“FYI: For Your Info,” New Era, Mar. 1993, 40–43
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”—Proverbs 29:18 [Prov. 29:18]
“The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him into a friend.”—Unknown
Family home evening can be something to anticipate rather than endure, if you take an active part in it. Why not volunteer to help your parents by suggesting some of these ideas?
If the phone rings a lot during family home evening and you don’t want to take the receiver off the hook for the duration of your lesson or activity, try answering by saying, “Hello, family home evening.” That will at least cut the conversation to a minimum.
Gotta Have It
Here are some foolproof essentials to include when helping to plan FHE:
Make sure everyone has a chance to ask questions and discuss ideas.
Let everyone help in the planning.
Select projects, activities, and lessons in which the whole family can participate.
Be receptive to and supportive of whoever leads the discussion. Be willing to take a turn when asked.
Be prepared, but let the interest of the participants determine the length of the discussions.
Make sure that love is present and can be felt by everyone participating. A good way to do this is by saying the three simple words, “I love you.”
Don’t force anyone to participate, but try to get everyone in your family to attend who can.
Fun and Games
Now that you know how to do it, here are a few ideas of what to do during family activities.
Have messages that go along with the lesson written on pieces of paper inside balloons—things like “Read John 4:13–14” or “Go give Dad a hug.” Everyone gets a turn popping a balloon.
Go to the library, check out some books, come home and share them with each other; then have a half hour of silent reading.
Whip up some soap powder or flakes in water to form a foamy paste and let everyone in the family finger paint on a window or formica table.
Have a “Journalist of the Week.” Let a different person each week write down family activities and memorable anecdotes in a family journal. Then have that person read his or her entry and sign it at family home evening.
Go grocery shopping, and make sure each person has a list of things to be responsible for. They’ll learn to appreciate those who do grocery duty and come to a realization of how much things cost.
Invite another family to share an activity with you. Go on a hike, ride bikes, have a picnic, or study the scriptures with them.
Put each family member’s name in a hat; take turns drawing them out and telling what you admire about that person.
Try a change of place for a change of pace. For variety, hold FHE on the patio, in a tent, in a tree fort, in someone’s bedroom, some place out of the ordinary.
Make homemade Christmas or birthday cards to give out during the coming year.
Have a repair night, when you bring out broken toys or appliances, unfinished arts and crafts projects, mending, etc., and have everyone join in. This is a good time to learn valuable skills.
Have a letter-writing night, when you write letters and draw pictures for missionaries and family members who are far away.
Invite a neighbor or friend who is an authority on a certain interesting subject to come and talk to the family.
Pick up litter along a highway or at a city park.
Have a “This is your life” night for each member of the family. Consider serving the honored person’s favorite food for refreshments.
Go through your food storage and rotate cans, change the water supply, etc.
Make a family mobile with a hanger, yarn, and a picture of each family member glued to construction paper. Talk about how nice it is to hang around together.
Have a themed family costume party, complete with prizes in enough different categories for everyone to win something. Plan activities around the theme.
Get a Church video from your ward library and watch it at home.
Let everyone tell about how they gained a testimony or when they’ve felt the Spirit.
Discuss civic duties; then write letters to your legislators. Little children can draw pictures.
Work in your yard or garden together. Set a timer for an hour and see how much you can accomplish in that time.
Have a lesson on family rules that all family members decide on. Mount the list of rules and hang it in a prominent spot.
During the first week of school, have a special night going over new school rules, setting up homework hours, and receiving father’s blessings.
Have an emergency night. Discuss important emergency phone numbers, plan exit routes in case of disasters, and go over the procedures to follow when accidents occur.
Read part of a story from the FHE manual, but let family members make up their own endings.
Make a family tape with poems, songs, jokes, stories, etc. by and about family members.
There’s a home for unwed mothers and abused children in the Fairfield California Stake, and the young women in the Vacaville Third Ward wanted to help out.
They took several activity nights to make stuffed bears. They also made sugar cookies to take to the home and let the children decorate. The main message they tried to convey was “You are a child of God,” and the smiles on the children’s faces told them they understood.
Twenty-one young people from the Atlanta Inner City District recently did genealogy work and baptisms for their own ancestors. It was a first for all of them. Included were youth from the Brookhaven (Vietnamese), Eastlake and Adams Park (African American), and Chamblee (Hispanic) branches.
It was a bomb that helped convince Yvonne Fitzpatrick of Northern Ireland that Heavenly Father loved her and was looking after her—or the threat of a bomb, anyway.
Yvonne’s mother had been taking the missionary discussions, and Yvonne had been listening in. On the afternoon following her mother’s baptism, the two decided to go shopping in Crown Alley, Dublin. When they returned home that evening, they turned on the news and heard that bombs had been planted in Crown Alley, but none had gone off.
“I was convinced that someone was looking out for us that day,” Yvonne says. “Today, here I am a member of the Church and a Sunday School teacher.” Yvonne is active in the Kilkenny Branch.
It’s a lot easier to “just say no” when everyone around you is doing the same thing. Julie Anderegg of the Spokane 12th Ward, Spokane East Stake, knows that, and that’s why she served as president of her high school’s “Hi-Five Club.” It’s an organization that basically provides fun, drug- and alcohol-free activities where students can have a good time without any negative peer pressure.
This she’s managed to sandwich in while she excels in sports, music, seminary and her ward’s Young Women program. She was also selected as a “Natural Helper,” or a person specially trained to help peers with problems they might not feel comfortable talking to others about.
Jennifer Harper of the Pensacola Third Ward, Pensacola Florida Stake, has a great time being the only girl in the snare drum line in Tate High School’s “Showband of the South.” It’s given her the opportunity to lead the Cotton Bowl Parade in Dallas, Texas.
It’s also given her the opportunity to tell a number of people about the gospel. When she’s not playing the drum, she’s either studying to keep up honor society status, reading seminary lessons, or planning activities to fulfill her calling as cochair of youth activities committee.
Not many young people get the chance to help build the temple in their area, so the youth from the Del Mar Stake jumped at the chance to clear the land around the San Diego Temple as part of their youth conference.
More than 300 young people attended the conference, rightly titled “Work and the Word.” There were spiritual presentations, a dance, a testimony meeting, and, of course, weeding, shoveling, and hauling debris from the new temple grounds.
“It felt good to work on the temple I will someday be going through,” said Christina Lyon, one of the Laurels involved.
The Young Women are announcing a new camp manual in response to the expanding worldwide nature of the girls camp program. Although the manual makes some significant changes in certification requirements, established girls’ camp programs should adapt quite easily to the new manual. Some things remain very familiar like learning first aid and interesting ways of cooking over a fire. Other things, like learning to purify water, leading rainy day activities, and recycling camp garbage are new. In fact, the manual itself is printed on recycled paper.
The camp program also has a new larger emphasis on the spiritual nature of camp, stressing testimony building over just learning self-reliant skills. Young Women camp recognition certificate requirements have been developed to cover four levels of camp (the names have been eliminated). In addition, the program has been expanded so girls can have two years as a youth camp leader. All levels of certification completed in past years are immediately transferable to the new program.