How to Plan Your Family Home Evening with FHE123
By: Deb Cook
Each family is different and may have different circumstances that may keep them from planning a regular Family Home Evening lesson each week. Some families may have children and some might not. Some may have family in care facilities or hospitals, some may be single adults or live alone or with other people. However your life may look, Family Home Evening can be for everyone and can be a blessing to those who may be feeling lonely.
“The Lord expects us to have family home evening-one night a week to gather our children together and teach them the gospel. Isaiah said ‘and all thy children shall be taught of the Lord.’ And the blessing: ‘And great,’ he said, ‘shall be the peace of thy children.” (Hinckley, 2000)
Do you ever find yourself struggling to plan an FHE in advance or last minute?
Family Home Evening can feel overwhelming when you don’t know where to start. But you can create Family Home Evening by starting with something as simple as sitting down with your children, studying the scriptures, or talking about family problems. President Gordon B. Hinckley said in an interview with the Boston Globe, “I don’t hesitate to say if every family in the world practiced that one thing” (mentioned above), “you would see a very great difference in the solidarity of the families of the world.” (Interview, Boston Globe, 14 Aug. 2000).
Family Home Evening is a time to be with family and leave the needs of the world outside the home. Joseph F. Smith said it should be a ‘time of teaching, of reading scriptures, cultivating talents or discussing family matters.’ Nothing else mattered than what was happening that evening. It is most important for parents to sit down with their children and pray together, lead them towards the Lord, talk about their problems and allow them to express their feelings and talents. “You cannot have a strong community without strong families - the father, the mother, the children as one unit working together.” (Interview with Ignacio Carrión, El País [Mexico], 7 Nov. 1997).
Some start off their Family Home Evening by beginning with a prayer and family council or planning the week ahead and checking on plans or activities that others may have. You can then start the lesson you have prepared and possibly delegate it to those in the family so everyone is involved in the lesson or activity. Every child can participate in the lessons and activities when the family and parents include them and are patient in their efforts to get everyone involved.
At FHE123, we make planning your FHE lesson simple and easy! It also correlates with our “Come Follow Me” study for the week. With FHE123, we have three simple steps.
We first start by learning from scriptures, by highlighting a scripture for the week. We offer a printable that has the scripture enlarged so you can post it somewhere in your home for your family to review throughout the week.
The second portion of our FHE123 lesson includes family discussion questions. Our FHE123 lesson provides questions that foster meaningful family discussions about the topics for the week, along with a quote from one of our modern-day leaders.
Last, we make lessons fun by playing games, doing crafts, and other activities to get your family moving and thinking. Sometimes we act out scripture stories, make treats, or even do a treasure hunt. We always include a link to a video that you can easily watch to get discussion flowing, recapture their attention, or sum things up.
One key to a successful FHE is to remember to keep the atmosphere light and loving. You may want to add music to your lessons such as church hymns or primary songs which will invite the spirit. Involve your children! Invite them to lead the music, help out with activities or treats, or say the opening prayer. Create an environment of love and peace, a special time of the week that everyone can look forward to.
When planning FHE, make sure to designate some time to plan things you want to do together as a family such as service projects or reading goals. It’s a great idea to use your Family Home Evening time to start those goals. Decide what you want your family to learn and choose a way to emphasize that lesson with things such as a quiz or picture games. When planning a Family Home Evening lesson around holiday times, include lessons that are meant for the holidays or special occasions. It is important to always plan the Family Home Evenings to fit the family and their needs. Do things that you know everyone will love. The home evenings are not only meant to bring families closer together and have a more Christ centered home, but to help families as well. When the lesson seems short, plan for future outings together as a family, think about activities coming up, and allow your family to get involved in the planning as well. A Family Home Evening can look different than others around you, but the most important part of the Home Evenings is always including a Family prayer. This is a great time to pray for each other, and then things that are happening in your families’ lives. When your children hear you praying for them, they know that you care about them, you support them, and you love them. They feel important to you and connected to the family.
Always remember the best place to teach the gospel is within the home. The home is a place that children and others can learn about family life. Having a set night for Family Home evening, can invite the spirit in the home for all family lifestyles and can be a source of peace and joy in the family and their home. Devote your time and creative and loving energy to the most important thing in your life-the family. “Parents and children must be willing to put family responsibilities first in order to achieve family exaltation.” (Family Home Evening , 4). Many blessings will come from holding regular Family Home Evenings. When each member of the family participates, they will begin to have feelings of self-worth. You will find that problems will begin to decrease and love, commitment, faithfulness and harmony will increase.
If you are consistent with your planning and you do your best, with the help of the Lord, you will be blessed and guided as you work to bring your family closer together.