A Dad’s Guide: How to Make Sacrament Meeting Special for Your Wife and Kids
I wanted to write an amazing blog post for my fellow dads that details the simple steps we can take to make sacrament meeting a breeze for our wives and a joy for our children. Perhaps someday I will. But that day is not today. Nope. Today, I’m still trying to figure it out myself.
So, instead, let me tell you about how sacrament meeting went for my family last week. Maybe we can learn something together. Or maybe this will just be therapeutic for me.
Either way, here we go:
10:50 We’re here early. We usually are. My wife has a bad back, so the pews allow for a much better experience than what we affectionately refer to as “the metal seats of misery” in the cultural hall.
10:55 My 8-year-old son asks if he can get a drink from the water fountain. “Sure,” I say. I love it when he gets the inevitable drink question out of the way before the meeting.
10:59 I take a glance several rows up at my 13-year-old son sitting with the rest of the deacons preparing to pass the sacrament. His phone is nowhere to be seen. That’s a win.
11:01 The second counselor in our bishopric stands and welcomes everybody. Is it just me or is it always the second counselor who is most likely to say something entertaining/baffling? I like our chances today.
11:02 My 8-year-old returns from what has to be the longest-ever trip to the water fountain. Seven minutes. New record. His tie looks like he literally dipped it in the fountain. Miraculously, his shirt stayed dry.
11:03 My wife gives me the “take the baby” look. I know it well. I pull our 18-month-old daughter into my arms and smile. She promptly responds by smothering me with a sweet hug just before she smacks me in the face with a block.
11:05 My 11-year-old-son cracks open the hymnal and sings along to the opening hymn. We’re not a musical family by any definition, but I love to hear my kids sing the hymns.
11:08 I lean down to whisper to my 8-year-old that it’s time to pray. He puts down his pencil, but continues to peek with squinted eyes at the word search in the Friend magazine until I close it with my free hand.
11:11 The second counselor accidentally refers to “Brother Chapman” as “Sister Chapman.” Hilarity ensues. I knew we could count on him.
11:14 My daughter scoots over to my wife. Then back to me. Then back to my wife. Then back to me.
11:15 I successfully corral my daughter just in time for the blessing on the bread. I say the magic word “prayer” to her and she bows her head and folds her arms. Keeps one eye open. Cutest thing ever.
11:16 I watch my oldest son walk past us as he carries the sacrament tray to a row somewhere in the back of the chapel. He’s always a good kid, but never is he better in my eyes than he is at this moment every Sunday.
11:18 My wife removes two pieces of bread from the sacrament tray. She gives one to my daughter and takes the second for herself. I take a piece for myself, then pass the tray along to our sons. I take a moment to think about the covenants I have made with God. I look at my wife. I know she’s doing the same.
11:20 My daughter’s mild wiggles turn into spasms of toddler-sized proportions. My wife looks at me with outstretched arms to ask if she should take her. I shake my head. I got this. She passes me a fruit snack. For a sleep-deprived toddler, this is like manna from heaven.
11:22 My wife raises a cup of water to my daughter’s lips. I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have a wife who shows an example to our daughter of what it means to be a covenant-keeping woman. I take a cup and pass along the tray to my sons and they drink. Moments like this are tiny slices of heaven.
11:23 Moment’s over. Fruit snacks are gone. Spasms and angry grunts commence. This is church during naptime.
11:25 My oldest son returns and sits next to me. I have just enough time to give his shoulder a loving squeeze before my daughter lets out a primal yell. Then come the shrieks. We’ve hit DEFCON 1. I pick her up and we hurry for the exit. Knowing smiles from parents greet me with every passed pew.
11:26–11:47 A few of the highlights:
- Repeatedly pushing the button at the drinking fountain (which shoots much higher than expected, by the way).
- Opening the drawer beneath the stove in the kitchen and attempting to sit down in it.
- Grabbing a handful of tithing slips, then subsequently throwing them on the floor.
- Pointing at the art on the walls while saying “Jesus.”
- Waving at her brother who is out for his second water break. I make sure this one isn’t a record-breaker.
11:48 a.m. Reenter the chapel. Sit back down. Relax.
11:48 a.m. Never mind. Screaming commences. My wife shoots me a half-smile. Back to the hallway.
11:49 I struggle to hear the closing speaker from the foyer while my baby girl climbs the couches like a diapered explorer summiting Everest.
11:51 My daughter takes off down the hallway. I’m in pursuit. We proceed to basically repeat everything we just did a few minutes earlier. However, I stop her before she gets to the tithing slips this time. #Dadwin
12:06 My daughter and I come to a tenuous agreement that I’ll stand and hold her by the chapel doors while we listen to the closing hymn. I get a glimpse of my wife and three sons. My wife and my oldest son are singing. My 11-year-old is strewn across the pew. My 8-year-old’s face is buried in his hands.
12:09 The woman saying the closing prayer gives thanks for allowing us to come to take the sacrament. I whisper a heartfelt “amen”—and I mean it.
Was this the most peaceful hour of my life? Hardly.
Did I learn from the speakers? I’m actually not sure I remember a single word.
But did my wife get an opportunity to renew her temple covenants?
Did my daughter learn from my wife’s example?
Did my deacon son have the chance to serve others by passing the sacrament in the Lord’s stead?
Did my younger sons get a chance—even if briefly—to think about the promises they made at their baptisms?
The answer: Absolutely.
And this is why I bring my family to church. This is what makes sacrament meeting special.
Chad Phares is a well-intentioned husband and father who loves to write about faith and family. His hobbies include competing in wrestling matches on the living room floor, being nominally effective at helping his kids with their math assignments, and spending time trying to convince people that working in social media is a real job.