Thursday, April 17, 2008


We had a big night, a huge night, a night for the record books this last Monday...

Our first official Family Home Evening!

To any of my non-LDS (Mormon) readers, Family Home Evening is a night LDS families set aside to spend time with the family. It is sort of a generalized rule that Monday night is "family night" so other LDS people know not to bother each other with phone calls or visits after 6:00pm, because we all should be spending a little set aside quality time with our families. I realize people of the LDS faith do not have a monopoly on family time, and many other people probably set aside time each week for their families too...ours is just a little more specific:

Monday nights
Usually after dinner
Begins with a prayer
Introduces a gospel related topic
Should include some sort of fun game or whatnot
ALWAYS has treats
Ends with prayer

Growing up in my childhood household, Family Home Evening sometimes went something more like this:

Monday night
Usually after dinner
Begins with a prayer
Fold laundry
Fold laundry
Fold laundry
Eat treats
End with prayer

In a family of 10, you have to learn to multi-task. The gospel related topic we always gleaned from this quality time spent sitting and sulking over the Mount Everest piles of laundry usually related to the Ten Commandments (more specifically, Honor thy Father and thy Mother and finish folding the laundry so you don't end up being sentenced to finishing the entire load yourself for complaining, then come get a treat). It was great.

Wanting to begin this tradition early, I announced to Tyler last Monday night that we would be having our first Family Home Evening ever with our two little ones. Hooray!
In Mormondom...there are a plethora of cute little lessons and pictures and objects available to teach little children concepts of God. I had been slowly collecting many lessons and little objects, had constructed a little felt board to attach these little objects and pictures to, and felt anxious to begin. I had also baked Banana chocolate chip bread from our old mushy bananas and was feeling not only creative but resourceful for not throwing away our gross bananas in a world of increasing eco-friendly/ recycling behavior. I could teach Lily about Jesus, and the importance of not wasting food in a world where some poor person in rural Tanzania would kill for a rotten banana.

Pause. I know what many of your are thinking. Who is this woman? What era is she living in? Little family lessons about Jesus- i.e. indoctrinating your child from the age of 2? Homemade Banana bread?

First off, I've been baking various sorts of quick breads since I was around 11. I make no apologies. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm ridiculously inclined to baking in frilly aprons. Secondly, I absolutely indoctrinate my child from an early age. So do you, anytime you teach a child not to hit, that dishonesty is wrong, or vegetables are good for them. You are appealing to a higher authority you believe to be true. It may be humanity, it may be our herd instinct, it may be the American Heart Association. In my case, as an's obviously Christ and His teachings. Lily can think and choose and accept/reject these teachings for herself when she is old enough. In the meantime, she'll learn about Jesus. And by golly, she'll probably like it AND get treats.

Anyhoo, our night went like this:

"Heavee faaa (Heavenly Father), Mommy, Daddy, Pop, Ga-Maa, Nonna, Lundeen, Issa (Larissa), Maaaaiii (Mallory), Dani (Daniel), Peanut (Daniel and Ali's dog peanut), AMEN
(prayer of goodwill and blessings delivered by Lily, usually consisting of general family members names that randomly come to her. No inclusions or exclusions apply. If you are a member of the family, you will eventually be mentioned, if not this night, maybe another. Try giving her candy next time you see her to make a more lasting impression. Give candy to her mother and your chances doubly increase with a friendly reminder during prayer.)


Rachel: "Lily, do you see this picture of Jesus? (Lily puts picture on cute homemade felt board) Do you see his Mommy and Daddy? (Lily puts a picture on board of Jesus/Mary/Joseph)
Do you see this picture of Lily? (Lily holds picture of Lily)
And her Mommy and Daddy? (Lily holds family picture)
Jesus had a Mommy and Daddy, and so do you and London. Jesus' Mommy and Daddy loved him very much, and your Mommy and Daddy love you too. Jesus had a family, and so do you! And we all love each other. That is a family. We are a family."
The end!

Tyler: "That's it? That's the whole lesson?"

Rachel (peevishly disgruntled by question): "Uhh...yeaaah!!

Tyler: "It's just really short. Isn't there more?"

Rachel: "Sure! Why don't we get into the Sermon on the Mount and the Crucifixion, then we can precede to helping her finish her Organic Chemistry homework before bed."

Tyler: "I just thought it would be longer."

Lily: "Colaaa Collaaa (Color, Color)"

We then colored pictures of our family (Mommy, Daddy, Lily, and London) and put them on cute (did I mention homemade?) felt board.

Then we had treats. Banana (did I mention homemade?) bread.

Ended with prayer, shorter this time: "Daddy, London, Mommy, Ga-Maa, Saya, AMEN."

Not bad for our first Family Home Evening, eh?


Joan Koplin said...

Hip Hip Hooray! Don't you just love it!? I mean, this is totally the time to savor family home evening...b/c our kids actually enjoy it! Jimmie gets so excited and says the cutest things. During Easter time we were talking about Jesus and how he died on the cross and then resurrected. When we showed him the picture of Jesus on the cross he said, "Oh, poor Jesus!" With each family home evening you'll notice that Lily will talk more about spiritual things. A child's perspective is so pure and refreshing, I think.
Oh, I totally laughed when Tyler was like, "that's it??" haha...
Yes, dear Tyler that is it when it comes to the attention span of a two year old and new born.
This part cracked me up! "Try giving her candy next time you see her to make a more lasting impression. Give candy to her mother and your chances doubly increase with a friendly reminder during prayer." You have a gift, are SO funny. I love reading your posts, you clever, quick witted, sexy mom of two you!

Joan Koplin said...

ps...did I tell you how good you made me feel when you commented on my post about losing my baby weight? You are a gem.