General Conference really has transformed our family. Last night, I wasn't sure what to do for FHE, so we did a GC review. It took me all of five minutes to prepare, and we all generally enjoyed it. Which, come to think of it, we do these types of mini-reviews all. the. time, so it's nothing out of the ordinary.
That's the thing about studying General Conference as a family regularly, you don't really have to wonder what to do for family home evening. It's all right there for you!
And there are other blessings. Let me name a few...
Ten Blessings of Studying General Conference as a Family:
1. You never need to wonder what to do for FHE: Don't get me wrong, I think about what we're going to learn/do...a lot. I'm always brainstorming, but I know exactly where to go for lessons, and I find the best, purest doctrine from which to teach my kids! And it directly relates to our lives, even before I know that it does.
2. Your children laugh knowingly whenever someone quotes a Gen Conf talk in church: I'm pretty sure that this is pretty rare. I remember one of the first times that my kids' ear perked up in church. We had just learned about President Uchtdorf's talk on gratitude by drinking from the bottle of bitterness, when the High Council speaker started quoting that talk. Most of the congregation seemed to be asleep...or, uh, deep in meditation, but my kids' faces lit up at the mention of the "bottle of bitterness" and the "goblet of gratitude". They were all shaking each other on the back and mouthing the words, "he just said...." and then finishing his quote. Thumbs up all around! I'm sure that HC speaker rarely got such an excited reaction to his talk!
3. You and your children will know the WHY of the gospel. I have seen my children's testimonies grow exponentially, and when I've asked them a question unrelated to Conference, they often fall back on GC teachings when giving me their reasoning for why we might make certain choices. One thing I've noticed most in kids who fall away or struggle with their faith in young adulthood, is that they never really grasped the "why" of the gospel. The "why" doesn't always come easily...it takes spiritual work to understand sometimes. Studying the words of living prophets is a big part of that spiritual work.
4. You will feel like you're a part of something big when you watch General Conference. Since we don't just study, but we memorize the words of living prophets, when GC rolls around, we are totally stoked. If the speaker refers to a previous teaching or if one of our memorized scriptures is quoted, we get pretty celebratory. There is a sense of accomplishment for children who "know what the grown-ups are talking about." Last year, we got to meet a visit General Authority. This was one of the highlights of our year, because my children recognized him from General Conference. Even though, we live in a remote area, with one of the smallest and most wide-spread stakes in North and South America, we feel connected to saints everywhere when we learn the teachings of Conference.
5. Your children will come to love the apostles personally and want to follow them. What can I say, my kids have their "favorite" apostles. Even the youngest ones can remember that President Monson's favorite color is yellow! Who needs a sports hero, when you can have a fighter pilot, an artist, a baseball star and other "heroes" who also happen to be great men of God, chosen to lead His true church on earth in the last days!
6. When you bump into the daily problems of life, you'll already have answers, or you'll know just where to look. Studying General Conference has helped us many times by preparing us to make future choices. One scenario happened when we needed to make a rule change in our media usage. We were worried about how my son would take it, but weeks previously, we had studied Elder Cook's talk "Beware of Bondage." When we reviewed the principles he taught, my son saw that our logic was good and based on sound doctrine, so he took the rule change in a very mature way. (See my article Taming the Media for more on that.)
7. Your children will know how to prepare lessons, talks, and how to testify to others of the truth. My daughter can bear a mean testimony straight from the heart that will just floor you. She's 7. And all my children can teach a GC Lesson, with little help from me. Lots of adults struggle to do this, but my kids know how to boil down to 1-2 key points and teach them clearly. Last Sunday, my son turned to me in Sacrament meeting and showed me a slip of paper he had received last week saying he needed to give a talk in Primary. I told him he had to do it (although he hoped to get out of it!), because it was his responsibility. Even though he hadn't technically prepared, he had everything he needed to write the talk about how "God speaks through His prophets." The testimony and scriptural knowledge was already there. He had been preparing all along. He wrote it and gave it. He's 9. These are the blessings we want for our families!
8. When your kids start teaching the lessons, they start doing amazing things that you never knew they could do. Like when Scarlett decided to come to FHE dressed as her 97-year old self and delivered a priceless speech to her future grandchildren...That was priceless!
9. Happiness. Memories. Funny things. Crying. Goofiness. Hard work. Frustration. Teaching these things is nothing short of hard, constant work. But along the way there is happiness and silliness and contentedness that you cant really get any other way.
10. The Spirit will reside in your home...times a million. If there is one blessings that has permeated out lives most as we've studied General Conference together consistently, it is that the Spirit has become a permanent fixture in our home. Yes, regular things happen that are bummers, that are frustrating, and hard. Messes continue, chores still are a battle, but those day to day things don't bring us down. There is peace and understanding and cooperation between parents and children. This Spirit is the biggest blessing of studying General Conference together as a family.
This has long been one of my favorite scriptures:
"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."
I absolutely know this passage to be true! And my hope is that all families will experience this peace. That is why I share all of our adventures in General Conference Lessons on my
General Conference Lesson page. If you have any questions about how we do what we do, let me know, I'm happy to help.