Family Reunion Story Time

Family history skits can help us, and especially our children, learn about our progenitors as we reenact their tales of courage and sacrifice. Before a family reunion, we wrote a simple story outlining an ancestor’s life. To more easily identify his family members, we prepared nametag posters for participants at the reunion to slip around their necks. We also made simple signs that designated cities and places relevant to the story and added a few props, such as a shawl and hat. Then, at the reunion, we asked one person to be the narrator and invited others to participate as the story unfolded. During one tender part, family members embraced, without prompting, to reenact when a young ancestor died and went to “heaven,” where she was met by her sister who had died previously. For all of us, the experience was a beautiful way to pay respect to and remember those who have gone before us. Nita Smart Facer, California

[illustrations] Illustrations by Scott Greer

Food Storage for Beginners

When I was a young newly married college student, I acquired a few months’ food supply despite budget and storage constraints. Here are some strategies that worked for my husband and me, as well as for others in our student ward.

Think small and simple. Since it was just the two of us, we didn’t store number 10 cans of food. Instead, I bought regular-size cans or packages, and we tried not to overstock large quantities of any particular item. I shopped the stores’ weekly ads for variety, which naturally helped me to rotate our supply.

Shop Church canneries and yard sales. Items sold at the cannery can be less expensive than what retail stores offer. And if you want canning equipment, I recommend buying it secondhand. You may need to have pressure cookers checked for safety at your local county agricultural extension office.

Store items under the bed. I obtained several flat boxes with two-inch sides from the grocery store. Then I grouped my canned goods by categories and identified the contents and purchase date on top of each can. When I pulled out a flat, I knew immediately if the item I wanted was there and which I should use first.

Periodically reorganize. By restacking, consolidating, or tossing unused items, I could always make storage space in my cupboards or closets. And when I cleared extra space, I tried to store items where I would most likely use them.

Tell others. Since my family and friends knew about my efforts to obtain food storage, they offered assistance. At the time, a ward member invited me to pick plums, and some family members gave me food storage items as presents. MartaRae Northcutt, Tennessee

Primary Focus: Reverence

There are times when positive discipline is required in the classroom. Just as it is important to have a well-prepared lesson, we also need to plan ahead for classroom management. By using carefully constructed questions such as the following, behavioral limits can be set while still honoring a child’s agency.

  • Would you like to continue sitting in that seat and remain quiet, or would it help you to be quiet if you moved to a new seat? (The behavioral limit is remaining quiet, yet the child gets to choose where to sit.)

  • Would it help you to focus if you sat in a more secluded spot, or can you focus where you are?

  • Do you need help remaining quiet, or can you handle it yourself? (Children like to be independent, and most will choose to handle it themselves.)

  • I will assume that if you are disruptive again you are telling me that you need some help, and I will then choose for you. Is that a fair assumption? (You might then arrange for a parent, Church leader, or another adult to assist a child struggling with reverence issues.)

By facilitating a reverent classroom environment, teachers help to invite the Holy Ghost to bear witness of eternal truths. F. Arthella Starke, Oregon

Family Home Evening Helps:

Purposeful Family Home Evenings

“We are to teach our children in a well-organized, regular family home evening,” said Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (“The Importance of the Family,” Ensign, May 2003, 42).

Regardless of how long we have been members of the Church, we can all benefit from holding well-organized family nights. To strengthen our family’s activities and to better include our young children, my husband and I decided to plan activities with a purpose. So we gathered our family together for a planning meeting and brainstormed what we wanted or needed to learn. We listed anything that came to mind and then refined our list to focus on specific topics. Each family member then chose a subject to prepare for an upcoming Monday-night lesson.

Two of our lessons addressed helping with household chores and resolving contention in the home. Together we found solutions, such as job charts and reward systems for encouraging better behavior. We also role-played appropriate ways for resolving sibling conflicts.

I know that as we prayerfully ponder what our families need to learn, we will more effectively use this important time each week to teach essential gospel principles and strengthen family relationships. Stephanie Weight, Arizona

[illustration] Illustration by Beth Whittaker