Tuesday, March 24, 2009

FHE: More Than Just Hangin' Out Together

Last night as my U9B coaching crew discussed practice, the extended daylight hours and the need to get in more practice, the topic of extending practice on Monday nights to 7PM came up. My response: 2 of the boys will be leaving early. Their perplexed looks were not of "where is their commitment" but more of simply "why." The answer is simple really. Family Home Evening (FHE)!

As the sound of crickets died down, I eased into explaining that Monday nights are reserved for families to spend time together, to have spiritually uplifting experiences and to generally block out the world. Of course, with a response like that, neither could immediately rebut the argument and generally accepted that 2 of the boys would be leaving early on that night.

So what's the big deal with FHE anyway? Don't LDS members also spend all day Sunday in worship and rest? Why not just combine the two? What do you do during FHE?

Growing up my family at times did combine the Sabbath and FHE as our schedules didn't sync up. In retrospect I think soccer likely took some time on Monday nights so FHE just didn't fit into the schedule. Wrong way to go. In recent years I've had the same dilema and at times had "condensed" versions of FHE because practice went a little long. Wrong way to go.

FHE is time the family can counsel together, discuss the needs of the family, openly discuss the budget, parents provide spiritual guidance, children can teach gospel principles in a secure setting, the family and plan and carry out wholesome activities and the family can enjoy dedicated, uninterrupted time together. From a snippet off the LDS Newsroom site: "In 1915, Church leaders established a program that would urge parents to gather their families around them once a week for an evening devoted to family. Family home evening is a time when parents can teach children principles of the gospel. A typical family home evening includes a prayer, song, short lesson, activity and refreshments. Lessons are taught by parents and sometimes by children."

While last night's FHE for the Hanson family was quite a typical in that we didn't formalize the evening with an opening prayer, song or short lesson, we did enjoy an activity and refreshment. As my wife and I just newly purchased bicycles, we took a family bike ride (about 4 miles). The ride ended up being more of a neighborhood kid ride with 3 neighbor kids joining the fray but nevertheless we all had a good time.

In celebration of two our children's receiving "commended" status on their TAKS test, the kids enjoyed FHE chocolate cake.
The evening ended with prayer and we felt the evening was enjoyable. Taking time to enjoy God's creations may have counted as the lesson but a more formalized FHE lesson will be a part of next week's plan.


Regardless of just how the time is spent, the purpose of the evening is to join the family together, creating eternal bonds and strengthening God's greatest creation, the family.

Now you know! If you're interested in learning more or witnessing a FHE for yourself, find a local LDS member and invite yourself to the weekly event. If you're stuck and don't know any, drop me a comment and I'll hook you up.

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