“These are essential things which must be done before nonessential things. These are simple, indispensable practices that almost seem mundane when we talk about them… No one can do these things for us—these are personal practices and habits that set us apart as strong and immovable for that which is correct.” (Sister Julie B. Beck, General Relief Society meeting, October 2007)
“Some uses of individual and family time are better, and others are best. We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.” (Dallin H. Oaks, October 2007 General Conference)
Four things which are essential to strengthening home and families:
Family Home Evening
Every Monday night. And make sure each one includes gospel instruction.
Meaningful Family Prayer
Twice a day. President James E Faust in the October 2005 Ensign of an experience that a bishop had with President Kimball.
“Years ago, Bishop Stanley Smoot was interviewed by President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985). President Kimball asked, ‘How often do you have family prayer?’ Bishop Smoot answered, ‘We try to have family prayer twice a day, but we average about once.’ President Kimball responded, ‘In the past, having family prayer once a day may have been all right. But in the future it will not be enough if we are going to save our families.’”
Family Scripture Study
Each child has their own copy of the scriptures with a marking pencil. The scriptures are a workbook. Each child should also have their own copy of the General Conference Ensign and there should be family home evenings taught of that.
Attend regularly and consistently.
The parenting class teacher encourages us to do, with exactness, those four things. I first took this class a year ago (yes, it is my second time in the class…and if you think I need to retake it, just know that there are others that have been attending 5+ years!) and I have to admit that I have made great strides in those four areas–I am not quite to the exactness part, but I have improved immensely.
How I am doing:
Family Home Evening–we are pretty consistent and usually have gospel instruction. I would like to add more lessons coming from talks from General Conference.
Meaningful Family Prayer–we do alright at night prayers, but we could improve our morning prayers (like actually have them) and improve the “meaningful” part.
Family Scripture Study–We do great at reading…but we should improve the “study” part. Occasionally we ask the girls questions about what we read. I am going to improve my efforts when checking for understanding and application. (See this post about understanding and application.)
Temple Attendance–This is the area where I have seen the biggest improvement in myself. Thanks to several friends who have helped me get there by inviting me and being so consistent when going.