What Makes a Good Family Home Evening


Family home evening—a ball or just a blank? The attitude toward family home evening runs the full spectrum from “best thing our family does” to “what’s family home evening anyway?” Sadly enough, a recent survey of seminary students shows that about 25 percent of the students’ families are not holding family home evening at all and that 37 percent of their families hold family home evening only on a very irregular basis. As few as 10 percent of the students said that their families held family home evening regularly. There are obviously some things that could be done in order to insure exciting and meaningful family home evenings.

The survey suggests some do’s and a don’t as necessary for developing good family home evenings.

Do, first of all, encourage your family to hold family home evening.

Do encourage Dad to be present and to preside at family home evening.

Do encourage everyone to participate in all aspects of the family home evening.

Do be prepared when you are given an assignment.

Do help promote spirituality in your family home evenings. Share testimonies and faith-promoting experiences.

Do keep reading to a minimum when you are giving the lesson.

Do help plan interesting and creative activities for every family home evening.

Do, on very special occasions, and with the consent of your parents, invite a special friend to share the joy of your family home evening.

DON’T, when you are giving the lesson, let family home evening last longer than the interest span.

The survey shows that good family home evenings have an interesting and creative activity that can often set the tone for the whole evening. Here are a few ideas that have been gathered from our readers.

“When Dad suggested that everyone in the family take a turn at giving the family night lesson, I thought that it would be funny to say, ‘Yeah, let John give the lesson next week.’ John is three years old. So Dad assigned John the lesson, and with Mom’s help, John gave one of the best family night lessons that we have ever had, and the joy on that little guy’s face was worth more than we will ever be able to give him in return.”

“We have some great nonmember neighbors, and we decided to invite them to dinner on a Monday night, and then we casually asked them if they would like to participate in our family home evening. We had a great time getting to know one another, and they were impressed by the spiritual quality of our evening and the closeness that such a night can bring to a family. Inviting nonmembers to share a family home evening with you can be great fun and can work as a great missionary tool.”

“Anniversary home evening—on Mom’s and Dad’s anniversary we put on a little skit portraying the evening of their first date. We dressed up in their oldest clothes and tried our best to imitate how they would have talked and acted. We enjoyed it, and they laughed until they cried. Twenty-three skidoo to you too.”

“Our family enjoys photography as a family hobby. We set aside one family home evening for each of us to enter our best work in a family photography contest. We gave awards for several categories, including best photo on a gospel theme, most original photo, most expressive use of light and shade, and the ‘Family Home Evening Photo Contest Award for Outstanding Greatness in an Amateur Photo Contest.’”

“Let’s Create Night has always been one of my favorites. Last time Dad assigned me to be in charge of Let’s Create Night. I decided that it would be fun to challenge everyone to create something beautiful from something that was not so beautiful. I gathered six ugly, dirty rocks and during the week presented one to each member of the family, asking each of them to create something beautiful from the ugly stone. The results were fun and fascinating—real beauty and some unique ideas grew from the rough exteriors of those unsightly rocks.”

“The lesson ‘How We Prepare for Our Life’s Work’ was made especially meaningful by my father who asked each of us what we wanted to be and then invited one of his friends who actually worked in each field to come and spend family night with us and tell us about his work and just how he had to prepare for that work.”

“I had been given the assignment to give a family home evening lesson, and as I was thumbing through the manual looking for a lesson, I noticed that there was one special lesson for husbands and wives only. I decided that next Monday would be a special family night for Mom and Dad. My sister and I fixed them a candlelight dinner, and then we quietly went downstairs for our own family night while leaving the manual with Mom and Dad with a bookmark in the appropriate spot.”

[illustration] Illustrated by Dale Kilbourn