Sunday, March 13, 2011

Keeping it Real: Family Home Evening

Let me set the scene: It's a Sunday night, and Tom and I are feeling more than a bit frazzled.  Sunday afternoons and evenings are usually a bit less than relaxed as we rush to get dinner on the table with a onery baby who needs a nap, and three older kiddos who are bouncing off the walls afterbeing released from three hours of enforced quietness. enforced quiet-ness.

Tonight, the girls were in rare form and by the time the chores were finally finished (after only 347 reminders, and almost as many threats,) we flopped on the couch with a sigh of relief.  The peace lasted for about 2.4 seconds before the girls started reminding us that it was their night to do Family Home Evening and could we please do it now, please, please, please?  We (inwardly) groaned, cursed our recent decision to move FHE to Sunday nights after dinner and reluctantly moved to the kitchen. 

Things started out with a bang when Max stumbled while climbing into his chair and landed face first in a bowl that inexplicably hadn't been put away with the other dishes.  We finished singing our opening song- "Families Can Be Together Forever" barely able to hear ourselves over the toddler's wailing. 

Abby decided that we should make "scripture cookies" for her lesson.  For those unfamiliar with the concept, the idea is to look up a verse, find the food item mentioned and add it to the cookie recipe.  Nice idea, but we had a few problems.  Ashlynn and Abby had this exact lesson yesterday at an Activity Day stake activity, so Ashlynn was less than enthralled with the repeat lesson, and had to be reminded several times that wandering around the kitchen was not an acceptable FHE behavior.  Max couldn't have cared less about Abby's lesson, and was absorbed in an Elmo video blasting at top volume on the iPhone.  This left me to monitor the recipe, (because contrary to Abby's beliefs, the amount of ingredients in the recipe really does matter, and yes, we had a lovely argument about it...) and Tom to read the scripture verses in between cell phone beeps, answering emails when he didn't think I was looking, and kid refereeing.  Needless to say, it wasn't our most spiritually enriching lesson.

Once the cookies were finally in the over, we commenced our nightly verses of scripture reading, complete with reminders to get scriptures out, follow along, and "could you please stop tormenting your brother and read your verse" moments. 

I was about done at this point.  Unfortunately, the girls weren't.  I made the mistake of asking them to go down a pick up a little in the basement.  While I'm not a huge fan of giant clean-ups on Sundays, I have a lesson coming at 6:15 am on Monday, and the basement was looking a bit like a casting call for TLC's show "The Hoarders."  A few minutes after I sent them down, I heard them reading and gigglng over a joke book.  I then proceeded to remind them that they needed to finish up their jobs so we could have cookies.  Not 60 seconds later, I heard more really bad jokes.  I not so patiently reminded them that they had work to do.  two more minutes went by before I heard them both banging on the piano.

"Bed time, both of you."  I announced.  It was 7:05, and our scripture cookies hadn't yet come out of the oven.

Yup.  A Family Home Evening for the ages, I tell you.  I almost hope that someday Abby or Ashlynn calls me and complains about how their kids are making FHE impossible so I can remind them about the fateful scripture cookies and we can laugh about it together.

As an aside, both my husband and I just got a really good laugh as I searched Google images for "Family Home Evening."  Try it.  You'll see a bunch of pictures of well dressed, perfectly styled families in gorgeous houses, all gazing up lovingly and attentively as someone gives a wonderfully spiritual enriching lesson.  Yeah, right.  As my husband says, "Well, if they showed how it really happened, no one would do it!"

I'm so glad that we can all start over tomorrow.

So anyone want to make me feel better?  Anyone have any good FHE or scripture study horror stories to share?


  1. I wish I had a hidden camera so I could make a video of a typical FHE to show my kids someday when they're trying to do FHE with their own kids.

    I can't think of any specific incidents off the top of my head, but honestly, I also can't even remember the last time we had a FHE that was actually spiritually uplifting. It seems like dh is always late getting home from work on Monday nights, so we always get started late and it just goes downhill from there.

    Our scripture study is going pretty well right now, but that's because we can do it in the morning as part of our school day, and it is very unrushed. Since I started homeschooling, I have zero mental energy left for either planning or implementing FHE, so it pretty much sucks right now. I guess I should be proud that we even have it at all, huh?

  2. We call FHE "Family Home Five Minutes" and are thrilled when it doesn't dissolve into chaos before the five minutes are up.


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