Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dear Newly Weds/Parents of Babies:

I know that FHE and family prayer can be tricky and easy to let slide right now.  I know that teaching a lesson while a baby is totally oblivious and/or crying because it's bedtime seems so pointless.  I know that sitting through church with a screaming baby is hard. I know that when it's just the two of you, and you spend every night together anyway, it might not seem like a big deal to let a formal FHE slide by.  But I'm barely on the other side, and I promise you, it is worth it.

One week, your two year old will ask you every night if it's family night because she loves it so much.  She'll beg you for the stick you let her lead the music with.  When FHE comes she'll sing the gathering song at the top of her lungs skipping around the room with a grin on her face because she knows it's "Game Night!". 

She'll stand up on a box while she leads the opening song with her stick.  She'll have 8 bows in her hair because she insisted that she needed to look beautiful.  Her clothes won't match because she picked them out herself.  She'll feel so proud because she knows enough primary songs to choose which one to sing by herself.  She'll have ownership of part of family night and she'll feel needed.  The next day, when the baby falls down and starts crying, you will hear her telling him that it's okay because Jesus can make him feel better; and you'll realize that she got it.  Your 45 second lesson stuck.  You'll probably cry.

She'll sing her primary songs with her eyebrows furrowed because she is concentrating so much.  She'll request to sing "Follow the Prophet" and "I am a Child of God" over "The Wheels on the Bus" (sometimes).  She'll clap her little hands and jump up and down when you tell her it's church day. 

And you'll start to realize that she knows all of this because you stuck it out.  You formed a habit.  Instead of starting at the beginning with a toddler who wants to be running and playing, you began with the two of you.  You strengthened your home. That baby may not understand you now, but they do understand love; and they can feel that love when you gather together. 

I know I'm not out of the clear, I've still got a child asking if it's time to play games in the middle of the 45 second lesson.  I've still got a baby that's totally oblivious.  I still spend 90% of my church time in the hall.  But I'm at the point that I can see the results.  Tiny things that stick.  And I'm telling you from this side: it is worth it.

Elijah Moment: Stories from our Past

I had to record something that we've added to our weekly family home evenings that has been a blessing to our family.  Nate and I were watching a training for his work which talked about how important it is to tie the hearts of the children to their fathers.  There are many promises in the scriptures that accompany this commandment and I've been feeling for months that I need to find a way to help my children learn about their fathers.

The problem has always been that I'm barely getting the basics done.  If I tried to add something grand to my schedule I would feel like I failed if I messed up.  I needed something that I could really do, and keep up long term.  Enter, the Elijah Moment.

Nate and I switch off doing an Elijah Moment during our Monday night FHE.  Whoever isn't teaching the lesson is in charge of this segment.  It is simply to tell a story of our ancestors to our children.  It can be something as small and recent as talking about how Nate and I met, or when we decided to have each of the children, or something from grandparent's lives, or farther back.  Basically, it's a really low key way to ensure that the legacy of faith is testified of in our home.

If I have time to research a great story, I do that.  If I don't, I tell a memory that I have off the top of my head.  (As the children get older they will have opportunities to be in charge of the moment as well.)  What we began last week is something that I think I want to have stick.  I told the story of how Nathan and I met.  I testified that our family began because we were serving other people.  (Nate and I met when we were both volunteering for an organization on campus.)  And I then challenged us to think of a service project we could do that week in order to carry on the legacy.

We ended up planning on taking all of the neighbor's garbages to the curb for them on garbage day.  So the night before, we would knock on their doors and tell them that our family was learning about service and could we please take their garbage out for them.

I feel good knowing that while right now, I might not be able to do huge family history things,  I can begin to knit the hearts of my children to their fathers.

So join us!  Have an Elijah Moment.  Tell stories from your past.