FHE zealots

Last night at a small Relief Society function the idea that Family Home Evening should only be on Monday nights and the support of any activities that occur on Monday night are in essence bad was shortly discussed. The feeling I came away with from the discussion was if you don’t hold family home evening on Monday nights and you support functions that are on that night your bad. Like you can’t hold family home evening on any other night of the week?
The Church has delegated Monday night Family Home Evening night (FHE), so as a consensus you don’t bother other church leaders on this night. Meetings can be held on any other night of the week and often you can find that a meeting or activity is being held on other nights of the week. As a church leader you have numerous meeting to attend and as a member you have numerous activities to attend, all of which will have certain church leaders there. So Monday is the one day sanctioned by the Church for FHE because you may have to do other things all the other days of the week.  I think it’s an extreme to say that you can never do any other activity on Monday.  Some extreme members might even say doing other things on Monday night would be similar to breaking the Sabbath like having a sports function on Sunday or a party.
The problem presented was a change in a school practice that is regularly held on Tuesday night to Monday night.  The mother was upset that there were 7 LDS members our of 9 on this board and 6 out of the 7 LDS member voted it was OK to hold the practice on Mondays, which they were changing so they could get more help from other experts in this field and better the children in the activity. (I know it’s vague, but I’m wanting to keep it vague.) The idea was how could these good upstanding LDS parents allow an activity to take place on FHE night, and what are they not doing that they’re OK with putting the practise first rather than the family. It was also mentioned that the instructor himself was LDS, so why would he want to change it in the first place? I was being timid and not wanting to start a debate, but really do we have to do FHE on Monday? Can’t we say okay we have no school or other activities on Thursday night, this is the night we’ll do FHE and  if something comes up that’s important we’ll skip it or discuss changing it for that week or all go as a family for the activity. I once had an institute leader give the example  of his daughter needing to put up posters for school on a Monday night and they all went as a family to help since it was FHE.
I find it funny that people judge others by the fact that they’re okay with having something on Monday so they must not do FHE. This change was for the better of the kids. I went to school on Monday nights for some of my college classes and we held FHE on Wednesday,  was I bad for wanting to better myself at something just because I did it on a Monday night?
I find it to be an extreme thought that you can only do something on one certain night a week because that’s when it’s been instructed and supported by the Church.  I think that somewhat overshadows the fact that we need to be gathering as a family at least one night a week, the night doesn’t really matter.
Do we have to sacrifice bettering ourselves for coming closer as a family? In which FHE might not really work, even though every leader will support it, but if you have a wayward teenager FHE may do nothing to help the family come closer. Might our children in the end become negative and hold a grudge if they’re not allowed to pursue their dream because it was held on a Monday night? (Yes, it’s FHE so it should be the family night and the argument of being able to do things on Sunday for fear of a grudge might be substituted, but what I’m talking about is a night that you have with your family that does not deal with Sabbath day worship but as bonding as a family and having spiritual lessons)
What if we decide to have FHE instead of having them go to weekly church functions. Are we  bad parents then?

We don’t hold FHE regularly. I’m in charge of it now and since we’re together almost every night and I’m with the girls all day long I find it a daunting task and I’m never quite sure what to do to interest the girls. We have been pretty regular in the past, but it’s hard. We try to delegate a night that is FHE and we usually end up watching a movie and having something special as a treat. With  having the Gospel Art Kit I’ll pull out pictures and try to tell a gospel story sometimes. We just haven’t done this lately. So maybe this comes from my guilt of neglecting FHE, but really I think sometimes we miss the mark if we’re focused to much on the little things rather than the big picture.
My kids are young and not involved yet in things for the church like activity days (for the 8- 11 year old girls) or mutual (once you’re in Young woman’s- 12-18), and they don’t have any outside hobbies just yet, besides dance, but that’s once a week when it’s occurring, so maybe as I get older our week might fill up and we may have things every night, and then the weekends are hard because of date night and our girls wanting to go out with friends. Maybe it could then be an afternoon, say Saturday afternoon you spend time with family, it is after all only two hours or so one night a week.
I guess I’m trying to balance the busy world with family life, but in the end I don’t want my kids to be in five different activities or sports and I hope that my callings in church don’t require me to be out 3-5 nights a week every week because of meetings and serving others. I know the goal of FHE is to have time together as a family to look at gospel teachings, but does God care if I hold it a different night than Monday? I personally don’t think so.
I think I might hold FHE on Tuesday’s just for fun, so whatever you do don’t call on Tuesday nights. 😉

5 Responses to “FHE zealots”

  1. Emelie Says:

    Well FHE will always be controversial – I think because there are too many of us who feel like we aren’t good at it, or consistant enough, and from that stems a feeling of resentment against being told when to do it. Just remember that its for your family, and when you do it is totally up to your family. Just do it! Haha.
    My personal opinion is that the church leaders just want us to be able to make our family time a priority instead of feeling overwhelmed with all we have to do and feeling like we never have any family time. This way there is an allowance for it that for most is taken for granted. But life is not perfect and not everyone can have it on the same night. So do what works for you.
    And just like when you do it, what you do is up to your family too. Right now when our kids are little just going to the park together is FHE for us! Just the habit of doing it will make it easer to stick to it and the topics will gain depth and understanding as our children do.
    But I do think that once they are in primary, like lilah, that FHE is the perfect time for you to go over what she has learned the past sunday. Having you share all that with her will help her remember, understand and love it all the more. Look up the lessons on the church website and follow along. She will love it and she will probably be more interested becase she will remember things as you are discussing the lessons. Good luck!

  2. Jonathan Blake Says:

    This isn’t coming from the atheist Jonathan; I would have also said this as a believer. Sometimes we latch onto a goal for all the best reasons, then over time we lose sight of what those reasons were. We become fanatical about the methods we have used to achieve the goal and forget that there may be other ways to achieve it.

    You’re right: FHE is all about family togetherness. If you achieve that goal, mission accomplished. The Monday thing was just a pragmatic attempt to prevent church activities from squeezing out family time which they have a tendency to do. It may work in a predominantly LDS area to also block out Monday nights against non-church activities, but it doesn’t make sense in a diverse area like we live in. Should Jews insist that no community activities take place on Saturday? Should Muslims insist that we also reserve Fridays? In a secular society (i.e. a society which separates church and state), it is impossible to justify enforcing your personal religious observances on others.

    The following is coming from the heretic Jonathan. If a child is old enough to choose to be baptized, they should also be old enough to choose whether or not they observe the Sabbath. Granted you can’t leave an eight-year-old at home alone when you go to church, for example, but children should be allowed to choose to pursue an activity on Sunday if that is your choice. They either are or are not ready to make religious decisions at the age of eight.

  3. Jonathan Blake Says:

    Correction: Children should be allowed to choose to pursue an activity on Sunday if that is their choice.

  4. Amber Says:

    Sometimes we latch onto a goal for all the best reasons, then over time we lose sight of what those reasons were. We become fanatical about the methods we have used to achieve the goal and forget that there may be other ways to achieve it.

    I’m going to agree with Jonathan here. My parents were actually pretty good at FHE with 9 kids and although they were very ‘letter of the law’ they actually were closer to ‘spirit of the law’ with FHE. I think that’s what made it work. Sunday nights we did the traditional lesson along with ‘calandar time’ so everyone was on the same page for the week. Sunday nights weren’t really optional. Occasionally things came up- but on a general note everyone was there. Monday nights we did something fun. Went to the park and played frisbee, went swimming, played night games together, played board game, went to plays, movies or other events. Or sometimes we did service or whatever. But mondays were generally not traditional ‘song, prayer, lesson, prayer, treat’ nights. They were ‘fun together’ nights. They were also pretty much optional. But generally attendance was high because it was fun. Worked for us. We try to do this at our house- although we have our own take on it right now. Our kids are little (like yours) so we’ll have a 5 minute lesson and then go for a bike ride or a walk or we’ll skip the lesson and go to the park for dinner and playing. We do try to make sure there is a lesson every other week- but the goal is to spend time together on a regular basis discussing the gospel. I feel like we meet that goal. There are LOTS of other things we’re supposed to do that we don’t- but we’re stellar at FHE. (But obviously I”m falling short of humility).

    I’m finding that by living in Utah I’m seeing/hearing a LOT more of the sort of things you described and it bothers me. I went from being ‘very religious and conservative’ living in Las Vegas- to being ‘Very libral and laid back religiously’ in Utah- without changing anything about how I do things.


  5. Nice neice Says:

    Interesting post…and very common for these days. I too have encountered “FHE zealots”, although not as directly as in your case. I agree with you that FHE can be any night of the week, but I do think that it should be planned ahead. When Nick was in school, there were many times that he had classes only offered on Monday nights, and so we would have Tues. FHE. As long as we set that time aside, we did it. But if we were like,”We can’t do Monday, so we’ll try to fit it in sometime this week.” it never happened.

    As for the FHE part with little kids, what works for us is making it short and sharing responsibilities. I usually do the (3-5 minute) lesson, but the boys (and Nick) get to take turns praying, reading a scripture (repeating what we read), or picking the family game. The game is their favorite part, and we have played board games, tball, gone on walks, occasionally we forgo the “game” and go for a special treat like ice cream.

    Also, I started reading to them at bedtime out of the Friend, along with their other stories. This brings gospel related topics and terminology into everyday life. This way it becomes easy and less pressure to have gospel centered time, although it obviously doesn’t replace FHE.

    As for the FHE zealots, I don’t know what to say….other than judging them for their FHE night choices, as those people were, is probably worse than making the choice. 🙂 Luv ya, Shauntae