“Our General Conference Feast,” Ensign, Mar. 2000, 70
General conference can be a challenging experience for young children—and thus for their parents. Over the years our family has developed traditions to make these important messages of the Brethren pleasant and enjoyable, even for our youngest children.
One month before conference we hold a special planning meeting during family home evening. In our meeting we hand out assignments. One person chooses a scriptural verse that becomes our theme for the conference activities. Our younger children help make decorations. This is kept very simple. Even just a few hand-drawn pictures colored by preschool children help them to get excited about conference. These decorations are then hung in the family room.
An elementary-age son or daughter is asked to plan a word game. A list is made of words we might hear during conference, such as faith, tithing, or prayer. These words are listed on a poster if we are watching conference on TV at home. If we are traveling to a stake center, we make paper score sheets with the selected words. We choose one session to be our “game” session, and we listen for the selected words. If we are home, we quietly raise our hands when we hear one of the words spoken. If we are in the stake center, we keep score on our papers. During this session, even our two-year-old listens!
We also plan a special menu of favorite foods. Each item must maintain a Sabbath-like simplicity so that Mother doesn’t have to spend extra time in the kitchen. If we travel to a stake center, we plan a picnic between sessions. Whatever our circumstances, we enjoy a spirit of quiet fun.
At times we have also provided a small gift for the children, such as a new notebook, coloring book, or sheet of stickers that we hand out at the beginning of a session. This often helps small hands to stay busy while listening to conference talks.
By planning ahead, we hope our children will always look on conference weekend as a time for a special feast, both temporally and spiritually. Because of these simple traditions, our children now cheer when we tell them conference is coming.—Cynthia Watte Connell, Springville, Utah