My dad had us conducting Family Home Evening at a young age.
Whomever was conducting would stand up and say “Welcome to Family Home Evening.” That phrase was often slurred, slaughtered, ran together, or mumbled. But my dad would make us repeat it, until “Welcome to Family Home Evening” was clear and coherent. Then Family Home Evening could begin.
I have happy memories of those conducting days. So I have our kids conduct Family Home Evening too, but we use a written agenda to guide us through the night.
I came up with a Family Home Evening agenda for 5 reasons:
1. I read in “Counseling with Councils” by M. Russel Ballard that the First Presidency uses an agenda in their meetings.
2. It is much easier to run a meeting when you use an agenda. You know what to say, you know what is next, and you stay on task.
3. Using an agenda and conducting a meeting is a leadership skill. I can’t guarantee that my children will be respectful or kind or reverent in YM and YW, but they will know how to conduct a meeting if they are ever class president.
4. Standing up in front of people and taking charge builds confidence. An agenda helps facilitate that confidence.
5. An agenda teaches responsibility and accountability. The person who is conducting prints the agenda and fills it out. Even Croft, who is in Kindergarten, can do this.
I put a lot of thought into the order of the agenda and what I wanted to subtly teach through its order.
Here are some reasons and explanations behind the order I chose:
We note the subject or theme at the top because we like the songs and the scripture to support the lesson topic. Music can teach what words can’t. And the brain learns when all the material goes together.
I put conducting and presiding on the agenda so that my children would learn the subtle difference between the two responsibilities. Presiding is a spiritual accountability for the meeting and conducting is a logistical one. And when guests are over or dad is gone that little differentiation makes them think and learn.
We review calendar details for the upcoming week. I put this before the prayer because it is a family business matter rather than a spiritual matter.
We sing an opening song before the prayer, because the song helps prepare your mind for the prayer.
Share Bear is where we share good news, a talent or a compliment. It is probably one of my top 5 favorite ideas ever. It didn’t come from pinterest or someone else’s blog. It came from my brain and my heart wanting my family’s relationships to be better than my childhood’s. (You can read more background and details about Share Bear here, although it is probably my mom’s least favorite post.)
I put the wiggle song after the kids have already sat through some listening activities like calendar and Share Bear but right before the lesson. It is a good place to move and wiggle and prepares them to sit for the lesson. We love to sing “Fun to Do” and “Do As I’m Doing” with several
inappropriate variations of course.
I wanted to incorporate testimonies into family home evening since home is the best place for children to learn what a testimony is and how they can say it. Just last week Croft wanted to bear her testimony but she was a little unsure. So I stood by her and just asked her to tell me what she knew about Jesus. Plus it is a great opportunity for my husband and me to share our testimonies with our children as well. Sharing testimony is purely voluntary by the way.
We kneel for closing prayer as a family before we have refreshments.
Feel free to print out our Family Home Evening agenda or make up your own in the order you chose. But use an agenda. Your kids will participate and learn valuable leadership skills, the meeting will run more smoothly, and if the First Presidency isn’t above an agenda, neither are we.