One of the most important things you can do for your family is to hold a weekly Family Home Evening. But for many who are new to the church, this might seem an odd event. Just what is Family Home Evening (FHE, for short)?Family Home Evening is an opportunity for the family to gather around once a week to spend time together, build lasting bonds, and learn about Christ. Family Home Evening is as individual as families are.
For some it is a somewhat formal experience. For others- especially those with young children– it is more casual and quick. The important thing is to get together consistently, and share some time together.
The church has suggested that each family set aside Monday night as a dedicated night to spend time together with each other. They have even has asked Wards (congregations) to keep Mondays open for FHE. In our family, my husband travels a lot. So we fit FHE in around his schedule. But it’s wonderful knowing there will always be one night a week that we will all get to be home together.
If you’re interested in having Family Home Evening in your house– no matter what your religious affiliation– here is an outline you could follow as you seek to enjoy this time with your loved ones. In our family we take turns doing each item, so that each member of the family feels included.
1. Opening Song
Oftentimes families will begin their FHE with a hymn, or a Primary song. Hymns are potent tools to bring the spirit of the Lord into the home. In fact, the more you sing hymns with each other, the more the spirit seems to abide within the home. Thus, it’s a great idea to start every FHE with a hymn.
If you’re not that familiar with the hymns (a common situation for many who do not play a musical instrument), you can visit this site: http://www.lds.org/music?lang=eng. This site is great, because not only does it give you the lyrics to the hymns but you can also hear the hymns played and even sung!
2. Opening Prayer
After beginning with a hymn, ask for a volunteer to offer a prayer to invite the Lord’s spirit. The Lord will bless you and help you as you do so.
After the Opening Prayer, now comes the time for a brief lesson. There are many options for this part of FHE; all up to you. Some families assign the lesson (in fact, each of the FHE components) to different family members each week. Others have just the parents teach the lessons, depending on the age of the children.
Some weeks families schedule a service project as the lesson itself. Whatever your approach, remember that the purpose of FHE is for the family to enjoy time together. Make sure to leave any criticizing or frustrations outside of the FHE time together. In this crazy world, children are exposed to brashness and unkindness most places they go. The home needs to be an oasis.
This is a chance for you to get to know your family a little better. We take turns choosing activities that the kids enjoy. And we make sure that each member can participate. So when we choose board games we gear them toward the youngest member of the family. I remember even having an activity that was shooting hoops with my brothers when I was a teenager. Great memories are made from FHE activities.
5. Closing Prayer
Make sure to ask before praying if family members have any concerns they’d like addressed in the prayer. And make sure that each week a different family member has the offer extended to them to pray. Most importantly, though, do not force any member to participate. Just invite. This is the pattern the Lord follows and we want to follow in that pattern!
This can be one of the best parts of FHE. The lesson will strengthen each member in spiritual ways; chatting and “chowing” after FHE can bond family members together even further. Nothing is better than creating crazy banana-boat ice-cream splits or snazzily-iced cookie contests.
Families are meant to be enjoyed. It seems so much in this world seeks to destroy that enjoyment. Family Home Evenings, held every Monday night, can do much to patch and repair the damage that comes to most every family at some point along the way. Best of all, if approached properly, FHE is fun!
About Cindy B