Lazy Family Night

Let’s be frank. Family home evening isn’t my best bit of mothering. Don’t get me wrong, 80% of the time we manage a prayer, a song, some random bit of lesson that may or may not be scripturally based, almost always followed by a rousing game of charades.

I am bad at FHE. I know it’s one of the most important things we can do, and I feel desperate to fulfill this part of parenting, but I didn’t grow up with it. It’s hard to do something that you only did on the random occasion when you were all locked in the car waiting for Dad to finish his business deal, and Mom had a church magazine handy.

But last night I had a full blown revelation. Actually, I got it last week and it stuck around, so I thought that for once, it must be a valid idea.

We decided to do a Title of Tintle’s, kind of like Moroni’s Title of Liberty. Actually, it was nothing like the Title of Liberty, but I wanted some kind of scriptural reference so my kids wouldn’t think us complete heathens.

We took a big piece of poster board, gave everyone crayons, and proceeded to come up with words and phrases that describe our family (only the good/hopeful ones, not the bad/realistic ones). We talked about loyalty and listening, paying compliments and showing affection. We wrote about patience, love, Jesus, playing games, being together, vacationing, playing in the backyard, jokes, and paint. The paint was Harrison’s idea.

It is currently posted in my kitchen, and every time I walk by it, I feel this little stirring of hope that maybe, just maybe, my kids will turn out okay. Maybe they’ll eventually stop hitting each other and lying to us, and maybe they’ll actually learn to like cleaning toilets (I slipped that one in when no one was watching).

The point is, we can’t predict what our family will be, but if I’ve learned anything from famous goal setters and dreamers, it’s that we can do more than hope for the best, we can and should reach for it.

(I’ll let you know how the toilet cleaning works out._


  1. Good for you, Annie. My own experience convinces me that you are right on. The thing with FHE is persistence. I love that talk Elder Bednar gave a few conferences ago about how their’s weren’t always all they wanted them to be.

    The other thing I think you are right is that you can sculpt your family identity. We now have 5 kids between three and a junior in high school. They are their own people for sure. But as parents, the priorities and basic values we established (good or bad) have definitely shaped the family dynamic. Your kids are blessed to have you!

  2. I think that is fun. Can I come next time?

  3. You give me hope. We call our FHE the “Family Hell Night” because its the only time we have family fights that start and end with prayer.

    For example:
    The teen girl gets offended that we didn’t come up with an example for her, and instead made her think “You don’t even KNOW me!!”

    The teen boy stares off into space and we literally have to yell at him to yank him back to planet earth.

    That’s a spirit killer.

    The little girl gets mad because the baby touched her, and WHY DOES SHE GET TO SIT ON YOUR LAP??

    The baby keeps poking everyone and doing somersaults and the dog literally runs around in circles on the perimeter trying to incite the natives into rioting. I know its the dogs secret plan to lead a mutiny on the parents and last week? They almost succeeded.

    And, yet we keep trying. Why? Because the blessing DO come. Not in the actual Family Home Evening event itself, but rather years later when your kids are trying to raise their own children. They will REMEMBER that their parents did it, and they turned out OK, so it MUST WORK!

  4. We had a lazy FHE, too. It went something like, “Did you prepare a lesson?”
    “Nope. You?”
    “Nope. You have any ideas?”
    “Nope. The kids wanted to play Rockband.”
    “Well, we should have some kind of lesson first.”

    They’re just lucky I turned off Dancing with the Stars.

  5. I’m the opposite – I grew up in a family that did FHE every week. And I mean EVERY week. I think we’ve done it maybe 10 times. In 18 years of marriage.

    I think you’re doing awesome!


  6. We simply spend time together as a family and call it FHE – because if we label it Family Home Evening, it gets ruined. And yes, I count going out for ice cream on Monday night.

  7. Even though I’m not leaving a couple of comments, just know that I’ve been reading through your blog and loving all of it. Despite awful kidney infections (and yes, I’ve so been there) and swelling cup sizes, laundry cursings, and puppy-eye juice theivery, your blog is just full of brightness. I love it here.

  8. Love it. This filled me with smiles.

  9. Hey, you’re cool. We did that, sort of, but we called it nothing cute, and we did i on the laptop, and there it remains. And the toilets? Dont’ count on it. But the rest? Does get better and better.

  10. I have to give a 20 minute sacrament talk on FHE in about a weeks time. So not looking forward to it. In fact, as my husband is the Bishop I can’t believe he agreed to it in the first place. After all he attends our family home evenings, he knows what they are like, he knows the truth. As far as I am concerned there are 3 groups of people when it comes to FHE. A: those that don’t do it. B: those that live in la-la land, i.e. happy people whose kids love it and look forward to it. C: those that live in the war zone and dread it. We are officially war zone people. Any suggestions for the talk gratefully recieved.

  11. Received. Yes, I can spell.

  12. At least you do it! We’re not consistent with ours, and when we do, I put my 5-year-old in charge. 🙂 I figure she gets more out of it that way! 🙂 (or I’m lazy, one or the other…)