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I remember fondly the family shows I used to watch on tv - My Three Sons, Leave it to Beaver, The Brady Bunch, Family Affair, ect. When you grow up as I did, with an abusive alcoholic in the family, those idealistic situations didn’t seem unrealistic, they seemed like a dream come true, a fantasy.  

It’s probably no surprise that early in my life I found refuge in TV and music.  I was a dancer from age 4 and now possess more useless knowledge about entertainment than any sane woman should. I watched all the shows and dreamed a lot of dreams over my grandmother’s AM radio.  When I was 4, I fell in love with a little boy with a bright smile and sparkling eyes. His name was Donny Osmond and he was 7 and I thought he hung the moon.  When my father would rant into the night, I’d put on big clunky headphones, set the album up to repeat and let his voice sing me to sleep.  When I couldn’t face my own family, I dreamed of being in his.  To this day, I have a love for his family that is still strong.

So, what does this have to do with family home evening, and what exactly is family home evening?  Well, it’s an LDS church practice, but it doesn’t have to be religion specific or even religious. Rather, I think it speaks to a need we as a nation have in abundance which is the need for families to reconnect in a strong way.  The premise of family home evening is simple. One night a week (for LDS it’s Monday), you make no plans of any kind unless they are FHE plans.  That night, the family gathers for a meal and spends the evening together. You can do bible study, pray, play games, talk, put on talent shows, write poetry, whatever you want to do (but no tv/movies) - this is about interaction. It’s about talking to each other, getting to know each other, valuing what each of you bring to the table, to the family as it were.

I first learned about this principle from Donny.  His family has always been very open about their faith and it’s teachings.  I was born and raised Methodist but so was my father and as a child, Donny’s father’s behavior spoke louder to me than my own, so I figured it was worth a listen.  The kids used FHE to entertain their parents and from that, their careers began.  I saw easily how powerful those evenings were, when the parents set aside work and chores and just connected with their children.  I wonder how many of today’s children would feel so abandoned and tossed aside if they had this precious time every week devoted to this principle.

Now, for me, with no kids and no husband, I long thought that this principle didn’t apply to me, but I was wrong.  A church member, also single with no kids suggested that we get together for this event - us three women. I thought odd, but ok, but it started me thinking.  Family is simple the gathering of people who have a connection.  They don’t have to be related.  My roommate and I aren’t related but we are as close and connected as me and my beloved sister.  

We have a family in our ward that often includes the two of us in their Friday night “game night” where we gather, have dinner and play board games.  We always feel like family and our lives are richer for it.  Their kids are all grown, but they have opened their “too large” house up to students from other countries and not only does this provide them extra income, but it means there’s always young people in the house.  They say this keeps them young and their home full of joyful noise.  They treat all these folks as family.

So, those of you with kids, it’s a great way to connect to your children, to encourage creativity and allow them to develop skills that come from planning and executing this small event; but more importantly, it makes them know that they are important enough to you to command this uninterrupted time from you.  

For those of you like me, find other couples or other singles in your life and do this...barbeque if that’s your thing...gather your girlfriends and try out new board games again, laugh, tell stories, have makeup parties.  Whatever you do, you’ll be enriched from the sharing that comes from time spent together.

A short prayer of thanks for your many blessings wouldn’t go amiss either.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Apr 24, 2009
    • I think this a great idea. Thx for sharinghappy

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mjmurphy wrote Apr 25, 2009
    • Thank you for this post, it is a wonderful idea. I think I will talk to my daughter about this and see if we can set up a family night. I could enjoy time with her and my grandchildren when that is the point of the evening. It would be less stressful then when I see them now, for lunch or other specific engagement...with the kids out of their element or vying for attention it can quickly become upsetting for everyone rather than enjoyable.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Off Center wrote Apr 27, 2009
    • Thanks Vicki!

      MJ, I think that would be amazing.  This idea works really well in your case, I think. Often times the whole “vying for attention” is really creativity that screams to be recognized and appreciated and no place to come out, so it’s “acted out“.  I hope it works for you.

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