Shortly after two hour church and the Come Follow Me curriculum were officially announced in General Conference I was perusing Facebook and saw that an old friend from Elementary school had asked in a Latter-day Saint mom group how people thought they might implement it in their home in the new year. A lot of moms were excitedly sharing their different ideas, and then I saw one person comment, “Honestly, I probably won’t.”
It broke my heart, had she not just heard all of the blessings promised? Pres. Nelson said it would “unleash the power of the family.” I don’t know about you, but every time I hear that I just picture us dressed up like the Incredibles. But she indicated that she wasn’t even going to try.
That comment has stuck with me, and was a big part of why I started sharing my Family Home Evening ideas on my blog. I realize that life is overwhelming and this could feel like adding one more thing to your plate, so my hope is that by sharing ideas and compiling a list of materials, those that feel overwhelmed can at least have a springboard. We’re not perfect at it by any means, we missed a week while traveling, and I’m sure we’ll miss weeks here and there in the future. But, we’re trying and that’s a big part of it.
I’ve also seen a lot of questions about “the right way” to do it. Is your Sunday lesson supposed to kick off the new week or wrap up the last week? Should Family Home Evening be separate? Do you read personally or as a family? How do I get through these scriptures with kids when they have no attention span? How do I fit in Book of Mormon as well?
The answer is- there’s no RIGHT way to do this. The only wrong way is to do nothing. The introductory materials in the Come Follow Me for Individuals and Families manual says, “Use this resource in any way that is helpful to you.” ANY WAY! In his talk introducing these adjustments, Elder Quentin L. Cook said, “there is flexibility for each individual and family to determine prayerfully how and when it will be implemented.”
So really what it comes down to, is they don’t want to command us on exactly how to use it. They recognize that each family works differently and they don’t want to give a structure that’s not going to work for everyone. We need to use our agency, seek personal revelation, and do many things of our own free will (D&C 58:26-27).
That being said, it can be helpful to hear about others experiences as we figure things our for ourselves. So here’s how we are implementing this in our home, for now. I’m sure we will make adjustments as needed in the future.
We do our Family Home Evening after church on Sunday wrapping up the current week. We don’t have a set time of day on Sunday because I frequently have to stay after church for my calling. We also regularly go to visit my parents or my in-laws on Sunday. Those weeks I just bring my FHE stuff with me and we do it with them.
This last week we had a beautiful experience as we had a combined Family Home Evening with my parents, my younger brother who attends an Episcopal church, my Grandma who is not long for this world*, and my aunt who was visiting from out of state. Talk about unleashing the power of the family!!!
Throughout the week we read the assigned set of scriptures with the kids at bed time from the New Testament Stories book published by the church. And by read, I mean they typically watch them on my phone. It’s also typically a fight to get them to hold still, but regularly my son surprises me by talking about something we read in the scriptures later in the week. The stories don’t always align in the same order as the lessons. I realized this week that me missed some that went with a previous week, so we’ll just be catching up and then I will look through a little better in the future. On the weeks when we have more days than stories we either re-watch or supplement with related stories from the Book of Mormon, or just let them pick a story they want to watch.
My husband and I read the assigned chapters together which typically takes a few nights, and then we read through the study material together and discuss the questions.
Something that is not happening yet- here’s where I could use your help. I really want to use my study journal and go through the study material by myself as well. My initial plan was to do this on Sunday afternoons, but like I said, I regularly stay after church for my calling and then we frequently go to see family for dinner. Also my children don’t like to give me long stretches of uninterrupted time to study. So Sundays haven’t been working out like I had hoped. And I haven’t seen or taken the opportunity to fit it in on a different day. So, if you are doing this, help me out! Leave me a comment with how you fit this in to your week between kid nurturing, cleaning, cooking, exercising, ministering, flossing, breathing….
*Update- My Grandma passed away just a few days after posting this, a week and a half after that Family Home Evening. That was actually the last time we saw her alive. What a beautiful closing memory to have been learning together from the scriptures with 4 generations present.