“Reclaiming Monday Nights,” Ensign, July 2002, 73
In the past, our family was “hit and miss” with family home evening. By the time we had dinner and gathered everyone together, we generally fell into the habit of playing a game and eating ice cream. As our children have grown older, we have needed a more structured, gospel-centered family home evening. Shortly after a letter from the First Presidency was read in Church urging families to reclaim Mondays for family home evening, we set a family goal to “get serious” about family night. We use the Family Home Evening Resource Book (item no. 31106, U.S. $5.00), Gospel Principles (31110, U.S. $2.75), and other Church materials to plan our lessons. We also add ideas to meet our family’s needs. Following are some of our favorite activities that help us to hold family home evening regularly:
Magazine Monday. This is our favorite activity! We each read our age-appropriate Church magazine in advance. Then we each report on our favorite article. We have had many wonderful gospel discussions based on the articles we have read. It’s hard to end these home evenings, since someone usually says, “Wait. I have just one more thing I want to share!” We have gained many insights into our children’s understanding by listening to them and then discussing the articles they have chosen.
Family Preparedness Night. As a family we discussed our preparedness needs, and everyone selected an emergency-preparedness topic to research. We then planned which night we would each present a topic. Our teenager chose fire safety. She charted fire-escape routes for our home and made sure we bought new fire extinguishers. During one Family Preparedness Night when we had planned to talk about poison safety, we inadvertently learned about tornadoes instead! In Idaho tornadoes are not common, but that evening we experienced a severe storm. We learned firsthand that we had enough food, water, candles, and blankets. However, we had no batteries for our radios, so we were not able to track the storm’s progress. Will we be prepared next time? Yes!
Prophet Night. We have enjoyed learning about President Gordon B. Hinckley’s life as we have read the books written by him or about him. We also watch conference addresses so we can listen to our prophet’s voice.
Family Friendshipping Night. Our family is relatively new to our area, so we have started inviting other families to share our fourth Monday. We have a lesson, an activity, and a treat. We have made many new friends, and it’s a great way to share gospel discussions with others. During this evening, we also look for opportunities to serve others and share the gospel. Inviting nonmembers and less-active members for a fun-filled evening is an effective way to befriend and fellowship them!
Our family has been blessed as we have reclaimed Monday evenings for family night. Each week we look forward to learning the gospel together, building our testimonies, strengthening our family—and, yes, eating ice cream!—Joy M. Sorensen, Woodhaven Ward, Taylor Mountain Idaho Stake