Family home , our leaders have promoted it as something that will bring families together and effectively teach the gospel to the next generation. President Joseph F. Smith, the sixth president of the Church, began promoting this in 1915.

mormon familiesOne of the most important things to remember about family home evening is that it’s about your family, and it’s about what will work best for your family. According to the family home evening site on www.lds.org, “Family home evening is a special time set aside each week that brings family members together and strengthens their love for each other, helps them draw closer to Heavenly Father, and encourages them to live righteously.”

Those are great goals for any family. And I should mention that all families, regardless of religion, would benefit from such a regular time devoted just to their family, strengthening family bonds, praying together, and helping family members to understand how to live good lives. So if you’re thinking this program isn’t for you because you aren’t a Mormon … think again.

The Church has some suggestions regarding how a family home evening could be run. Often each family member is given a duty for that week’s family home evening, and these tasks are rotated. Duties might include:

  • Conducting the meeting
  • Leading the family in a song
  • Saying an opening prayer
  • Sharing a scripture or other spiritual thought
  • Giving a lesson on a gospel principle
  • Saying the closing prayer
  • Preparing a special treat for the family to enjoy together
  • Planning a fun activity for the family to enjoy together

Larger families might divide some of these duties, or they might add some other ones such as “Family Hugger” or “Talent Spotlight.” Smaller families might combine tasks, or eliminate a few of them. For instance, some families enjoy rotating the task of conducting the meeting, while others prefer a more informal setting and don’t make that a specific task. Families with young children might have parents or older children team up with younger ones. They might also favor lessons with pictures and finger plays, while families without young children might choose simply to study a talk together from general conference, or other scriptural or inspirational reading.

Keep in mind that you should do what’s best for your family. But I think that one of the key principles here is setting aside the time. Family home evening isn’t meant to be something that you get over with in five minutes because you’re busy and you want to do other things. Family home evening means setting aside the time every week and spending it with your family. Can you imagine how strong our families could be if everyone would set aside a few hours once a week to specifically build and strengthen them?

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