General Conference is one of my favorite times of the year. The season is changing, and along with these beautiful changes, we get to hear from our prophets. I'm hard-pressed to think of another time during the year that I feel more reinvigorated and energized to press forward.
Conference always gets us at LDS Living thinking--what are some of the best ideas we can suggest for making the most of this for your own family? I've tried to come up with feasible ideas, along with links to previous articles, for getting the most out of general conference.
FOR YOUR FAMILY
Use some of our great conference recipes for easy, fun, or make-ahead meals and desserts:
Lion House Classic Recipes (These are perfect for a family meal!)
Conference Casserole and Other Delectables
Apple-puffed Pancakes for Conference
Decadent Desserts for Girl's Night
Dream Cookies from Josi Kilpack (pictured above)
Any of our soup contest winners or casserole contest winners would also make a great "on the stove, come and go as you want" meal.
FOR YOUR KIDS
Get your young kids engaged with various activities. We've got lots of these for you to choose from:
For teenagers, call your child's seminary teacher (or seminary office) and find out if your child can fulfill extra credit by taking notes of general conference. My seminary teacher allowed us to get one point of extra credit for every two talks we took notes on. It created a habit of taking notes that I have to this day, and it always helped me to get more out of general conference as a teenager.
Faith in God, Duty to God, and Personal Progress all have experiences that can be passed off by using general conference. Look through the following experiences, and encourage your children to fulfill them by participating in conference:
Faith in God:
Learning and Living the gospel: bullet #4, bullet #10 (example for #10: write one sentence summary for each talk and goal for how to achieve it)
Duty to God:
Priests: pg. 62 (What specific things did you learn from living prophets in the most recent general conference?)
Individual Worth, experience 2: start fulfilling the requirement by listening for mention of patriarchal blessings.
Knowledge, experience 4: select a principle you want to learn more about and listen for discussion of that principle during conference. Take notes, and study scriptural mentions thereafter. Prepare a talk about the principle and experience.
"Additional Value Experiences" write-ins for Faith or Knowledge: Take notes of general conference and write up two goals after conference for how you can strengthen your testimony.
Faith or Knowledge value project: Judging on how long a particular young woman takes in fulfilling this requirement, it might even fit as a value experience (which should be at least 10 hours). If she watches all four session (8 hours) then spends 2 hours studying notes, re-studying conference text after it comes out, writing in her journal, and considering her goals, it could easily reach 10 hours.
Allow them to have friends sleepover on Friday night. The next morning, do a fun breakfast and have your children and their friends sit down for at least part of the morning session. Even if friends lose interest after a while and want to do something else, it will provide good exposure.
FOR SOMEONE ELSE
This is probably my favorite section--only because I rarely think about this kind of thing when watching conference, and it could be a great opportunity.
Write down the names of a few friends, and watch conference with them in mind. These could simply be a few of your best friends (LDS or not, active or inactive), or they could be friends who have been struggling with something recently. Review your notes afterward, and figure out if you could print a particular talk--or particular quotes--for that person, and give it to them in the near future. Remember to pray to know if it's the right time. It's a great opportunity to deepen your friendships and even introduce the gospel to someone.
Call the missionaries and ask if there are investigators you could invite. You might also ask for names of less active families they have been working with. Try to invite the person/families over for a session and meal--you could even do a potluck. This way you can discuss the session afterward and build relationships. If you know of a family or person that could use the friendship, skip the "missionary" step and just call them yourself.
Go to the temple. If you can't get to the temple, consider reading King Benjamin's address in Mosiah 2-5, arguably the first general conference we have recorded. Get yourself in the mindset to listen and apply the words of the prophets.
Read the closing remarks from last conference.
Review the directives President Monson gave, and review how you and your family did. Determine if there is anything you could do better in the coming six months.
I hope this rather exhaustive list helps. More than anything, cut out the things that don't need to happen (and in your situation, that might be most of this list), and simply try to sit back and let it sink in.
For more information about the April 2013 General Conference, visit LDS.org