When you joined the church, your entire calendar may have changed. You added Sunday meetings and activities, perhaps some weeknight activities, Family Home Evening, family prayer and scripture study, and other church-related activities.
For a family that has faced chaos or heartache, this schedule can prove to be soothing. Stability brings a sense of security and peacefulness, and one way to achieve stability is to have a routine. Children, in particular, love routines. It makes them feel safe to know what to expect, and the more chaotic or frightening their lives might be, the more this routine helps them to feel secure.
Begin each morning with a prayer, and perhaps a short devotional. The devotional can consist of a scripture, a brief discussion of the scripture, and perhaps a quote from a church leader on the same subject, and then, over breakfast, talk about how to use what you learned that morning in the day to come. Repeat the process in the evening.
Monday nights are for family home evening. Plan a set time to have it each evening. Then set aside one other evening to prepare for it. This gives you one additional evening devoted to something that will happen each week, and keep the family focused on eternal principles.
While you may not choose to spend every evening in church work, you can fill them with activities that allow you to spend peaceful, planned time together as a family. Using the thirteenth Article of Faith as your guide, work together during Family Home Evening one week to make a list of fun and appropriate things to do together. The thirteenth article of faith says, “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” This can help your family decide what is worthy of your valuable family time.
In addition to using gospel principles in your home, the church has programs that can help your family. Check LDS.org’s Home and Family section to learn about the many programs offered and to receive advice and resources to use in your home. You’ll find especially helpful the online course, Building a Strong Family, found in this section. Here you can find out how to share sorrow, reclaim a wayward child, and strengthening marriage. Your ward may have marriage or parenting classes available if you’d like to study in a classroom setting.
Whatever your family might be facing, your new church has the tools to help you come through them safely.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.