OK, quick. FHE is tonight. Have anything planned? No? No problem, then. Here are a few quick and easy ideas to help you increase your family-together-time and create a few happy memories.
P.S. Always make sure to start with prayer and a hymn. These two are powerful tools and bring the spirit as nothing else can. And I've learned that singing all the verses to a hymn is what does it...not just a quick singing of just one verse.
1. Scavenger Hunt.
After the song and prayer, give everyone 120 seconds to find one object in the house and bring it to a group meeting place. Don't tell them why. Once they've returned with their objects, have them then take 30 seconds to think how that object could be compared to the scriptures & how the scriptures could help them this month.
You'll be surprised at the zaniness yet profoundness of some of the answers. Just let go and watch your family members surprise you with some really great thoughts.
Finish up with a time where each person shares ONE favorite verse from the scriptures that has meaning to them (you may want to help kids who are younger with three verses to choose from, letting them pick their favorite to share). End with prayer and a treat and/or a snuggle on the couch talking about their day.
2. Photography Zoo.
After opening song and prayer, if you have a digital camera, give two family members the responsibility to photograph 2 pictures of nature outside the home for every member of the family (i.e. 5 family members would equal 10 outdoor photos snapped...and if you have more than one digital camera, split up the assignment).
When everyone returns, have a quick slide show of what they photographed. Have each person in the family share one thing they are grateful for in all of God's creations.
Then have the family as a group find one scripture that could teach someone else how good God is in creating such abundance in nature.
Finish by bearing your testimony as to God's love for us, demonstrated by the beauty of nature and His creations. (Perhaps you could also talk about the responsibility we have to take good care of nature and the beauty of the earth?) End with prayer and a treat, or even just a snuggle on the couch talking about everyone's day.
3. Worry Warts
Pass out slips of paper and pencils. Allow each person to privately write down one worry they are facing or a worry of one of their friends. Have them wad it up really tightly and then put them all into a bowl. Pull one out at a time, smooth it out, and read it to the group. Talk about how the Lord might suggest handling that worry. Finish by reading all the "worry warts" in the bowl and discuss each one.
Once done, ask if anyone in the family can think of a scripture that could bring peace to someone who is worrying about things. Read that scripture together and allow group discussion on why sometimes worry gets the better of us. Decide as a group three things a person can do to help them if they start worrying rather than doing something about their worry.
End with prayer and a treat, or even just a snuggle on the couch as a group, talking about everyone's day.
These are just a few ideas for FHEs that hopefully will bring the spirit to your home and build camaraderie and friendship. Personally, no-one wants to attend a Family Home Evening where the parents are "ragging" on the kids about all the things they're not doing right. In this kind of setting, would it be surprising if the kids start wanting to be absent from home?
Try to at least have one day a week that is a "safe day", where the focus of the day is support and camaraderie for each other (and where complaints perhaps are written done for another day, but not verbally spoken). The perfect time for a "safe day" is during that potentially delightful family time we call 'FHE'.
As a mother, if I remember that kids will remember time together by emotional content -- NOT by what was actually done -- I create better moments for us all.
The world rages around us, offering our kids much that is filthy and destructive. We need to make our homes havens and refuges from the storm seeking to tear us apart. Family Home Evening can be an easy way to do it. It needn't be overly complicated, just simply supportive. And when we seek to turn "Family Home Evening" into "Family FUN Evening," these moments of support and love can last through the eternities.
Look for C.S. Bezas' next book, "Family FUN Evening," due out Fall 2008. And C.S. Bezas' current book, "POWERFUL TIPS FOR POWERFUL TEACHERS: Helping Youth Find Their Spiritual Wings", is now in bookstores (including Deseret Book) and online. Perfect for parents and youth leaders, order it today and watch change begin.