Having family home evening with four small, wriggly children was a challenge, but one evening my parents used our energy to their advantage and in the process taught us a special message. Years later, my brother and sisters and I still remember that family home evening vividly.
My parents began by reading us Lehi’s vision of the tree of life from the Book of Mormon. (See 1 Ne. 8:2–35.) It wasn’t long before our attention wandered and we began fidgeting. They tried showing us some pictures, but they soon realized that our energy was getting the best of them. So rather than ending the evening in disaster, Mom and Dad used some quick thinking and creativity; we would act out Lehi’s dream.
Mother took a ball of yarn and wound it around the living room, around tables and chairs, until the room looked like a spider’s web. The yarn represented the iron rod, and we were to hold on to it as we made our journey to our father, who was sitting on the couch holding the end of the yarn. Mother motioned us into the kitchen, where our “journey of life” was to start.
As we left the living room, Mother flipped off the lights. She explained that in real life we can’t see our Father in Heaven and that we have to walk in faith and “hold fast to the iron rod” in order to return to him. She then kissed us and sent us out one at a time, on our journey.
I still recall being filled with apprehension as I tightly grasped the yarn and followed it over obstacles in the dark. I was so thankful I had that “iron rod” to guide me. Occasionally my father, who had a flashlight, would flash beams of light at us, so we would know where he was. (What a great comfort flashes of celestial light are in real life!) With only a few bumps, I made it to my father, who gave me a big, reassuring hug. As my older sisters squealed their delighted welcomes at my arrival at the tree of life (also known as the couch), we got a small feeling of what it would be like to be greeted by our ancestors who had gone on before us.
Being children, we wanted to act out Lehi’s dream again and again. So we played “iron rod” until it was time for bed, indelibly imprinting the story on our minds.
What a great lesson! The impression it made on me was such that even now when I read the account of Lehi’s dream, that family home evening comes to mind.