoonist Arie Van De Graaff.  It kept her very busy and happy. It was great for those kids that don’t read, but just like to color.

  • I am glad we had General Conference playing on every TV (we only have 2)– that way no matter what we were doing or where we were in the house you could hear Conference.
  • Sunday breakfast was so fun and fancy.  We had scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, cinnamon rolls, fresh squeeze orange juice and milk.  It was nice to sit at the table all together to start the day. And it was even nicer that dad cooked it.   The kids loved the hash browns and cinnamon rolls since they are such a novelty at our house.  I realized General Conferences are the only Sunday mornings (except Mother’s Day) the whole year that dad is home to make breakfast so it was a perfect job for him.  Again, I am thinking this is a new tradition.
  • The cinnamon rolls turned out and they were actually really good.  I used this recipe because it didn’t require as much rising time as my mom’s recipe.  The kids loved them and I brought a little piece of my childhood to Conference.  I also enjoyed being able to take plates to some visiting and home teaching families.
Picture courtesy of
  • Making the fort/tent inside the house was just as fun and a lot less work.
  • I am glad I wore a dress all day Sunday. It was comfy and casual but it was a dress, and I felt better prepared to listen.
  • The lap trays worked great.  It has a big slot to hold papers and packets as well as a cup holder for water bottles and  a space for markers, pencils, etc.

Ways to IMPROVE:

  • I am sad I missed the announcement of the change in eligible mission ages.  (Boys went from 19 to 18 and girls went from 21 to 19.) I was at Crew’s football game.  I was reminded I want to do everything in my power to be present at every session that I can.   It takes more planning and more sacrifice but I want to hear it in real time.
  • Add more cinnamon and sugar to the cinnamon roll recipe.  Plus make them Friday night.  That way we can eat them Saturday morning and then have leftovers on Sunday morning with dad’s hearty breakfast.  (And give away more.  I ate way too many.)
  • Get more sleep the week before.  Part of preparing for Conference is getting adequate sleep the days before so we can stay awake through the talks.
  • Be tougher on the kids at least one session.   Not in a yelling, nagging sort of way, but in an expectations sort of way. They can sit through Sacrament Meeting and Stake Conference.  So they can sit through General Conference, especially Crew and Elle since they are older.  Children often rise to the expectation set.
  • Define the expectations and activities for the kids better for each session.  Have a family council before Conference and let the kids have input on what would be fair to require each session.
  • Add Michael to our Bingo sheet. Michael is my cousin who is in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  We love to look for him when they sing.

  • Prepare materials earlier and get supplies ready.  Print packet earlier and make sure it is on the kids level.   Maybe offer an incentive to finish the packet.

Overall, we had a pleasant weekend home together.  I look forward to rereading the talks and having my children listen to some of the stories.  And because of my debriefing I hope the next Conference is even better.

What went well for you this General Conference?  What ways do you want to improve your family’s General Conference experience?


4 thoughts on “Debriefing General Conference”

  1. With four boys Saturday was a crazy day full of games. I take my phone, ipod, or whatever has a radio, and listen to conference with my earphones while I’m at the game….and I listen in the car as I drive back and forth. I know alot of the parents noticed, but I don’t care. One mom even remarked that she remembers my husband doing the same thing a few years ago. I’m with you, there’s just something about hearing it live. I don’t get as much out of it, and I’m definitely going to have to watch those sessions again, but that’s okay!

  2. Saturday afternoon was a crazy session for us: the boys were still on a high from football, the girls had already had a short cat nap and so didn’t sleep during that session, and so the kids were restless and busy. They colored and did other quiet activities but they just didn’t last long. Sunday, however, was much better. The kids colored, did educational activities and even listened. Then my favorite session was Sunday p.m. Because we make the kids nap so mom and dad can get in some good, quiet listening. Jace didn’t nap but listened along with us, and although he doesnt get a lot out of it, he does get some. Then allyhe kids woke up in time to hear Pres Monson close out conference. We also had a delicious Sunday morning breakfast the has become a tradition for us.

  3. Ok I laughed out loud at the adding Michael to Bingo! That was great…although it’s usually Jared trying to find him. 🙂 Rees loved sister Burtons talk because she said about 7 bingo requirements in her first 2 sentences.

    We love DVR…since we missed some Sat. because of football games. We still have to finish Sat. afternoon. We did packets and Bingo. It lasted for one session pretty good. Rees listens pretty well on his own. They tried to do quiet things near by for other sessions. We did donuts and choc. milk and bacon for Sat. breakfast and a big breakfast for Sunday.

    We tried to have a mini chat about it during dinner. Maybe more follow up for FHE. All in all it went pretty well.

  4. Those are some great ideas. I actually love the idea of letting them play quiet activities such as legos while they listen. Why didn’t I ever think of that.

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