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Starting this year, our church is focusing on encouraging families to teach their children the gospel in the home and to study it for themselves. The church is to be a support to that teaching and learning. We have a new curriculum that we use in our homes as well as in our church that focuses on teaching about Jesus Christ and studying the New Testament for this year. It is called the "Come Follow Me" program.
In reality, we have always known that as parents, it has always been our responsibility to teach our children the Gospel and the church has been there as a support. So, we are really excited about the extra support we are receiving in this effort. Our children who live in our area talked with my husband and I and we all decided that we would get together on the first Sunday of each month to discuss what we are studying in our homes. The rest of the time, we will study as individuals and separate families. My husband and I make it a habit to read the scriptures together and discuss them every evening. Getting together with our children and grandchildren once a month is a great change of pace and a way for us all to stay connected and to learn from one another. It is wonderful to be involved in the teaching of our grandchildren as well.
January 6th was the first Sunday of the year! Alicia and her family were still here from California, so my husband and I were so excited to be hosting the first family gathering at our house. We knew it would be a challenge with so many adults and children mixed, so we talked and planned how we would run the evening and discussion. Here is what we did. Hopefully, if you are implementing this program in your home, our outline of events will give you some ideas.
Start Time and Dinner:
We decided to start our "evening" at 3:00, after naps and before kids were getting cranky and tired again.
By request, we made our dinner a taco night because my kids love it when I do tacos. So, we started out with fun and good food. We had beef for meat eaters and vegan beans for non-meat eaters and all of the rest of the delicious taco fixings.
I also made dessert, the best chocolate chip cookies ever and ice cream. But, we saved those (mostly) for after the discussion and activity.
We started our discussion with a song and a prayer. We didn't have what you might call a lesson, but we sat down and everyone shared the thoughts we had about the topic of study and any insights we had gained. My husband facilitated the discussion. During this time, I had found some coloring pages for the little ones that they were able to color in the middle of the room as we adults talked. Not everyone shared a thought, but that was okay. The things that were shared were very insightful and thought provoking.
Next, we decided that an activity would be a fun way to spend the evening, allowing a little more involvement for those too shy to share their thoughts in the discussion and the kids were even able to join in a little as well. (Our oldest child there was only 3) We have a family game that we like to play when we get together that we called The Sentence Picture Game. My husband had the idea to adapt it to our topic of discussion. We use the game Telestrations to play, but we don't play according to that games directions and this time it was even more of a variation from the original game. I explained the game a couple of years ago on this post. This time, we instructed everyone to write a sentence on the first page of the little dry erase game booklet that had something to do with what they had studied or thought about when it came to the past week's lesson. Then, we passed the books around the circle and the next person read the sentence and then turned the page of the booklet and drew a picture of what they had read. Then, next person looked at the picture and wrote what they thought the sentence had said, and so it went, alternately around the circle drawing pictures and writing sentences until each person ended up with their original booklet. The outcome of the game was really funny, but not irreverent and we were able to hear what each person had originally thought of. The nice thing about the Game Telestration is that you don't have to cut up and give everyone stacks of little papers and there are a lot of the booklets in the game, so the oldest children were able to draw pictures in their own booklets as well.
In advance of the evening, I had painted and used my Cricut to decorate picture frames that we can add scripture verses to as the year progresses. Each family that hosts can decide on the scripture that we add to the frame for that month. Since the first week's theme was about being responsible for our own learning and then doing something about it, we chose James 1:22.
One of my favorite parts of the evening was when we ended the evening with a song and a prayer. We have a favorite family hymn that we have always sung together since our children were young entitled, "Choose the Right." We started singing it to end the evening and our little 15 month old granddaughter ran into the middle of the group and started dancing away with her hands up in the air! It was so adorable! After that we all enjoyed the cookies and ice cream. It was a great evening. I am really looking forward to next month.
I think that the mixture of food, fun, truth, honest feelings and love are what made the evening a success. Next month, Lindsey and her family are hosting and I am so excited to see what they plan for us all!
If you are also using this program in your home, we would love to hear your ideas that have worked well for your family! Drop a line in the comments.
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!