LDS General Conference is this weekend!! You can scour the internet for activities and booklets and snacks to do with children while watching Conference. I’m taking a different approach this year, inspired by the request of two friends. This is something my dad started in our family years ago, and we have continued in our own home. When my friends heard about it, they asked that I share it in detail on my blog during the next General Conference. I don’t know if it’s anything amazing, but it is different from many you’ll find. So, here it is. For you, Emily. And for you, Natalie.
Scenario: You spend the weekend watching General Conference with your family. You have quiet activities to do with your little ones in the hopes that they get at least one thing out of it. And with the plan that you’ll also be able to learn something, too. Then what?! If you’re like many families, you wait for the Ensign Conference edition to come out so you can reflect on the many things you heard the month before, in the meantime moving on with life, hoping to remember the inspiration you received. And a month later? My kids have forgotten Conference even happened! Sound familiar?!
Well, my dad wanted his family to remember the promptings we received immediately so he came up with this idea for us; something we can do while the feelings are fresh. My husband and I love it and have carried on the tradition with our children.
During Conference, I try to take simple notes for each talk. I’m talking simple. Sometimes they’re one general thought or sentence. (And I’ll confess, sometimes I have to use the Conference summaries posted on-line.) Then, the Monday night following Conference during our family night (or Family Home Evening), we briefly run through the talks as a family. I love when there’s a story or specific talk catered to children so I can focus on that one with them (like this one). We talk about things we learned or liked. Then each person in our family is handed a simple note card and a pen. We then spend the next couple of minutes writing a couple of goals we want to work on the next couple of months (or until the next Conference), based on the things we heard or the whisperings we felt. Now, because my family has been doing this for years, I don’t talk about goals anymore. The first couple of times you do this, you will want to talk about goals, what they are, and what they are not. I also talk about choosing just a few that are obtainable rather than a whole bunch. Everyone participates, regardless of age and writing ability. The teacher in me likes to have my kids, beginning as soon as they can write “words,” write their own. I feel there’s great value in that. And even my youngest at age 2 gets a card and “writes” (or scribbles) on it.
After everyone is done, we go around the room and share. This is optional, of course, as sometimes these need to be private. We then choose a place to display our goal card where we will see it often. I always display mine on my bathroom mirror so I can read it and re-read it while getting ready in the morning. My children usually do the same. My husband puts his in his scriptures so he sees it every night when he reads. A goal is no good if you don’t think about it frequently, right?!
The other thing we do, now that this is a tradition for us, is before we begin, we gather our cards from last session and re-read them together and evaluate how we did.
We have found that this simple activity has brought such an amazing Spirit into our home. It makes General Conference meaningful immediately and helps us apply the teachings to our own lives, our own struggles, our own weaknesses. It makes our children “get something” out of Conference. And I find it’s a constant daily reminder of areas I need to improve.
I’d love to hear what you do to make General Conference stick in your homes!
And here’s a favorite snack idea from my archives, where the kids get to open a fun snack whenever there’s a talk by a member of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve (idea by guest writer Emily)