Remember, these are all just suggestions to help you (and me) as we prepare meaningful Family Home Evenings. You can use parts, all, or none of what you find here completely guilt free. My dirty little secret? I rarely prepare the snack, and guess what? I still end up with good FHE’s.
These talks aren’t necessarily geared for the whole family, but they are really worth reading, and this lesson is based on suggestions from the talks.
Teaching Our Children To Understand – Cheryl A Esplin – Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency (This was one of my favorite talks during this General Conference)
Especially this quote:
“In a latter-day revelation through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord instructs parents to teach their children to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Notice the Lord doesn’t just say we are to “teach the doctrine”; His instructions are to teach our children to “understand the doctrine.” (See D&C 68:25, 28; emphasis added.)”
Based on this quote, the lesson will include simple explanations of one, two, or all of the following concepts: repentance, faith in Christ, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Decide which concept or concepts to teach. It’s important that kids KNOW the basics of these concepts so that, as Sister Esplin suggests, we can really teach them to UNDERSTAND them when the opportunities arise.
And a Little Child Shall Lead – Boyd K Packer – President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Jesus Once Was a Little Child Children’s Hymn Book # 55
This will depend on which concept you’ve chosen to focus on.
Repentance: Explain the doctrine of repentance with this fun object lesson:
The concept is simple: take a clean glass of water and put sin (food coloring) in it. Then liberally apply repentance (bleach) in order to make it clean again.
A few tips and tricks I learned first hand – only put one drop of food coloring in – use less water so you can add more bleach – it takes a few minutes so discuss the steps of repentance while you’re waiting – the end result is the color of bleach so if you really want to get nit-picky with it add some more water for a truly clear jar. Personally, I think this object lesson can be used for almost all ages. I did it with a neighbor and we had a blast. :)
Faith in Christ: For teenagers or adults – utilize videos and other resources at the Church’s website Faith in Jesus Christ. For younger children set up a table with a whistle, a jagged rock, a blue pen, salt, a bowl with vanilla.
Blow the whistle, ask the children what it is – a whistle – how do you know? – I heard it. Pass around the rock, what is it? – a rock – how do you know? – I can feel it. Draw something with the pen, what color is that? – blue – how do you know? I can see it. Let everyone taste the salt, what is that? – salt – How do you know? – I can taste it, Allow everyone to sniff the bowl of vanilla, what is that? – vanilla – how do you know? I can smell it.
Explain that they used one of their five senses to help them know what each object was. Ask the children who Christ is. How do you know? Explain that we know who Christ is through faith. Faith is something that we feel inside us, with our heart and soul rather than one of our five senses.
Baptism: Have a question and answer session about baptism. This is good for families of all ages. Give children the opportunity to ask any question they want about baptism. Be prepared to look up answers you don’t know. For reference to a few simple questions you can check out this page on the Church website. Allow the Spirit to guide your discussion, try to make the atmosphere as inviting and non judgmental as possible so that the discussion can be free. No question is dumb or stupid. End with a coloring activity. You can find free baptism printables from the church website here.
Gift of the Holy Ghost:
For older children/ adults tell a personal story of a time when you felt the Holy Ghost guide you. Ask them to share their own experiences.
For young children explain that the Holy Ghost is a spirit so it can dwell inside us and help us make good decisions. Give each child a paper bag and let them draw a face on the bag, then put a flash light inside the bag. When we make good choices the Holy Ghost fills us up with light and joy just like the flash light fills the bag. When we make poor choices the Holy Ghost leaves us just like the bag without the flashlight.
For very small children take turns giving the children a big hug. Talk to them about that warm happy feeling they get when they’re being hugged and explain that the Holy Ghost helps us to feel warm and happy when we’re making good decisions. When we make poor decisions the Holy Ghost leaves us, and we feel sad and empty.
Ask the children why they think you do family home evening every week – because you love them. Why are we commanded to have Family Home Evening every week? There are a lot of good answers to this question, but ultimately it is because our Heavenly Father loves us and wants what is best from us.
Read parts or all of the following quote as you are prompted to do so.
“The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood. Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling—from which they will never be released—is to one another and then to their children.
One of the great discoveries of parenthood is that we learn far more about what really matters from our children than we ever did from our parents. We come to recognize the truth in Isaiah’s prophecy that “a little child shall lead them.” – Elder Boyd K Packer
Tell your children how much you love them and how grateful you are to them for all they teach you. Help them to understand how much you value them as well as your role as a parent/aunt/uncle/grandparent.
I am a Child of God Hymn # 301
Disclaimer: I’m not an official representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Everything here is my opinion. I’m just a normal Mormon mommy hoping what I post can help myself and others as we seek to reach our potential :)