In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we believe in unified families and one of the best ways to strengthen our families is through regular Family Home Evening
. In the LDS Church Family Home Evening is usually held every Monday evening when a family gathers together, goes over family business, has a lesson, prays and sings together, and often holds a fun activity. Family Home Evening (also called FHE) isn't just for young families, either, it's for everyone one because it can be adapted for all kinds of families.
Why Family Home Evening?:
"[Family Home Evening] was to be a time of teaching, of reading the scriptures, of cultivating talents, of discussing family matters. It was not to be a time to attend athletic events or anything of the kind.... But in the increasingly frantic rush of our lives it is so important that fathers and mothers sit down with their children, pray together, instruct them in the ways of the Lord, consider their family problems, and let the children express their talents. I am satisfied that this program came under the revelations of the Lord in response to a need among the families of the Church" ("Family Home Evening
, Mar 2003, 4.)
Conducting Family Home Evening:
The person in charge of Family Home Evening is the one conducting the meeting. This is usually the head of the household (such as the father, or mother if she's single) but the responsibility of conducting the meeting can be assigned to another person. The conductor should prepare for Family Home Evening in advance by assigning duties to other families members, such as who will give the prayers, lesson, plan any activities, and make refreshments. In a smaller (or younger) family the duties are usually shared by the parents and any older siblings.
Opening Family Home Evening:
Family Home Evening is started when the conductor gathers the family together and welcomes everyone there. An opening song is then sung. It doesn't matter if your family has music or not, or can't sing very well, what matters is that you pick a song to help bring a spirit of reverence, joy, or worship to your Family Home Evening. As members of the LDS Church we often choose our songs from the Church Hymnbook or the Children's Songbook which can be found online at LDS Church Music
or purchased from the LDS Distribution Center
. After the song a prayer is offered. (See How to Pray
After the opening song and prayer it's time for family business. This is the time that parents and children can bring up issues that affect their family, such as upcoming changes or events, vacations, concerns, fears, and needs. Family business can also be used to discuss difficulties or other family problems that should be addressed with the entire family.
An Optional Scripture and Testimony:
After family business you can have a family member read or recite a scripture (one that relates to the lesson is great but not required) which is a nice option for larger families. This way everyone can contribute to the Family Home Evening. The scripture doesn't need to be long and if a child is young a parent or older sibling could whisper to them the words to say. Another optional aspect of Family Home Evening is to allow one or more members of the family to share their testimonies. This could be done before or after the lesson. (See How to Gain a Testimony
to learn more.)
Closing Family Home Evening:
After the lesson Family Home Evening is ended with a song followed by a closing prayer. Choosing a closing (or opening) song that corresponds with the lesson is a great way to re-emphasis what is being taught. At the back of both the Church Hymnbook and Children's Songbook there is a topical index to help find a song that relates to your lesson's topic.
Activity and Refreshments:
After the lesson comes the time for a family activity. This is the time to bring your family together by doing
something together! It can be anything fun, like a simple activity, a planned outing, a craft, or a great game. The activity doesn't need to correspond with the lesson, but if it does that would be great. Part of an activity can also be to make or enjoy some refreshments together.
See these great resources for some fun ideas:Family Home Evening is for Everyone:
The great thing about holding Family Home Evening is that it is adaptable to any family situation. Everyone can have Family Home Evening! Whether you're single, a young married couple with no children, divorced, widowed, or an older couple who's children have all left home you can still hold your own Family Home Evening. If you live alone you can invite friends, neighbors, or relatives to come and join you for a fun Family Home Evening or you can hold one all by yourself!
So don't let the busyness of life pull you away from your family but instead strengthen your family by holding regular Family Home Evening once a week. (Use the Family Home Evening Outline
to plan your first one!) You'll be amazed at the positive results you and your family will experience. As President Hinckley said, "If there was a need 87 years ago [for Family Home Evening], that need is certainly much greater today" ("Family Home Evening
, Mar 2003, 4.)