Each young woman will discover ways in which she can encourage enjoyable family activities.
Provide paper and pencil for each young woman.
Prepare a simple paper or fabric bag with the words “Family Fun Sack” written on it.
If it is available in your area, you may want to show the video presentation Family First (53119).
Assign young women to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.
Suggested Lesson Development
Show the young women the family fun sack. Explain that although our families often work together and each family member has many individual responsibilities, it is important for a family to have fun together. Ask the young women to write on a slip of paper a suggestion for a specific activity that they would like to do with their family. (Their ideas may include such things as taking a walk together, playing a game, cooking a favorite food, or going on a vacation.) Have each young woman put her slip of paper into the family fun sack.
Young Women Can Help Their Families Have Fun Together
Draw the slips of paper from the family fun sack and read the ideas on each one. Point out the variety of ideas, and have the young women discuss them. Explain that the young women can and should help their families have fun together by participating in the activities each family member has suggested.
What are some ways in which family activities could be made more enjoyable? Let the young women discuss, and emphasize the following points:
Family activities should allow each family member to express special interests and capabilities. Explain that in one family John loves to swim, Nancy enjoys visiting art museums, and Tim likes to collect insects. So for family outings, sometimes the family swims together, sometimes they visit museums, and sometimes they collect insects.
Explain that each family member’s tastes and interests are valid, and family members develop greater love and understanding for each other as they accommodate each other’s interests. Sometimes families can plan an activity tailored to the capabilities of a younger, older, or chronically ill family member.
It is important to be positive and supportive as you participate in family activities. Explain that when we are negative and criticize others during family activities, the activities often cease to be fun. When we praise others and recognize their good qualities, we show love and help others feel good.
The comments and attitudes of the teenage children in the family can help to set the tone of family activities. Ask the young women how they could act during a family activity to build up and encourage brothers and sisters and parents.
Arranging our schedules to allow time for family fun may require sacrifices, planning, and changing priorities. The First Presidency said, “Young men and young women should balance their involvement in school and other social activities by participating in family activities and spending appropriate time in the home” (Heaven in Our Home [family home evening manual, 1980–81], p. iv).
How do you think family members feel if a teenage brother or sister rarely participates in family activities?
Case studies and discussion
Ask the young women to discuss loving solutions to the following incidents:
In family home evening, Susan’s family plans a dinner for Saturday evening to celebrate her brother’s birthday and baptism. Grandparents and other close relatives are invited. On the day of the dinner, a friend calls Susan and asks her to go to a party that night. Susan really wants to go to this party and be with her friends.
Paula has her work schedule for the week. She has only one night off. Her father is planning to take the family to a special cultural event that night, but Paula is planning to go to a show with her friends.
Teacher presentation and discussion
Family fun can be inexpensive. Explain that most of us could easily come up with ideas for family fun that would be expensive. But being more realistic challenges us to stretch our imaginations and be creative.
Suppose one family member wants to go to a restaurant as a family activity. Perhaps family members could plan and save for such an evening out. However, if going to the restaurant would be too expensive, how could the family work together to meet the request?
Have the young women suggest ideas. Could they recreate the setting of the restaurant? What are some ways in which each family member could be involved in planning this evening? (Special menus could be made, the table could be carefully set, the meal could be prepared by all the family. Family members might put on a dinner show.)
Do you think the family dinner at home would be memorable to the family? Why?
Family Activities Can Be Simple or Complex
Write the following scripture on the chalkboard: “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).
Ask the young women to suggest some ways in which their families could carry out some of the simpler suggestions from the family fun sack.
Ask the young women to suggest family activities that would not require a lot of special preparation. Point out that these activities can occur spontaneously. (Ideas may include playing in the first snowfall, playing a family game, planting the garden, or stopping to visit an elderly neighbor.)
Ask the young women to suggest family activities that require planning ahead and are more complex, such as learning something new together, building or making something, starting a food storage project, carrying out a family service project, taking a trip, or planning a family reunion. When and how would they introduce such ideas to their families? How could they make the planning a part of the activity?
Explain that sometimes simple family activities can lead to continuing interests and family involvement:
A family in Austria owned a spinning wheel that was more than 100 years old. They became fascinated with learning to spin. Even the father learned the technique in just one day. Now the whole family spins in their spare time and makes beautiful hand-knit clothing. Often one of the girls plays her guitar and sings while the others spin. This activity has not only helped the family become more self-sufficient but has attracted nonmember friends (see Richard M. Romney,
Explain that sometimes family activities can become traditions. The young women may want to help create a family project or establish a tradition that will help their families remember or celebrate a special event. Some families have made a beautiful piece of needlework with a family motto or favorite scripture on it; others have mounted family pictures in a special way; others have put together booklets with pictures and stories from their grandparents’ lives. Some learn about ancestors by telling about them on the anniversaries of their births.
Refer to the scripture on the chalkboard.
What great things might be brought to pass by simple family activities? (Family unity, traditions, family projects, talent development.)
The First Presidency has given us some specific counsel about the time we spend together as families: “Meet together often, and share the problems and successes of the day. Plan your work and activities together so that each person may do his share and contribute to a happy family. We promise that as you do this and as your family members regularly pray together, sing together, read and discuss the scriptures together, and share their testimonies with each other, love and harmony will increase in your home” (Personal Commitment [family home evening manual, 1979–80], p. v).
Emphasize the promise of the First Presidency that “love and harmony” will increase in their homes as they help their families have memorable activities together. Each young woman can do much to help her family share enjoyable activities.
Ask each young woman to be supportive this week of her family’s plans for activities or to suggest an activity for her family to participate in.
An activity could be planned during the week to let the young women each make a family fun sack for their families.