Last Monday I was reading my friend Lisa's blog. She doesn't know I'm borrowing this but thank you in advance Lisa! I was trying to come up with something for Family Home Evening that night as we've been hitting it pretty hard lately. There is something about the impressionable, innocent ages our kids are in right now, that is making regular FHE really enjoyable, meaningful and important.
We've been using the things in Ethan's Webelos book as well as the Faith in God book that Ethan and Brynlee are currently working through to guide some of our discussions recently as we've been trying to pass off requirements for each of them. It's let us to good discussions on Faith, goal making like I posted here, and being thankful like here.
This particular day I was trying to get an idea of what to come up with when I read this off her blog. It was something that a speaker she had recently heard had said:
"The topic was Family Home Evening and teaching your children. The lady was talking about a friend who recently lost her husband and was left behind with 5 young children. She was speaking to the mother of the young mom who lost her husband. Her mother said, "I never knew I was raising a child to have to go through something like this." It was a great thought about prayerfully asking what we should teach our children during FHE and at all times, because we don't know what we are raising them to face. What will their trials be? Are we as parents, preparing them to battle and face the adversity that will come into their lives? "
It made me really think about what our own kids are going to be facing in life and as I contemplated the lesson that evening and said a small prayer, I had the feeling that we really needed to talk about Self Worth that night. I'm not sure I'll ever know why or if there was a specific reason for that impression, but at least I had direction for the lesson that night.
That evening we sung "I Am a Child of God" from the Children's Song Book and started a great discussion with the kids on being children of our Heavenly Father. We also talked about how all five of them were born to Ammon and I, the same two parents, and although they have a lot in common, there are several things that set them each apart and make them unique from each other.
We then handed them a blank piece of computer paper, laid a stack of magazines (The Friend, Ensign, Legos, Pottery Barn Kids, etc) in a stack in the middle of the room, got out some glue sticks and scissors, and told them that in ten minutes we wanted them to come up with a collage of things that represented them and made them special. We wanted the kids to recognize that they are important and valued in our family and that they each have special hobbies and talents that make them who they are. There were no other guidelines or directions or a talk on what they should have. We wanted this to be completely on their own.
They were delighted to complete this assignment...seriously...any hands on FHE activity that we come up with goes over really well with our kids. They seem to get so much more out of the lessons. It took a lot more time then I had planned, like twenty minutes, to complete but it was worth it and in the end, I could tell that each person had really put their heart into it.
Here are the collages everyone came up with:
Ammon- I love how he strategically put Christ in the center of his picture. He told us he had done that intentionally as the gospel is central in his life. The rose he told us represented me, and you can see all the other important factors in his life....sports, being a doctor, the temple, family, the Book of Mormon and the story of where he got his name from.
Kirsten- Mine represented all the things I love....the gospel, Ammon, family, creating, the outdoors, beauty, travel, organization, the gift of time, photography and chocolate!
Ethan: Ethan had also placed Christ in the center of his picture. I loved that this was something he had done all on his own. Ammon was all the way across the room from him, so I knew it wasn't something he had copied- it was completely his. As you can see, the rest is Ethan's life and obsession....
Legos, Legos, Legos!!!!
Brynlee- Can you tell Brynlee is growing up?? ;-) She is starting to enjoy things like doing hair and decorating her room. I love that Christ too is on her collage and she aspires to be a doctor someday. She talks about it often and along with being a mom, it's one of her life goals. She couldn't find a violin but that's the next instrument she's hoping to learn.
Hailey-Hailey too is growing up and preparing for her baptism this year. It's been on her mind constantly and she thinks about it and making good choices often. She shares my love of decorating and is excited to have a room in our next house that she will hopefully share with Brynlee and they will get to decorate and make their own. Purple is also her favorite color...
And Karli- Karli took a lot of time with hers. She put a lot of thought into and was adamant about what would or wouldn't be on her collage. I would suggest some pictures and she would either grab them to use or shake her head "no". I loved the little things she chose...she said light, the temple, Christ, flowers, cooking, and music were things that made her special. I am so curious to see how Karli grows up and develops...she got a zest for life like no other.
Anyway, Ammon mentioned me posting this so that we could repeat this activity in a couple of years and see the changes that will inevitably happen with all of us. It will be fun to see what the new collages will be like as they will all be teenagers in a short while. There will be new priorities and new directions their lives will be taking.
Most of all I loved this opportunity to tell them how much we love each one of them and how important they are to Ammon and I. We commented on the things that are similar, how the gospel is important to all of us, but that all of us have things that make us valuable and special. I hope, especially raising five daughters in this day in age, that they will always know that not only do they have two parents that love each other and love each one of them, but that they are always children of our Heavenly Father and he wants just as much for them as we do.
And a quote from President Monson on the importance of Family Home Evening:
"We cannot afford to neglect this heaven-inspired program. It can bring spiritual growth to each member of the family, helping him or her to withstand the temptations which are everywhere. The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest.”