Conference Talk: For more information on this topic read "Strengthen Home and Family," by Mary N. Cook (Ensign, Nov 2007, 11-13).
Thought: I hope I can help you . . . understand how powerful your individual actions can be in strengthening your home and family, no matter what your circumstances (Mary N. Cook, "Strengthen Home and Family," Ensign, Nov 2007, 11-13).
Song: "Happy Family," Children's Songbook, p. 198
Scripture: And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.(Doctrine and Covenants 68:28).
Story: (Sister Camilla Kimball) The family home evening program has long been a part of the Church plan. I remember well as a child the occasions in our family when we gathered together and each child, beginning with the youngest, had a part on the home evening program. These are happy memories. When my brothers and sisters get together even now, we often reminisce about those times, repeating with laughter the poems and songs we performed back in those days. It was fun to hear my brother Henry sing in monotone, "What can little bodies do? Like us little lispers, Full of life and mischief, too, And prone to noisy whispers." And Joe's oft-repeated contribution as a little 3-year-old was, "Three little rabbits went out to run, Up hill and down hill, Oh, what fun!" The songs the family sang together are still our favorites. Some of them were folk songs brought from England by our great-grandmother. We still sing these with our grandchildren, and these are traditions that bind the family together. In recent years, more definite and concerted effort is being made to perfect the program. We have come to realize that Monday family home evening should be as regular and important a part of our life as attendance at sacrament meeting, that it is worth sacrifices to keep this time special for those close to us. Many people outside the Church are recognizing and adopting the family home evening program as a tool to strengthen their families. Some time ago my husband spoke at a convention of young business executives and their wives at Sun Valley, Idaho. None of them were members of the Church, but several of them came personally to express appreciation for our family home evening manual, which they were using with their families. . . . What a chance, by precept and example, to have important impact on the lives of our neighbors! . . .I am grateful for the understanding we have of our responsibility to become God-like in character, to love our children and neighbors as he loves us. The family is important enough to call for our best efforts--no profession is more noble than homemaking. The fulness of respect from good men and from God comes to those who fit themselves to serve and then serve one another--and family first of all--with love (LDS Women's Treasury: Insights and Inspiration for Today's Woman [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997].).
Lesson: Gather your favorite baby picture of everyone in your family. Show each picture to the family and have them guess who each baby is. Provide hints as needed. Tell stories about what each person was like as a baby or little child.Explain that families are just like a really good cookie recipe. Alone, none of the ingredients taste very good (except the sugar). But together, they make something wonderful, something that makes us happy. Alone, a daddy can't do a very good job, but when he has help from a mommy, they can make a happy family. And when children want to help their parents, the family can be wonderful.Like the ingredients in the cookies, each person in the family is so important that without them the family wouldn't work. We all need to work together and give of ourselves to make our families the best they can be (Jeni Gochnour, Family Home Evening Games, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1999], p. 56-7.).
Activity: Measure out each ingredient for the cookie recipe (see below) separately and put in plastic sacks or small bowls. Give each person in your family an ingredient or two. Tell everyone to eat his or her "treat." Act surprised when they don't want to eat the individual ingredients. Then let everyone pour his or her ingredient into a large mixing bowl and take turns mixing it until the dough is ready to put on a cookie sheet. (It is best if you mix together the first five ingredients, then add the remaining ingredients.) (Jeni Gochnour, Family Home Evening Games, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1999], p. 56-7.)