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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Family Home Evening -- families


Families SHOULD Be Together Forever

by Marie Scott
March 2014

God Put Us into Families

            Father in Heaven put us into families so we would have natural ties of love and acceptance from the minute we leave our heavenly home, until we return.
            While in our families, though we are all brothers and sisters on earth, we develop strong feelings of love and understanding for our parents, grandparents, and siblings, and the Lord has provided a way for us to keep those bonds throughout all eternity. Ideally, families should be together forever—not living in the same home— but they should be together in love and kinship. 

Family Goal: The Celestial Kingdom

There is only one place after earth life where we live again as families, and that is in the celestial kingdom. Our job is to work to reach the celestial kingdom, and help our family members reach it as well. We do that by:  living the commandments, being baptized, being endowed in the temple, being sealed to a spouse in the temple one day, and by enduring to the end of our lives in righteousness.

That is harder to do than it sounds, but the Lord has given us many helps along the way, including our families, the Church, the atonement, and vicarious work for the dead. We need the help of others to reach this goal, but the most important thing we can do as parents and individuals is to love each other and set a good example of righteous living.

Matthew Brown, says of children adopting the beliefs of their parents:

It is important for parents to model how to practice their faith by
attending and serving in the church, but that influence can be
blunted if either parent doesn’t have a close relationship with
their children.
(Deseret News’ Supplement to the February 2014 Ensign, page 1 & 11, “Passing the Torch,”)

The old saying, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care,” is true. Children who have a bad relationship with their parents won’t want to adopt their beliefs—far from it.

Getting Along with Others

Even in families, everyone is unique and different, which makes getting along with others something we all have to work at. That is best done in love, and with tactful honesty.

            In the 2010 Ensign, page 125, President Thomas S. Monson said:

            All of you wear the mantle of charity. Life is perfect for none of us. Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. May we recognize that each one is doing  [his or] her best to deal with the challenges which come [his or] her way, and may we strive to do our best to help out.

            As family members, we should understand, as President Monson said, that life is not easy for anyone, and there are behaviors we should avoid. It is never a good thing:

·         for one sibling to daily pick on another just because he or she can  (Mosiah 27:3, Proverbs 10:12)
·         for families to gang up on one member and criticize him or her  (Mosiah 4:14, Alma 1:21)
·         for one member of the family to carry most of the load and do all the work  (Mosiah 4:27, D&C 10:4)
·         for any family member to repeatedly slough responsibilities  (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
·         for tempers to continually flare  (Colossians 3:8)
·         for the home to be continually disordered  (D&C 88:119)
·         for someone to be continually over-controlling  (D&C 121:37, 39)

These are all behaviors or things that build up in a home over time that Satan makes good use of. They destroy peace or self-esteem, making individuals want to flee the home. Home, though it may not be perfect, should be a place where we want to be, where we are loved, where we can grow, where we feel needed, and where we are increasingly free to choose the right as we grow up.

The Big Picture / How is the Home’s Temperature?

Parents and children should periodically take a step back and look at the big picture of home. How is the home temperature?  Is home a good place to be? How is life for each family member? Does everyone feel loved? Does everyone help out and feel needed?  Is any one individual overwhelmed? Is anyone feeling stifled for some reason? Is everyone doing what he or she can to help or contribute?  (Play the “Home Temperature Game” to help family members become more aware of each other and the feeling in your home.)

Parents and children who are trying to be together forever should also be living the gospel by:
            Holding family prayer morning and night  (D&C 88:120)
            Having family and individual scripture study
            Holding regular Family Home Evenings
            Attending church meetings (and the temple) regularly
Eating dinner together regularly, and
            Serving others

Parents should teach children to work, organize, solve problems; and to love and respect God, self, and others. They should also teach them that the sacrifice the Lord requires of us, today, is that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. (Psalms 34:18, D&C 56:18)

Let’s make being together worth it now, so it will be possible in the future . . . Our family should be together forever and ever.

How’s the Home Temperature? activity:  Using the thermometer, (after this lesson), and questions above, (or make up some of your own questions), ask the family how they feel they are doing on each one. Raise or lower the thermometer according to the general consensus.   

Dinner table activity:  Sometime when everyone is present, have everyone look around the dinner table and point out how satisfying it is to have everyone together. Ask family members to imagine having any seat permanently vacant, and note how sad that would be if it was forever. 

Family Pot O' Gold:  Print out the Family Pot O' Gold picture on this blog and fill in the gold pieces with family photos. Show the completed collage and explain how each family member is treasured.

FHE demonstration:  Take the family photo album, or find pictures of each family member. One-by-one, hold up the pictures and tell about each person. Then point out how sad it would be to you to ever lose any of those people from your life. Our Father in Heaven loves each of His children even more than we can, and He doesn’t want to lose any of us either.

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