Tuesday, February 21, 2012

20 Minutes, Every Monday, to a Better Life

Have you guys ever read my post 20 Minutes, Every Monday, to a Better Life?

Well, you should.  It explains my whole philosophy on FHE in a nutshell.

Speaking of nuts...This is what we ate for dinner last night: Thai Peanut Noodle Salad.

It pretty much ruled.  Can't have FHE on an empty stomach, now can we!

Now there is one thing that I didn't get a chance to explain in the aforementioned post.

And that is one core principle that I try to stick to:  Don't cheat yourself of the valuable experience of planning your own lessons for your kids.  I love that there are ideas galore online to help inspire us, however, when it comes right down to it, I have learned and grown exponentially in the last few years because of the process of preparing myself to teach my children.  The actual act of reading, praying, seeking the spirit, and then testifying, answering their questions, and completing the task is what has helped me to grow.

Don't get me wrong, I get plenty of ideas from others, but I take a craft or lesson suggestions and I say, "How does this apply to my family?  What will make this come alive for my kids?  How can I use a simple recipe or craft to teach a lesson that WE need to learn?"

I think that this is most certainly the example that the Savior set for us as he took everyday scenarios and applied them to the people he was teaching.

Now last night was a pretty special night.  I had the rare opportunity to see what my life would be like had I had children at the rate I had wanted to.  We had five kids, ages 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3 in our house for FHE last night.  

It was loud.  It was rambunctious.  It lasted more than 20 minutes.  

It was a bit of a challenge for me to plan the lesson, because I had never even met the kids before, but let me tell you these were some of the sweetest boys I have ever had the privilege to interact with.  (Oh yeah, and I got a taste of what it'd be like if boys ruled the roost around here!)

Since I wasn't sure what type of gospel knowledge the kids had to start with, we reviewed what prophets have taught us using images from an FHE manual that someone had passed on to me.  Things like "respect your parents, Learn to work at home and do a good job, plant a garden, smile and be kind."  These pictures were hidden around the room and the kids had to find them and read and discuss them all together.

One of the admonitions from a prophet was to "be a friend to the friendless" and to "choose good friends."  Tonight, we had a chance to do just that.  And I was reminded that sometimes FHE isn't so much about the lesson, and sometimes FHE isn't just about your family...but about serving others by sharing your blessings of family with them.

Remember to check out Catania's FHE post today!


  1. Ah, the joys of a homogenous age group. We struggle in our home as we prepare for FHE because our five children range from 9 to 24. I have learned that it takes more planning, and agree that customizing for your own FHE lesson and activity is the way to go. I also think maybe we need to break out the waffle cones earlier.

  2. I used to want kids that close together, until the first and I realized some women who have picture perfect pregnancy and I am apparently not one of them. I love family home evening especially now that my son is old enough to know what is going on and participate. Service really is what it is all about. I believe we are here to do as Christ did, that's what we agreed too when we were baptized. And truly there is a peace that comes from service.

  3. what a challenging experience...you could be primary president too...lol!

  4. AMEN! I think all the bazillions of FHE ideas out there are nice, but too often we're grabbing those ideas instead of doing some actual work and thinking and praying ourselves. Our families will not get the message THEY need unless we are in tune and fitting the lesson to our own particular group. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Looks like a cool crew! And I agree with the importance of using inspiration to customize your FHE lessons.


  6. You are brave! We had 2 extra kids at church on Sunday, so the kids were ages 5, 3, 2, and 6 months. I have never been so thankful for Primary :)

    I love what you said about learning to teach our children in our own way -- using personal revelation to help our families is SO important and something I need to work on more. I've been reading over that Lionesses at the Door talk that you shared a bit ago and I LOVE it. So much good stuff from so many good people in just a few short pages.  Once again, thanks for sharing :)

  7. I totally agree about tailoring FHE to your own family's needs. I posted FHE lessons for a year and then stopped because I realized others were starting to rely on those lesson rather than develop their own for their families.

    I had to laugh about your reference to having so many kids for FHE. I substituted in Primary two weeks ago. There were eight 4 & 5 year olds in the class. I also had baby G with me. It was pretty wild at times and I thought, "Holy Smokes, this is a lot of kids!" Then it dawned on me, "Duh, I have nine kids! It's a good thing they come one at a time and not all at once!" It was crazy.

  8. These kids will be joining us for church on Sunday too so we'll see how it goes!! :)

  9. Loved reading all of the posts. (This one and the ones linked within.) Inspirational and helpful! Thanks for being awesome. :) We used the Friend cutouts of Nephi building the boat last night to involve my 3 yr old as we talked about Nephi being brave and full of faith and then colored a picture of Nephi & the boat from the Friend before dessert. And I felt like it was a great FHE instead of worrying about all the other things I should have added or done instead. :) 

  10. Excellent job!!  Sounds perfect!  :)

  11. Having family home evening with guests is a lot of fun. It's a great way to share what we know with others and learn from them as well. The salad looked delicious and we would love to know how you now feel about the rate and which you wanted to have children...lol!

  12. I think that's the most important part of FHE, making sure it's what YOUR family needs.  I love being inspired by others ideas, and then listening to the Spirit guide me to how to make it best for our family.  Looks like you had a good time!  :)

  13. you always do a great job with FHE.

  14. I love this!  As much as I like gleaning ideas on FHE from the interent/church magazines/etc, it boils down to following the Spirit.  When we are doing what our family actually needs rather than trying to live up to some self-imposed "expectation", we will have success.

    And I love your post about simple 20-minute lessons.  It makes me think of two gospel principles: by small and simple things are great things brought to pass AND we learn line upon line, precept upon precept.

    Anyways - thanks for giving us insight on what you all do for FHE.  

  15. I adore your blog.  Lets just get that out of the way.  Second, you are SO right about doing your own family home evenings.  I can honestly say I have felt the spirit MORE preparing fhe's than doing almost anything else.  Its a beautiful thing to feel Heavenly Father's guidance as you strive to teach your family.  It has helped me learn to recognize and then act on promptings and I am SO grateful for the small ways Heavenly Father reminds me he loves me, my husband and our children.  thank you for inspiring me!!

  16. I meant to comment on this when it posted - I love FHE. Our kids are really young, and so if we get 20 minutes, that's fantastic! We recently made a non-traditional FHE chart which I am going to post about some day. My favorite part about FHE as a kid was being able to prepare a lesson as a kid and "teach" my family. Learning together is the best.