Okay, I'll admit it....I have Family Home Evening envy. I am so jealous of the glossy, colored photos I see in the Ensign of families gathered around for family home evening -- perfect posture, nicely dressed, sitting at the feet of their parents with scriptures opened in their laps as they gaze adoringly at their smiling parents. That is my dream.
Our FHE is nothing even remotely close. Our kids gather for FHE only after begging them repeatedly and when they do finally gather they fidget, poke, throw pillows and cover their heads with blankets as they lay down, spread eagle on the floor all the while claiming they ARE listening! When asked to read a scripture they read it as though they have a mouth full of marbles trying desperately not to move their jaws as if they are training to be a ventriloquist.
Tonight we had a lesson on the importance of listening to prophets since General Conference is coming next weekend. Once the blankets and pillows were pried away and they were forced to sit up we gave our lesson to the murmuring crowd.... okay, there's only 3 of them as the years have whittled away the number of children at home, but I swear at any given FHE we might as well have 6 again! The kids are either getting tougher or we're getting older -- probably the latter is closer to the truth.
After the a rough patch in the lesson we got back on track and taught the lesson. Tim had planned to be Samuel the Lamanite calling us, the Nephites, to repentance upon the "wall" (line of tall stools to stand on). Just as he was going to assume his roll I saw a light bulb go off and he took Jacob across the room telling him the plan so he, Jacob, could be Samuel. Ahhh, a teaching moment for the rebellious boy. Yes, he was the disruption for FHE as he is almost every week. So Jacob became Samuel the Lamanite standing on the wall calling us to repentance as we mocked him and threw "stones" -- big marshmallows at him! What had been a rough start turned out well in the end with everyone happy with each other again. As we wrapped up our time together and got ready for prayer our cat, Mystic, jumped up on the back of the couch and layed down so nicely. She just looked like the perfect target to pellet with the marshmallows we had gathered up from trying to stone Samuel. Tim tried crowd control by saying, "Let's have prayer first, then we can stone the cat." With that comment we all started laughing and of course, then we couldn't pray. So, we stoned the cat first then prayed! :)
So I admit that each week the perfect families portrayed in the Ensign make me jealous even though I know they aren't real. One day I want Ensign magazine to come to photograph MY real life family during FHE -- a kid spread eagle on the floor under a blanket, another hanging off the arm of the couch, still another starring off into space. THAT is our reality of FHE. But, all that aside I hope that one day the kids look back on Mondays as time we always did family home evening. I am sure that they won't remember a specific lesson we taught but just maybe they will remember the the time we pelleted Jacob and the cat with "stones" and smile.