Thursday, September 25, 2008

Good Things & Bad Things

Mormons set aside Monday nights to spend with the family. Most families make it a mix of gospel instruction and family fun.

My wife and I keep family home evening very short. We start informally during dinner with a conversation game we call "Good Things and Bad Things," which my own family did when I was growing up.

For this activity, we go around the table, and everyone has to share the best thing and the worst thing that happened to him or her during the previous week. If someone doesn't give a prompt answer, we just move right on to the next person. The kids seem to enjoy their moment in the spotlight, and they often help each other think of events to report.

By the time dinner is over, we're already into the family home evening groove. Sometimes we move into the living room and have a brief gospel lesson, and then we have a song and a prayer. Sometimes we have an activity and/or a treat, but not always.

Personally, I think family night is more important for family togetherness than for teaching about the gospel, although that's important too. I don't remember any lessons from my childhood, but I do remember the warm feeling of meeting together as a family and taking each other seriously and having fun together.

Also, I don't see anything wrong with skipping family home evening once in a while or moving it to a different night, if needed. And if all we do is "Good Things and Bad Things" during dinner on a given Monday night, then hey, at least that's something!

Another tradition I've continued from my own family is singing "Little Ducky Donald" for the song, which made my mom's eyes roll whenever my dad requested it and makes my wife's eyes roll whenever I do, which I always do when it's my turn to pick the song:

Little Ducky Donald
Went swimming in a puddle
Went swimming in a puddle quite small.

He said, "It doesn't matter
How much I splash and splatter—
I'm only a ducky after all!"

Quack, quack.

Now, if there aren't eternal gospel principles embedded in that song, then I'll eat my scriptures.

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