Monday, February 26, 2018

Friendship FHE

Some nights for FHE, I literally do not have a plan.  I usually have some doctrine I want to teach, but not always a plan.

And that is why this week's FHE started with a lipsync battle to songs about friendship...because it was what came to me in the moment.

In particular, we watched and laughed at and sang along to the following music videos that I found on the spot: TLC's "What About Your Friends", James Taylor "You've Got a Friend", "You've Got a Friend in Me" from Toy Story, and by special request "He's My Friend to the Bitter End" from the musical/movie "The Unsinkable Molly Brown".  

We have a projector on our phones so projecting the videos on the wall made FHE larger than life tonight and caused things to get real crazy, real fast.  

After each video, we called out what we learned about friendship in each song...We learned that friends are loyal, friends like you even if you're not the smartest, richest, coolest, etc.  Friends don't talk about you behind your back.  Friends defend you.  Friends are there for you, etc.

Last week, we talked about Language as taught in For the Strength of Youth, so my thought was to continue to teach out of that manual using the section on Friends.

Like last week, I projected the section in FTSOY that teaches about Friends and we took turns reading what it said.

Here are some main points we focused on:

1.  Choose friends who share your values so you can encourage each other to live high standards. (This goes for friends of all faiths.)

2. To have a good friend, be a good friend.  What does it mean to be a good friend?

3.  Treat others with kindness and make a special effort to include those who are shy, feel left out, or have special needs.

4.  Don't lower your standards to fit in with or gain a friend.

We talked about the difference between an acquaintance/friend and a close friend and why we need good friends in life.  

Steve and I shared stories of friends in our lives who have had a good influence on us and why and we gave examples of what a true friend might do in different situations.  The kids also shared examples from their own lives and Scarlett gave us a report about her experience last week when she encouraged her friend not to use bad language.

We talked about how to make friends and include others and encouraged our children to work hard to make good friends.  This is especially important for us as we left all of our friends behind when we moved last year and my older kids are getting ready to move on to our very large middle school starting next year and need good friends now more than ever.

We rounded the discussion out by mentioning how our siblings are some of our very best friends and that parents and children and siblings can all become each others best friends too if we treat each other with love and respect and kindness.

With adolescence knocking at our door, many of my Mommy-friends and I find ourselves reading every book we can get our hands on to help us navigate this new rhelm of parenting.

So far, I've found For the Strength of Youth to be one of the most useful tools for helping us all in this area.  And I'm grateful for it.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Using Good Language FHE

We're having a pretty awesome day over here...It's 70 degrees, so my kids have had a great morning outside. Here is Val having the time of his life playing in the mud in the empty lot next to our house.  That lot won't be empty much longer as it recently sold.

I thought I'd give a quick update on some things I'm doing and thinking about.

Last night for Family Home Evening, we talked about language and reviewed what For the Strength of Youth says about it.  Believe it or not, I accidentally said a swear word in front of my children yesterday. It was totally unintentional.  I like to rhyme words together when I'm being silly with them, and I accidentally rhymed out a bad word.  Whoops!  My kids thought it was hilarious and thought it also gave them license to repeat what I said to others.  

I know they hear lots of bad words at school or in media despite our best efforts to avoid it, so FHE seemed like a good time to review where we stand on all of that.

We read through FTSOY and talked about its recommendations on bad language and gossip.  Then took questions from them.  Scarlett told me, "But, Mom, it's so HARD, because almost everyone around me swears or uses crude language."  I told Scarlett that NOT saying anything to her friends would make it harder for her in the long run, because she would always feel conflicted and might feel tempted to use the language that she hears, whereas if she gently lets her friends know how she feels about the language they're using and asks them to try and do better, they might just respect her for it, they might even change.  And the earlier she sets that standard for herself and those whose company she keeps, the easier it will be moving forward.

We role-played how she might go about doing that.  I pretended to be Scarlett talking to her friends, and tried to mimic her bubbly personality.  I said, "Friend, I love you so much and I love being around you.  You're so beautiful. I only ever want to hear beautiful things come out of your mouth!"  Now, complimenting others is something Scarlett does freely and often, so this would be a pretty natural and kind/encouraging way for Scarlett to get her point across.

Guy asked, "But how would I do it?  I can't say stuff like that to my friends."  We worked on a few ways, Guy might briefly get his point across to his buddies...something like, "Hey, it's me here, Guy!  You don't have to talk like that with me," etc.

It seemed like a helpful evening together talking about things that are probably real-life issues for them as they progress into tween-hood.  I'm looking forward to hearing what becomes of it and if they find the courage to mention their language standard to their friends.  I assured them that even if they just told one friend, usually that person will spread the word so that they usually don't have to.  Scarlett said, "I'll tell Cassidy!"  I love that she could think of someone right away who would be understanding of her desire to raise the standard of language she and others use.

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Friday, February 16, 2018

To Follow a Prompting

Around the beginning of this year, I kept having this nagging feeling that I needed to get off of social media, which was sort of sad for me, because I enjoy connecting with friends and former co-workers through Facebook, and I also enjoy sharing about our faith and family online and I receive a lot of positive feedback about the things that I share.

Yes, that feeling kept coming back to me time and again.  I needed to let it go.

So this week, I finally took the plunge.  I removed the Facebook app off of my phone.  And contrary to what I thought would happen, it was really quite enjoyable: not being interrupted every few minutes by notifications, not scrolling mindlessly through mildly funny or mildly questionable material of little importance to my day, not thinking so many thoughts that weren't mine, and not filling my head with details not pertinent to caring for my family.

I was nervous to do it because as the Mom of six children, I am the communication hub of the family.  I need to know when school is closed or delayed due to weather. I need to communicate with other Moms about rides or playdates or things happening at school, and having recently relocated, we we are all still developing new friendships, etc.

Eventhough it did scare me a little, I took the leap of faith in following this prompting, and what resulted was more peace in my life this week, more time to look into my children's eyes and hold them and talk to them and play with them and care for them and consider their needs, and make memories with them, more conversations with my husband and time for personal and couples study.

I don't know where this is leading, but I do know that God knows my personal goals for this year. And I believe this is His answer and His way of helping guide me down a path where I can actually find time to realize those righteous desires.  

It is comforting to know that there is a Father in Heaven watching out for me and for you and for all busy parents out there trying to decide how to best live their lives.

Have you taken a leap of faith to follow a prompting recently? I'd love to hear about your experience!
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Monday, February 12, 2018

Sick FHE

Oh, man, there's been sickness at our house...five kids on amoxicillin for the last week.  That's a lot of bottles of medicines and doses to keep fever reducer and sore throat and cough medicines.  Three strep throats, 2 ear with ear infections, and a sick hubby.  Call me Nurse Jocelyn!

There have been two upsides to our illnesses: 1. no one threw up and 2. we were able to spend lots of time together at home this last week just hanging out and watching movies.  I would add a third upside to sickness and that is that we ended up buying three fish as pets, however, two of three fish have already gone to the great watery beyond. This is proof to me that we are not ready for a dog, but then again the fish weren't that healthy to begin with and fish are easy to accidentally kill.  Poor fish.  At least they died at our house and not in a tank at Walmart.  I have to think that was more pleasurable for them?  I know that my kids enjoyed them!

Here's a shot of our short-lived pets.  Aren't they cute?  The kids are eager to have another go at it, but once you've had fish floating at the top of the tank in your kitchen next to where you prepare food, you're less inclined to see fish the same ever again. Ack!

Honor was pretty thrilled when I let her pick out the fish at Walmart.  She was so surprised.  It was fun to treat her to a totally unexpected treat.  I especially enjoy doing that when my children are sick.  Ok, maybe I will let them try again...just not until Spring and better weather for transporting them.  And not until I figure out what I did wrong to kill those poor fish!

Honor and Steve did manage to get well enough to steal away for the evening to attend a Valentine's Day Ball at her preschool on Friday evening.  She was glowing!

The rest of the weekend, they basically all looked like this...sitting on the couch, watching Psych or other rented movies.

Honor was wiped out from the Valentine's Day Ball.

And thankfully, Baby Coy and I never got sick.

So, the past week was basically one long FHE and tonight for the real FHE, Honor was spiking another fever and I was out of medicine for that, so I had to send Steve to the store while I cared for and bathed the other sick children.

Sometimes, FHE has to be just taking care of one another!  Don't worry, I got taken care of neighbor drove by today and had her kids run a bag of "emergency" chocolate to me!  So I'm good...Have a great week!

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Keeping Things Simple #FHE

In most seasons of life it's best to keep things simple, and right now, that's what I'm doing when it comes to planning Family Home Evening.

Since we like to write letters in our family, and because we had a nice time doing that for the first FHE of this year, I decided we'd just go ahead and plan to write letters for the first FHE of every month.  And just like that I've magically planned 1/4 of my FHEs for 2018, hah!

To simplify even further (and because my stationery stash has become very messy and miss-matched), I decided to go through my stationery and get things all ready for this evening, so that when we do sit down, most of our time will be spent actually writing letters.

I've got stamps, stickers, my address book, and a small pile of cards to write in...and I've got pens I just purchased today too, so as soon as I get dinner going, it should be a pretty easy evening for our family.

Although, I generally try not to have any activities on Monday nights, we did have two doctor's appointments scheduled this evening for yearly check-ups, but I managed to get those switched to this morning and now our evening is free for Monday-night togetherness...or just dealing with whatever craziness the kids walk in the door talking about after school!

IS there something that your family really likes to do together that you could insert into your family home evening planning on a regular basis?  I'd love to hear what it is in the comments!!  Happy Monday!

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