Pointers for Parents: “Collect Your Most Prized Possessions and Prepare to Evacuate”


“Collect Your Most Prized Possessions and Prepare to Evacuate”

With eight children in the family ranging in age from a college student to a newborn infant, how can we make our family home evenings more interesting and memorable? That has been our challenge.

To accomplish this objective, we have often found that variety is the key: on occasion we hold dinners with foods and themes of other countries to teach gospel principles in novel ways. Our most unforgettable home evening was one in which we featured self-appraisal.

It was my turn to prepare the activity that evening, and our discussion was to be a forthcoming camping trip. Ahead of time I prepared a little “radio” script, which I recorded on our cassette recorder. Then I called the family together.

After the family had gathered and we had sung a favorite hymn and offered prayer, I introduced the subject of the camping trip. We listed the items we needed to take with us and then spent some time in ranking the items in the order of their importance.

“Now,” I told them, “we are going to listen to a special radio broadcast. Pretend that what the announcer says is true, and do exactly as he says.”

Then I turned on the cassette. After a short musical interlude, the voice of the announcer (me) excitedly spoke:

“We interrupt this broadcast to announce a serious emergency. Because of heavy rains, the nearby reservoir is about to break and waves of water will soon be roaring toward our community. You are to collect your most precious possession and leave your home immediately. The torrents may well destroy your home, so you must consider seriously what you want most to save. Be ready in three minutes to evacuate your home!”

Each member of the family rushed to his room, concerned about the choice he must make. When they returned, we found that one small son held a toy he had carefully selected. A daughter decided on her book of remembrance, and my wife said she would take the triple combination, so we could be guided by the scriptures.

I then told them that my most precious possession was my family, and that was what I wanted to take. This came as a surprise, but they soon realized the point I wanted to make. We discussed at length the importance of being a family, the love we shared, and concluded that our most precious possession is our family—each of us—together.

It has been a long time since that special evening in our home, but our family still talks about the night we discovered the most priceless possession in our lives—each other. Truly it was a night to remember!

[illustration] Illustrated by Julie Fuhriman

Brother Porcaro is a curriculum designer in the Church Department of Seminaries and Institutes; he is also executive secretary of Orem North Stake.