What I Believe: The Family That Gathers Together, Stays Together

"The family is far and away the greatest social unit, the best answer to human problems, in the history of mankind."
-James E. Faust, 1987

Spurred by a friend's comment on a Wordless Wednesday a little while back,
I got to thinking.  No matter the formal religion one observes,  
Family Home Evening is where it's at! 


Well, it's evident the world, its morals, its backbone, its governments are all crumbling at an alarming rate.  Has anyone else but me noticed the correlation of such social deterioration & the rate of the same in families?

Just read the news.  Think about it.  Simply, appalling.

"We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."
-The Family: A Proclamation to the World, 1995 (emphasis added)

Here we are 15 years AFTER this statement was shared with the world, and what are we looking at?  The truth of it.  Plain & simple.

"It is important for us to cultivate in our own family a sense that we belong together eternally, that whatever changes outside our home, there are fundamental aspects of our relationship which will never change."
-Spencer W. Kimball, 1974

So, what's one of our most valuable things we can arm our family with to prevent the disintergration within our own homes?   
Family Home Evening!  (aka Family Night)

"What is Family Home Evening?" you may be asking... 

Well, within the LDS church, Family Home Evening is one night a week specifically set aside for the family to spend together in prayer, song, studying the scriptures, enjoying yummy goodies and wholesome activities.  This is a forum in which family bonds are strengthened, trust in each other is fostered, where testimonies can take root & grow, and where children can learn from their parents.  

In addition, leadership skills are honed as each family member has the opportunity to fulfill rotating responsibilities in the evening.  This could be as simple as leading the family in a song, as honorable as saying a prayer, or as thrilling as teaching the family's lesson/devotional one week.  Family Home Evening becomes a laboratory and encourages the development of valuable life-skills & confidence within each family member.

Family Home Evening often leads into better family planning & organization (aka Family Council).  It's a great opportunity to discuss upcoming family events, needs, concerns & scheduling... even family finances, if that's how open you choose to be with your family.  It also opens the floor for compliments & recognition of family members...something that often escapes a family when we don't slow down enough to pause and reflect.

"If you will gather your children around you once a week and instruct them in the gospel, they will not go astray."
-Joseph F. Smith (Quoted by David B. Haight, 1972)

As far as LDS families are concerned, this tradition started in 1915 at the recommendation of President Joseph F. Smith & his counselors, with the counsel being, "formality and stiffness should be studiously avoided, and all the family should participate in the exercises."  

This meant the night would be spent catering to the specific needs of the family rather than in the rigid style of a classroom.  It's a night of nurturing.  For that is how the Savior ultimately teaches.

55 years later, at the prompting of Joseph F. Smith's son, Joseph Fielding Smith  (then-President of the church), Monday nights were set aside & designated for Family Home Evening and Family Home Evening alone.  No other church activities are scheduled on Mondays out of respect for Family Home Evening because it is THAT important.  

Now, is every family who has regular FHE each week without its problems?  
No.  However, a family who has Family Night regularly is better equipped for & able to more effectively withstand the trials & storms life tosses in their direction.  

We're not perfect about FHE here on The Ranch.  Wish we were.  But I can truly & honestly say that when we are diligent about holding Family Home Evening, we are stronger together.  Remember the visual lesson of one stick alone?  It breaks without much effort.  A bundle of sticks together is insurmountable.  

As much consistency as possible is the key.

Need some ideas for instituting, re-instituting, better organizing or enhancing Family Home Evening in your home?  Here are some of my favorite resources:

Ideas for Family Home Evening/Family Night Responsibility Charts:

More info on Family Home Evening:
FHE-Easy as 123 Simple as Do Re Mi  

(For your own copy of The Family-A Proclamation to the World, visit below.)


Garden of Egan said...

Beautifully said my sweet friend.
Love your ideas. I'm out to check out the sites.
I wonder if Howie would like the handouts n stuff.

Lisa Loo said...

Amen! Thanx for taking the time to share all the links--you are amazing...

Valerie said...

Lots of awesome quotes and ideas. I definitely always look forward to FHE and love that none of my kids complain about it (yet).

staceysmotheringmoments said...

Thanks for all the wonderful links and information. This has been something that I've been very hit and miss about, although I think it is so important. I look forward to looking through the links and hopefully trying again!

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