Family Home Evening:
A simple solution to the world
“Well, first of all I’d like to welcome every fight to family fight tonight” my Dad would say as he sat down after corralling us into the living room on a Monday evening, “I’d like to welcome the fight between Caleb and Jacob, Ben and his muscles, Melanie and her hair, and Karen and Melanie’s hair!” Monday nights were always filled with scriptures, prayers, hymns, family games or activities, and don’t forget the TREATS– and that’s what ‘family night’ consisted of—or as we would sometimes call it: ‘family fight’. It wasn’t easy for my parents to get us to come together or sit still for an hour or two, but I believe it made all the difference in my life and the way that I live now. I’ve personally observed other families who do not know about “The Family: A Proclamation to the world” and how we are encouraged to have “wholesome recreational activities” by the prophets of the Lord. These families struggle in their relationships and struggle to keep out the worldly influences because they are not focused on or do not know how to create a strong family. For this purpose, I have chosen to study paragraph 7 of the proclamation to learn what the prophets have said throughout the earth’s history about “happiness in family life…when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ”. I believe that the practice of having a Family home evening every week should be a practice that all families implement in their lives so that faith, love and obedience to parents will increase and that children will be better able to avoid the influences and temptations of the modern world.
Growing up in a Christ-centered home
Growing up in a Christ centered home helped me know what was important in life, however that didn’t mean the children always got along. My family sometimes paralleled the accounts we read in the Book of Mormon of Laman, Lemuel and Nephi who didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but we know their parents taught them about God and did their best to guide them in the paths of righteousness. In Lehi’s last family night, he addresses the importance of keeping the commandments and staying in ‘the way’ [to eternal life],
“For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence… my sons and my daughters, I cannot go down to my grave save I should leave a blessing upon you; for behold, I know that if ye are brought up in the way ye should go ye will not depart from it.” 2 Nephi 4: 4-5
If all children could receive life lessons from their parents like this– faith, respect, love and obedience in the home would increase. The last words of Lehi help our understanding of what an eternal family looks like by highlighting what should be the focal point of all teaching in the home and particularly family home evening: The Gospel—sometimes referred to as ‘the way’. In
Example from the Old Testament
Proverbs, we here an echo of Lehi’s teaching, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
We are promised by the Lord that a child will not depart from the way to eternal life if parents will just teach their children. Furthermore, can you think of a more wholesome, fun and engaging way to teach a child than by holding a family home evening?
Example of Enos’s family
In the book of Enos we read about how his father had “taught [Enos] in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” so that when Enos was older, “the words which [he] had often heard [his] father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into [his] heart.” Enos 1:1-3
Enos then prays and asks the Lord for forgiveness for his sins and he is forgiven. Because Enos’s father took time to teach his son, Enos knew what to do when his soul hungered. Today, a child’s soul still hungers, however the world is becoming less and less concerned with God and prayer, so many turn to drugs, immorality, or other activities that waste a life—all of which I believe could be remedied with simple family activities once a week. An eternal family, like Enos’s, is strong and un-shaken by the world because the parents of these families take time to teach their children in the home.
Family home evening provides an ideal way to create and strengthen an eternal family.
We must have family strengthening activities or else we will find our families broken, strained, and swayed by the world. Speaking on the subject of family home evening, modern prophets have counseled that “If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influences and temptations which beset them.” Improvement Era, pp. 733-34
What beautiful and profound promises from the servants of the Lord that would literally change the world if applied. The world may not listen, but the families who do apply this teaching will find themselves in a celestial sphere of living in their home.
Families can BE forever!
We know that divorce rates in the world are increasing at an exponentially high rate, faith is decreasing, and Satan’s voice is becoming louder and louder, but through all of these changing circumstances, the prophets continue to plead and proclaim, “Oh, brothers and sisters, families can be forever! Do not let the lures of the moment draw you away from them! Divinity, eternity, and family—they go together, hand in hand, and so must we!” Spencer W. Kimball, Nov. 1980, p. 5
I know that sometimes family night, can feel more like a family fight, but I have seen firsthand the blessings of protection, love, and faith that have grown in my heart and mind as my family made the weekly sacrifice of a Monday night. Before I started researching this topic, I had never considered so deeply the blessings of a family night, but now I am committed to never skip an FHE if I can help it. The Lord, in his infinite wisdom, has placed us into families of all different sorts and sizes, but I believe that every family, no matter how big or small, would be blessed and strengthened by holding a family home evening and that when children grow older, they will not depart from the way. The repeated counsel from prophets, old and modern, to parents to teach their children the gospel in the home, suggests that there is no better substitute for a Monday evening, than family home evening. I intend to promote and exhort other families and individuals to up-hold this prophetic counsel.