“A Couple of Hours on Monday,” Ensign, Dec. 1993, 19
Years ago, our family held family home evening quite faithfully. But with the divorce and upheaval that followed, our family home evening habit had waned.
I found that as the divorced mother of five children ranging in ages from twelve down to two years old, almost all of my efforts were spent just trying to make ends meet. By evening, I was exhausted, and yet there was always more to do—fix dinner, wash clothes, get the little ones ready for bed, clean up, get ready for the next day. Giving up a couple of hours on Monday evening seemed out of the question.
We are active in the Church, and for the time being, that will just have to do, I thought.
One day my three oldest children approached me with a proposition: could we have family home evening if they planned it all by themselves? I hesitated, knowing that I would have to help them and wondering if I had the time. But when they spoke longingly of family home evening memories, I agreed.
The children spent the next week in excited preparation. As it turned out, I did very little. My oldest daughter spent hours learning an opening and closing song on the piano, although she played only by ear and had to piece the notes together. The other children also carefully prepared; even the youngest had an assignment. I couldn’t help noticing how excited the children were, and I began reevaluating my opinion of the difficulty of holding family home evening.
By the time the night arrived, I was just as excited as they were. Chairs were carefully arranged in a semicircle around the fireplace hearth, which was to serve as a podium. I was given the place of honor—front and center. And our family home evening began.
First, Kerry played “I Am a Child of God” on the piano while the two youngest, Laurie and Melissa, sang. After an opening prayer, the three oldest spoke on baptism, an especially important topic to our family because Patrick had just turned eight and was planning on being baptized within a few weeks.
Kerry recalled the memories of her own baptism, and seven-year-old Bonnie shared her excitement about the upcoming event. Both shared their testimonies.
Next, Patrick spoke. I was touched because in the past few months he’d had some serious health problems, but I hadn’t realized how apprehensive he was about how they would affect his baptism. Together, we read two stories about baptism and openly discussed his concerns. When we were finished, I could see that Patrick felt more reassured than he had in a long time, not only about his baptism but about his health problems as well.
As we concluded our family home evening with another song and a prayer, I realized how important it was for my children to know that even though we didn’t have a father in our home, we were a family. All of a sudden, two hours on Monday evening seemed a small price to pay to send that message.