“Home Evening Helper,” Ensign, Jan. 1990, 75
“What are we doing for home evening?”
“I don’t know. Whose turn is it to give the lesson?”
“I don’t know. When was our last activity?”
“I don’t know. Has the assignment board been rotated?”
“It’s been so long I can’t remember.”
“Let’s have it Friday. That will give us time to plan it.”
We knew that Monday was family night, but each week when Monday rolled around, my husband, Terry, and I found ourselves repeating this dialogue. Needless to say, we held family home evening inconsistently.
We have a combined family. When we married, Terry had three children and I had two. We’ve since added one more to our family. Each Christmas vacation when five of our six children go to visit their other parent, Terry and I leave the baby with Grandpa and Grandma and retreat for two days. It’s a relaxing time for us. But we’ve also made it a planning time. It was during this planning time last Christmas vacation that we decided to make up a family home evening schedule. We made ours for a year; we wanted it to last until our next getaway, but a shorter schedule would be equally effective.
In our planning, we first discussed the areas in which our family needed to improve. We felt that we especially wanted to strengthen our prayers, faith, relationships with Heavenly Father and Jesus, and unity, so we took out our copy of the family home evening manual and found lessons that would help us teach these principles of the gospel.
We decided that we would have lessons on the first three Mondays of each month and an activity on the fourth. Then we wrote down the months of the year and the date of each Monday on a sheet of paper. We chose a monthly theme and scheduled lessons from the manual accordingly. We recorded the lesson number and the person to give the lesson (or the child in charge of the activity on the fourth Monday) beside each date.
We’ve used our schedule for six months now, and we’re elated with the results. We’ve missed only two family home evenings. For us, that is incredible!
Another thing that we have found helpful is to plan our family home evening treat in advance. I’ve made my own typewritten grocery lists and included “family home evening treat” right at the top. That way, there is no last-minute shopping for a special dessert.—Judy L. Bristow, Florence, Oregon