So here are our family resolutions for 2009:
* More consistent family scripture study
* More consistent family prayer
* More consistent family home evening
These happen to be the same resolutions we set every year. And to give ourselves a pat on the back, I don't think we're too terribly bad, but we can do better. The easiest of the three is family home evening. Our church recommends that every family set aside time one evening a week to have a gospel-based lesson, a song, a fun activity, and maybe a treat. The kids enjoy this, so the only hiccups have been in finding a workable night for all six people (got to be Sunday) and deciding who does what. We'd made a little chart with the following categories: lesson, prayer, song, treat, activity, participant . Six spots for six people. We put velcro on the back of photos and the idea was that we'd rotate the pictures, giving everyone equal opportunities. The problem was people kept messing with it through the week. Abby even just wrote her name in marker next to the spot marked "activity". So, Madeline and I chose this lovely chart on-line and it will be hung up. HIGH.
Moving on: family prayer and scripture study. Now, we've never had a problem with prayers at meals. And I believe everyone is saying their individual prayers. But the family prayer we envision is a daily kneeling prayer. We'd like to have it coincide with family scripture study. I believe both of these things are important. I really do. And yet we have struggled to make them a daily reality. We thought at one point that we must do this in the morning before anyone left the house. Here is our first attempt:
Doesn't it look successful? Do you see the dazed look on little Madeline's face? Are you getting a good look at Adam? Doesn't his body language tell you he's teachable and open to the whisperings of the spirit? If you could hear him, this would be the audio: "I don't WANT to read scriptures in the MORNING!" Shortly after this photo, Lyle happily left for work and I looked at my two grumpy children who really didn't need to be up at that hour and it was a VERY long day. So early morning doesn't work for us. It definitely doesn't work now that Adam has early-morning seminary--which makes me laugh considering his proclamation now forever preserved in photo form.
We switched to dinner time scripture study which worked for quite a while. But now we've got kids doing wrestling and plays and dinner isn't always ideal. SO, the plan for 2009 is that all family members will meet in our bedroom right before the little girls go to bed. We tried it last night.
To inspire us, I started with a quote by Marion G. Romney. He said that consistent scripture study would result in great blessings.
"The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity--the pure love of Christ--will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness."
I looked at those assembled to see if they had a gleam of inspiration in their eyes. Adam said, "I don't like Mitt Romney."
"You said the quote was by Mitt Romney."
"No I didn't. I said it was by Marion Romney, a former apostle. I don't think they're even related. But the quote. Aren't those amazing blessings?"
Adam said, "I don't like the part about children being submissive."
"O.K. It's not like you'll be Stepford Children or anything. It's just saying you will be more teachable. More humble. Less likely to argue with your mother about inspirational quotes...."
So we moved onto the scripture reading. I read, Adam read, Madeline read and then it was Abby's turn. At this point, for whatever reason, Maya Qiu got the giggles. She thought the word "therefore" was hilarious and Abby's verses were peppered with therefores. Abby laughed because Maya was laughing.
Madeline rolled her eyes and said, "Abby. Just let me read it."
Abby screamed, "NO! I'm reading it!"
Adam said, "Oh my gosh," and put a pillow over his head.
Madeline complained, "It's taking like ten minutes to read one verse."
Adam sighed and said, "Oh my gosh, Abby."
"I'm DOING it!" Abby screamed. And she started to read. "Therefore..."
Maya laughed like a hyena. Abby fell over onto the bed. The teens rolled their eyes and we decided we'd read enough for the night.
We knelt around the bed for family prayer and the little girl's went to sleep. Maybe because of the newness of the routine, we forgot to put a diaper on Maya.
She came to our room groggy-eyed at 5 AM and with wiggly legs said, "I need to use the potty!" She ran to the bathroom, did her business, went back to sleep, and woke up dry as a bone.
Bring it on 2009!