When to Schedule Family Home Evening
By: Deb Cook & FHE123
“A father gets home tired after a long day at work and finds the rest of his family struggling with similar grumpy feelings. It’s Monday night, and holding family home evening seems impossible. After saying a prayer for help, the father and mother decide to keep things simple. They call their family together, sing a hymn, and pray together. They give each member a small candle to light as they tell about something that inspired them recently. In a darkened room, the light of the candles represents inspiration and focuses the children’s attention. As testimonies are shared, a feeling of sweet peace and love enters the home. The family ends the night grateful they held home evening.” (Family Home Evening—You Can Do It!, 1999)
“Prophets have counseled parents to teach their children to love God and to keep His commandments. Home Evening is a designated weekly time for individuals and families to study the gospel and spend time together.” (Cook et al., 2015)
Family home evenings can be anytime that works for your family during the week. It does not only have to be on Monday. Leaders of the church are aware how many activities happen within our families during the week. However, it has been advised that we start the week off with Family Home Evening on Monday evenings if we can. Being consistent usually helps us find the time. If we choose one day that works for our family, we are reminded by each other to not schedule events or activities on those days.
The first presidency in April of 1915 directed the members of the church to set aside one night of every week for family prayer, music and learning of the gospel as well as other family related activities. Church leaders are asked to keep Monday evenings free from church meetings and activities so everyone can have opportunities to be with their families and spend time with them. “All will be blessed for participating in home evenings. Relationships can be strengthened as family members spend time together.” (Cook et al., 2015)
“If your family is separated geographically, try a “family online evening” to talk with family members online or over the phone. Does someone have to work late? Hold a “family park evening” near the workplace during a break. A divorced father held a “family letter evening” each Monday, writing to his children who lived far away.3 Let obstacles be a catalyst for greater creativity.” (Family Home Evening—You Can Do It!, 1999)
We are continually reminded by prophets of the importance of family home evenings. “And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord” (see D&C 68:25–28). When you are not sure where, when or how to start, pray about it and ask the Lord when the best time is for your family. A great resource for planning Family Home Evening is FHE123. The FHE123 program breaks down the lesson into 3 simple steps:
These activities are simple to follow for anyone who can read. Allowing even your children to be in charge of leading the FHE lesson. And what could be better than having them magically appear in your email every Sunday. You can either choose to just look at the digital copy on your phone or laptop while doing the lesson. We have even put the lesson up on our TV using the screen Mirror Feature. Or you can print the lesson and activity pages off to use give to a member of the family who will take the lead for FHE. These lessons were designed in a way that if you only have 5-10 minutes before bed you can easily choose something to discuss, or even watch a quick video. However if you have a good chunk of time you can easily fill every moment with fun learning for the family. Keeping the good habit of Family Home Evening in your schedule is the key to success.
Everyone, whether you are married or single, have children or don’t, will be blessed when they choose to find the time to strengthen their faith and testimony. When families choose to learn the gospel together, they are strengthened in so many ways. “These gatherings will furnish opportunities for mutual confidence between parents and children, between brothers and sisters, as well as give opportunity for words of warning, counsel, and advice by parents to their boys and girls. They will provide opportunity for the boys and girls to honor father and mother and to show their appreciation of the blessings of home so that the promise of the Lord to them may be literally fulfilled and their lives be prolonged and made happy.”(Family Home Evening: Counsel and a Promise, By the First Presidency of the Church, 1915)
Take some time today to think about when you have had Family Home Evening in the past, then ask yourself these questions:
Is that the best time for our Family?
Have we been good at holding FHE regularly at that time?
What prevents us from having it? How can we overcome that?
When we have a conflict in our schedule, what is our second best time to have Family Home Evening?
What do I need to do beforehand to get ready for FHE?
How can my family help with planning & preparing for FHE?
Each week you have an opportunity to show our Heavenly Father and those you are participating in Family Home Evening with, that you are willing to take time for what is important. Your family will easily see that you think strengthening your testimony together is important. That spending time together is important, that learning and listening to each other is important. That praying together is Important. That reading the scriptures together is important. The benefits from your efforts will be felt throughout your life, and on top of that you will create memories to last a lifetime.
Family Home Evening—You Can Do It! (1999). Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2015/04/family-home-evening-you-can-do-it?lang=eng
Cook, E. Q., Andersen, E. N., Monson, P. T., Scott, E. R., & Perry, E. L. (2015). Home Evening. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/home-evening?lang=eng