Getting to Church on Time

With four young, active boys in the family, getting everyone up, fed, and ready for church used to be a monumental challenge. Many times we found ourselves in the car late and with a spirit of contention in the family. Then we thought of making a Sunday tape to help us get to church on time. It has really helped.

One family home evening we sat down with the boys, a tape recorder, and some of our favorite music. We also created a script that gave every member of the family a part. After some practice and a couple of false starts, we were ready to record.

Our son Jon begins the tape saying, “Good morning, family! It’s time to get ready for church. We have half an hour before we need to be in the car. If you don’t have your Sunday clothes on yet, it’s time to get going!” His voice is followed by a favorite Church song. After the song our son Michael comes on. “Only twenty-four minutes left. Have you found your shoes yet?” Then another song plays. The tape continues like this for half an hour. After each song a family member reminds us to do such things as comb hair, gather scriptures and lesson materials, and have family prayer. By the end of the tape we’re ready for church—and Mom and Dad don’t have to do much more than start the tape at the right time.

Now when we climb into the car to go to church, we are usually on time and ready to enjoy the day. Best of all, our former contention has been replaced by sweet, reverent feelings, and we can go to our meetings prepared to feel the Spirit.Scott Perry, Albany, Oregon

Bulletin Board Art Comes Home

Bulletin boards at home are usually demoted to the job of memo pad or catchall. But schoolteachers have long realized the potential of bulletin boards: they can transform a classroom from a pumpkin patch to an Easter parade, plunge students back to prehistoric times or fly them to the Orient. If schoolteachers use bulletin boards to stimulate, motivate, praise, teach, and beautify, why not do the same with yours at home?

Decorate your bulletin board to honor a birthday child, welcome the season or a guest, reinforce a home evening lesson or a scripture-study topic, display photos from your last family outing, or promote needed character traits. The possibilities are endless.

All you need to start is a good-sized board, some thumbtacks or pins, and a few basic art supplies. You can collect pictures, tinsel, fabric scraps, favorite cartoons, and stencils to help create displays. You may want to start a file or donate a large drawer to the cause.

Encourage children to develop their talents by asking them to help decorate the bulletin board. Frequent changing of the display keeps the excitement alive; in fact, taking down a favorite design is the hardest part of this art form!Jan M. Smith, Key Center, Washington

Reading Begins at Home

Every child loves a bedtime story. For them this time-honored childhood ritual never loses its charm and importance. For parents, however, a variety of reasons—from fatigue to unfamiliarity with children’s books—may seem to outweigh the rewards of this activity. Following are some ways to make reading time more enjoyable—for your children and for you.

  1. 1.

    Discover good books. High-quality children’s literature isn’t only for children; adults enjoy it also. And remember that the scriptures are the greatest children’s literature.

  2. 2.

    Don’t feel compelled to finish a book if your child is bored or fidgety. Find a book that will hold his or her interest.

  3. 3.

    Be a little silly! Children love ridiculous voices, sound effects, and melodrama, so don’t be afraid to have fun.

  4. 4.

    Don’t worry if your children interrupt with questions. This can be a wonderful way to initiate discussions and can provide many quiet, unrushed teaching moments.

  5. 5.

    Follow up with extras. If you’re reading Charlotte’s Web, look for spider webs around your yard. Cook the bean porridge mentioned in Little House on the Prairie. Study maps or globes to find the places mentioned in a book.

  6. 6.

    Read slowly enough that story scenes can form in your little listeners’ minds.

  7. 7.

    Don’t set age limits on reading to children. Babies as young as six months can enjoy picture books, and children who can read by themselves still love to listen to stories.

  8. 8.

    Have a regular reading time each day. It won’t take long before reading together will become a habit.

  9. 9.

    Dramatize stories in family home evening. Children love to act out stories, and doing so gives new depth to reading. Try this with scripture stories, too.

  10. 10.

    Don’t force your child to listen. If a child is tired or simply not in the mood for story time, don’t push. Let your children associate reading with positive, happy times.

Though it can be hard to schedule reading time between soccer practice, piano lessons, and homework, doing so gives definite payoffs. Reading together becomes a meaningful time for parent-child discussions. Children can learn values like integrity, courage, and loyalty from stories and gain memories that last long after the story has ended. Reading time is also a natural opportunity to read scriptures together. Besides all these reasons, reading together is fun!

Curl up tonight with your children and a good book, and you’ll remember why this childhood ritual is still as wonderful today as it was when you were young.Lisa Ray Turner, Littleton, Colorado

The Scriptures Speak to Children

One night as our children were getting ready for bed, our youngest son, Brad, told me he didn’t want to go to school the next day. I sat down with him and asked what was bothering him. He said he was feeling ignored, left out, and shunned by his friends.

I tried to console him by telling him what his older siblings had done in similar situations. We talked about self-worth and about what Heavenly Father would want him to do. But Brad still seemed troubled. Finally, I shared with Brad that when I feel sad and discouraged, reading the scriptures can help me find comfort.

We said our good-nights, and I went into my room and prepared for bed. I had just turned off my light when I heard Brad call to me from his room. I rolled out of bed and walked down the hall to see what was the matter.

Brad was sitting on his bed with his scriptures open on his lap. He looked up at me and said, “Mom, look what I found. I just opened my scriptures, and my eyes fell on this verse.” He pointed to Matthew 5:43–44.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” [Matt. 5:43–44]

Brad’s face beamed with peace and courage. He had just received an answer to his troubling situation. How grateful I was that a loving Father in Heaven would respond to my son’s needs.

As we said good-night a second time, Brad asked, “Was that worth getting out of bed for, Mom?” It certainly was!Carol B. Moss, Primary general board

[illustrations] Illustrated by Dikayl Dunkley

[photos] Photography by Steve Bunderson; photo props by Shawna Mooney Kawasaki