Monday, January 17, 2022

A...brief...spiritual thought

Now that our family is more on the big side rather than the small side, we thought we'd institute another Family Home Evening job—a spiritual thought.

Our FHE structure is really fairly relaxed. Someone usually gives a lesson. This lesson may be well-planned out or could be an on-the-fly lesson when we realize we forgot to have anyone prepare a lesson. Someone gets to act as conductor and that person gets to choose who chooses the opening song and who says the opening prayer. Alexander is very often the conductor. Andrew is usually in charge of "calendar" (which my family growing up called "family business) simply because he's dependable about having his phone on him (I, on the other hand, currently have no idea where my phone is other than it's in the house, so I'm not usually in charge of family calendar time). Sometimes someone will make a treat. That someone is usually Rachel. Sometimes we'll have an activity (Andrew's playing Settlers with the big kids right now). 

So that's our wishy-washy FHE structure: conductor, opening song, opening prayer, calendar, lesson, treat, activity.

That's seven things and there were seven of us and this worked well. We didn't always do all the things, but we usually did some of the things. And that was good enough for us.

But now there are eight of us, so there wouldn't be a job for everyone (besides the fact that we don't always have someone in charge of a treat or activity). Plus the kids are getting older and are ready for more responsibility besides picking their favourite primary song (to Rachel and Miriam's credit, they often give lessons (something Benjamin and Zoë have only started to do)).

So, we added a spiritual thought portion to our FHE routine at the beginning of the year. We explained to the kids that a spiritual thought is simply a short idea that they found uplifting—it could be a scripture, it could be a quote, etc.—they just read it and tell us why they liked it or what it means to them. Short and sweet.

Rachel gave our spiritual thought last week. Benjamin was in charge of the spiritual thought this week.

He watched a little YouTube video about highlights from General Conference, picked a quote he liked, and wrote it down on a piece of paper so he could read it during FHE. He left this little scrap of paper on the end table of our TV room (where we'd be holding FHE since Miriam had prepared a slideshow presentation* and would be using the TV screen for that) while he did his chores (he's our floor-ist this week, so he needed to sweep around the dining room table after dinner). 

When Andrew, Rachel, and I (with Phoebe) started heading to the TV room to gather for FHE, Benjamin dropped the broom and bolted ahead of us to the TV room so that he could grab his paper so we wouldn't read it ahead of time. 

"Oooh! What's that?" Rachel asked.

"My spiritual thought. I don't want you to read it before family night! Oh, no! I don't have any pockets! Uhhhhh..."

And with that Benjamin crammed his spiritual thoughts down the front of his flannel pyjama bottoms (which he'd changed into after getting drenched playing out in the snow).**

"Did you just stick your spiritual thought in your underwear?!" Rachel shrieked. 

"No! It's between my underwear and my pants! I can't help that I don't have pockets!"

So, anyway, when it was time for Benjamin to give his spiritual thought, Andrew prompted Alexander to turn the time over to Benjamin for his "underwear talk," so Alexander did. And Benjamin stood up and extracted his spiritual thought from...his pants.

Now, I've never had one of those FHE assignment boards and can't really say that I want one, but I joked that we should make one with an assignment for "underwear talk" just for a conversation starter or something. So we laughed about incorporating "underwear talk" as family parlance for "spiritual thought" and I said...

"Yeah, because a spiritual thought is brief!"

I tell you, my comedic timing had never been better and we all laughed until tears were streaming down our faces. 

And then we settled down and listened seriously to Benjamin's "underwear talk," which was brief (and wonderful).

And, honestly, I don't see us ever going back to the way things were before we had weekly underwear talks.

* Miriam's presentation was on Shadrach Holdaway, whose wife was Lucinda Haws. When Miriam said this, Andrew exclaimed, "Lucinda Haws?! Are you for real? She's totally famous!!"

"Are you sure?" I asked. "I don't remember her doing anything particularly...famous."

Andrew pulled out his phone (because you know he had it on him) and looked her up. He didn't find anything very famous about her, either. 

"That's so weird. I know that name from somewhere. I swear she's famous."

"Could it be..." I suggested, "Could it be that we've already done a family history lesson on her and that's what you know her from?"

"Yes, yes," Andrew said, turning off his phone. "That sounds entirely possible, yes."

** Alexander woke up this morning and had the following exchange with Zoë...

Alexander: Whoa! Guess what! There’s something a little weird—it didn’t snow but the snow is still there!!
Zoë: That’s the way that snow works. 
Alexander: But how?!
Zoë: It just stays until it melts. 
Alexander: But HOW?!

This poor southern boy can't wrap his head around the physics of snow. 

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