Some of our most successful family home evenings focus on building relationships with our extended family, which stretches from California to Florida. Because it is impossible for us to visit everyone, our children have never even met some of their relatives, such as their Great-grandmother Roepke in Minnesota.
One way to establish and maintain long-distance relationships is through our family home evening create-a-letter night. First, each person draws or chooses the name of an extended family member or missionary. Then we set out paper, stickers, punches, and markers and start creating a variety of unusual letters. We make puzzle letters, fold others in a funny way and fill them with confetti, and add family photos to others. The children decorate some of the letters with their artwork.
Next we write the letters with each person adding something. The final product is several fun letters, each authored by different people. We address and stamp the letters and put them in the mailbox.
The best part comes when our letters are answered. Grandparents are especially diligent in sending a reply, and the children love to receive the mail. Although our children have never met Great-grandmother Roepke, they have come to love her through our letter writing.
Another benefit of letter writing comes when we write to family members with whom we have had a disagreement. As love softens hearts, the differences that once injured the relationship begin to seem minuscule. Through letters, all are reminded of the love that binds families for eternity.—Shannon Stahura, Orchard First Ward, Orem Utah East Stake