For today's installment of our General Conference Review Lessons, I am happy to introduce you to Malina and her beautiful family.
Malina has agreed to share her experience teaching the lessons of General Conference in a recent FHE. Here's Malina:
Watching General Conference this year, I felt impressed that I needed to do a better job of helping my kids learn about the current apostles and the importance of the messages shared at General Conference. Inspired by Jocelyn and ideas in the Ensign, I discussed with my husband making our Family Home Evenings centered around a general conference message each week. He agreed it was a good idea to try so after our first week traditional General Conference Jeopardy game, the next week I worked on choosing a talk and planning a lesson about it. I also printed off the short mastery quotes from each talk shared by Stephanie at Diapers and Divinity to help me. I knew I wanted to include some sort of craft or object lesson for my kids if I could - similar to ones Jocelyn has shared previously. I wasn’t sure how it would work every week since we rotate who presents the lesson so I also felt like I had to set a good example with this first lesson.
Monday evenings in the fall are tricky for us because sometimes my older boys have soccer or football games or practices happening as well. We have some flexibility as homeschoolers since they don’t have to catch a bus in the early morning but I still like to get kids to bed at a reasonable time. So Monday afternoon (yes I procrastinated) as I thought of a lesson to share based on the talk I chose I tried to seek guidance from the Spirit and plan a simple lesson to help my kids learn about it. I also prayed that we would be able to have FHE at a reasonable time before the younger ones were too tired!
I chose President Boyd K Packer’s talk “The Key to Spiritual Protection”. I felt like it would be a good message to share with my kids as I try to encourage the older ones to establish their own personal scripture study habits. I printed out the talk and highlighted things that stood out to me. I studied it and pondered what messages I wanted to share with my family. I came up with the idea of making some sort of key reminder for them as a craft and worked to quickly prepare it. Monday evening about 8:30 PM after eating dinner and cleaning up some we were all finally ready for a quick family home evening lesson.
After our song, prayer and scripture (we have a job rotation board for Family Home Evening assignments that my kids love to use) it was time for my lesson. Since it was 8:30 PM my goal was to inspire my kids and help them feel the importance of the message in less than 10 minutes, so we could then make the key bookmarks, give them a quick bowl of ice cream for dessert and still get everyone in bed by about 9pm. I started by telling them about my goal of discussing a general conference talk each week and that I had chosen President Packer’s message about the scriptures this week and sharing the following story:
Next I shared the quote: “The scriptures hold the keys to spiritual protection. They contain the doctrine and laws and ordinances that will bring each child of God to a testimony of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer…They teach us where to go and what to do. They offer hope and knowledge.” I shared my testimony that I believed this to be true and that the scriptures had helped me many times in my life to find answers to prayers and to learn more about Jesus and the gospel. At this point my younger two were quite antsy, so I handed everyone their paper key and asked them to read what it said, repeating the shortened quote a few times with the younger ones.
Then I asked my older boys and husband to read some more short quotes for us to discuss.
We then quickly discussed some topics toward the end of the talk about how the scriptures help us live righteously and repent. On another night, this section might have been expanded in a review discussion with my kids about repentance, but we were short on time and energy so I quickly just shared a few quotes and thoughts including: “The gospel teaches us to be happy, to have faith rather than fear, to find hope and overcome despair, to leave darkness and turn toward the light of the everlasting gospel.”
I read the quote “But peace can be settled in the heart of each who turns to the scriptures and unlocks the promises of protection and redemption that are taught therein.” and pointed out that President Packer ends by repeating the promise that the scriptures hold the key to our spiritual protection. I again shared my testimony about the power of scripture reading in our everyday life in bringing us closer to our Savior. We then moved to the kitchen table to color our keys and glue them onto card stock to be a bookmark. I had them repeat the promise and write President Packer’s name down the key as the author of the quote. We colored! We cut and glued! We ate ice cream! Then we hurried off to bed!
I am not sure if I should have had my younger kids coloring their keys while we shared a few of the great quotes from the article. It might have helped them focus. But I dislike competing with crafts for attention so that did not occur to me while preparing. I felt like it was a successful family home evening overall and that my kids were taking away the one central message about the importance of reading scriptures. I have also posted the quote on my wall in my kitchen, hoping to remind us all about the message shared with us by President Boyd K Packer: “The scriptures hold the keys to spiritual protection.”
I hope this discussion of how one family home evening happened in my house helps you! I believe it is worth it to make time for Family Home Evening lessons even when life is crazy and busy. It is also worth it to always make time to read the scriptures, even if it is just a little bit. I have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the happiness that it brings into our lives and I am very grateful for the blessings of having a prophet and apostles in this day who provide guidance and direction for our lives through the messages of General Conference.