Friday, April 24, 2009

How to Have a Family Night- part 2

The "praise part" of family business is a good thing to do during this family hour but be careful of the "needs improvement" part of this business. That part of a family discussion might be more successfully done on another night. Beginning a night with a bunch of complaints, and goals unmet sets a tone that might encourage your friends and family to avoid the next night of family complaints and disappointments. I have a friend who uses this family moment to go around the room and each person tells something great that another family member has done. If you have friends coming to your family night..put their names in a hat and everyone picks a name and tells what they appreciate about that person. The goal here is unity and love --shown through the appreciation of each person gathered around your family night table.
This is a great time to teach the principles and ideas that will help your family (and friends) withstand the challenges of living in the wild world that they face outside the walls of your home. Our job is to lift up the minds and hearts of each little or big person who is with us. Our job is not
to preach, and preach, and then preach some more. This message can be taught by anyone in the family..of any age. Remember, "He who teaches, learns the most." The more that you can get all of the family involved with good questions, object lessons, and hands on ideas to teach them.. the better. This is also a place where we get in a rut.. we teach the same way every Monday. This is the moment to create memories, so start using your imagination. We have kept a family night journal. In it we recorded all the events of the night, including a recipe for our family night dessert. In this written record, we can relearn, and reread all the important principles that we may have missed the first time a lesson was taught. You are creating your own little family "scriptures" full of personal memories, and stories that you have shared. Take a few pictures of your events and you will have created a valuable treasure that your grandchildren can read.

Don't leave this part out. There are many games and activities to have after the lesson. I will include some of the things that we are doing at our outreach center here-- that all ages can enjoy. You can have a short game, like the memorable thimble game that involves a thimble filled with water..(I will give you the rules later), or a board game, or a game that someone has made up to go along with your lesson. In a few weeks, we are going to show the film "8 Below" to our young adults. We have added an icecream social to the event because it is about the snow dogs in the antartic. Love having an activity like homemade icecream, connected to a snow movie. Themes are very fun to have according to season, or holidays that are coming up. All of us love to look forward to activities that are unusual and fun.

This is a favorite part of family night. If you have no dessert ready, create one on the spot. You could bake a simple batch of cookies together or a milkshake, or slush. You could make french toast, or go to the store together and get popsicles or icecream cones. The goal here is to have a relaxed, happy time together.

Family prayer can close your family night. You may want to do this before you serve dessert. This is a time to mention everyone who came by name, and to thank God for each of them. Next post: Final family night thoughts-

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