- Read Elder Ballard’s Conference talk on “Family Counsels”. I want you to read this and give yourself credit for what you are doing right. My guess is that you are doing 2 or 3 of them correctly. I want you to say you are doing something correctly.
Last week we talked about Rites of Passage and Daily Order. This dove tails into order and rites of passage.
When you think about traditions your families had in growing up….Thanksgiving, birthdays, summer….what are your best memories.
Class member: 8 kids in our family and Dad would take one of us out for a breakfast each Saturday by ourselves.
Class member: 5th grade-high school we would get KFC on Labor Day.
Class member: I am the youngest of 6. I think they got tired and didn’t do it. I can’t have anything.
Class member: I was the oldest of 10 and I was gone when they were doing those activities and I wasn’t part of them.
Our family has a family reunion and they do “Remember When…” I love that!
There are 4 needs that every human being has.
- A need to feel like they belong
- A need for a strong sense of identity, to know who they are
- As they belong in the group they still have to feel like they are an individual and bring that individuality to the group and their own identity.
- One of my daughters never gained a sense of who she was as a person. She was whatever she was doing instead of she was a strong individual who chooses to do something.
- A need to feel accepted by others
- A need for emotional and physical security
- Emotional security comes when you aren’t criticized or belittled.
When you become an adult and you are feeling lonely or no one listens it usually boils down to you feeling a lack in one of these 4 areas. If we can keep these things strong in our kids it will help keep our kids from feeling lost.
The reality of a child is what they perceive. It’s not necessarily true. My daughter was accepted and loved, but she didn’t perceive her individuality as being important. Her perception IS her truth! You have to be continually be asking questions and watching to see what your children think about themselves.
The purpose of traditions is to cement the unique individuals together as they go back and say, “remember when…” they recognize themselves as being bonded and part of the family.
The problem with traditions and you have a lot of family traditions and you marry someone with lots of family traditions. Those things become ‘doctrine’ in your family. When you try to mesh two concrete rights together there are conflicts. Then you add ‘in-laws’ into the picture and it is hard.
Both Mike & I came from homes with no traditions so we had a whole lot of nothing.
One type is INTENTIONAL!
Doing something over and over makes it a tradition. One time is an event.
President James Faust said,
“Develop family traditions. Some of the great strengths of families can be found in their own traditions, which may consist of many things: making special occasions of the blessing of children, baptisms, ordinations to the priesthood, birthdays, fishing trips, skits on Christmas Eve, family home evening, and so forth. The traditions of each family are unique and are provided in large measure by the mother’s imprint.” Ensign, May 1983)
Mothers tend to create these events. We are more emotionally attached.
One type is and EVENT that they WANT to happen again.
Example: I have a sister that has boys. She decided that on the last day of school they would have a whipped cream fight all over the back yard. When school came to the end they asked if it would happen again.
What you thought was an event becomes a tradition. Some of them you plan and some of them just happen. Those traditions bind your family together.
- What traditions do you have in your family?
- What does your family do to play together?
- Do you feel your family needs some new traditions?
- Is smiling and being happy one of your daily traditions?
What does your home smell like? I asked my kids what they remembered and they said homemade bread. They would eat 4 loaves of homemade bread every day. They remember that smell.
What does your home sound like? They said elevator music. That’s what I liked to play. The whole time they are growing up they hated it, but now that is what they play in their homes.
How do you meet and greet in your home? Do you meet at greet? Do you do it with a smile? Are you happy? Will your children remember that you were happy? Were you focused…not mad, but focused? Do you have dinner together every night? FHE? Family prayer? Family scriptures? Bedtime routine?
EXAMPLE: I used to have what I called my “hall of fame”. It was a long hallway in our home with my children’s pictures on both sides. On one side was their baby pictures, and on the other side I had fifty some pictures in varying sizes and frames. Pictures of them doing things they loved. The walls spoke of my love for them and my pride in them.
They watched themselves grow up on that hall and watched their success on their home. Every one of their friends would look at those pictures. It became a place visual and very public that they could acknowledge successes.
I had their baby pictures on the other side of the hall. I loved my babies and eventually changed them with wedding pictures.
Class member: I didn’t realize this was a bedtime tradition until my son pointed it out. My 3 yr old was helping me put down the 9 yr old down because he was sick and my 1 yr old needed a nap. My 3 yr old said, “I love you. Goodnight my princes.”
That’s where I see traditions binding them together.
Their Eagle plaques and mission plaques hanging on the wall. You don’t have to teach the lecture all the time.
Some of you look at it like a day off from your calling. Sometimes children don’t like it.
Conference needs to be something that your children are saying ‘When is Conference?”
In these days we have to make our children yearn for the teaching of conference. How do you make Conference so exciting for them they can’t wait for it to come?!?
In the beginning they aren’t going to come and listen to conference. Your job is to create an environment, feeling, activities, atmosphere so that they want to be there more than anyone else.
EXAMPLE: My son would take an afghan and roll it up like a snake and make a circle. That was his nest and no one can get in his place.
Saturday was the day that I made special breakfast. We had cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate and junk cereal. Afternoon session was chips and dips, fruit, carrots. When they were little you can go on lds.org and print out a Conference activity notebook. They have Bingos in there. They have candy for the bingo games.
I would recommend before each conference you take the opportunity to learn about them First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. We talked about their life history. We would play memory games. I would have cards with just their name on it. We would have contests to see who could put them in order the fastest. Then when they speak at conference they can say…what was his name? what did he do as a profession? Under their pictures we would put the topic on there. When the Ensigns came out they would each get their own issue. We would use it for Family Devotional or FHE.
Each child that is old enough have their own Conference Notebook. It’s for taking notes at Conference. It’s their and it’s individual. I would put the pictures of the General Authorities where they see the 15 and they can identify who they are. As little people they draw pictures and they get older they take notes.
Put their Conference Notebooks away on a shelf. The next Conference they write their notes for the next Conference.
Consider actually going to the church for the Women’s Session or the Priesthood Session. I would suggest you use that evening to go out for treats. That makes them think it’s a really fun evening.
Class member: We started General Conference Apostle Dream team. They would be assigned a color. They would pick their first apostle and highlight their names. When their apostle talked they got their activity or treat.
http://www.carleentanner.com/general-conference.html (General Conference Traditions that have been submitted)
It takes effort to make Conference fun. Whatever feelings they feel they transfer to the apostles. You are creating the environment. If I can help them feel loved when they come in now they come in and give me a hug and they miss me when I’m not there. If I can help them feel that when they walk in the door then I have succeeded.
2. Make this Conference special.
Class member: My sister does a ‘tech fast’ before conference. It’s interesting to see that they are on board.
Class member: I struggle because I’m not sure what the right answer is. Sometimes people invite you over because it’s fun to do it together, but I feel like the kids are distracted and I don’t get as much out of it. I don’t know what the best approach is.
If you feel like you really want to be with this family you can invite them to FHE and have a great time. Don’t sacrifice your family to help someone else have fun.
Class member: There was a lady that commented on inviting a non-member neighbor to Conference. It ended up being a good thing.
You aren’t inviting them over to play. The Spirit will prompt you to do what’s right.
Need to be made a big deal of. The person needs to feel important.
You can do a red plate. The special person gets the plate. You can buy a piece of birthday fabric. In our home they picked breakfast and dinner and an activity for the family to do it.
I hate birthday parties. I don’t like inviting kids over and I don’t like my kids going over to other birthday parties. I had a friend that changed the birthday party as a service project. They tied a quilt and took it to a shelter. They collected toys for the nursery.
On special birthdays you can say we will have a ‘friend’ party as a rite of passage.
I have a chair back cover that goes over the back of the chair. During the day everyone writes a note to the bi
rthday person and put it in the pocket of the chair. We would read those at the party. If they got a gift from someone they had to say, “I love (the person giving the gift) because….”
Sometimes in our busy lives Mom buys the gifts and then the kids pick which present they want to give to the person. When we buy the gifts because our kids are busy they aren’t thinking about the person.
Let them do ‘pay’ jobs to earn the money and then take them to the Dollar Store. Do this a few weeks in advance.
There is a birthday paper that the kids had to fill out about their favorite things. It was a brief history of each year. They love to look back at it.
Class member: The only thing I can remember is that my Mom gave us a ‘purity’ ring on their 18th birthday. I write my kids a letter about special things they did that year. My plan is to give it to them on the purity ring on their 18th birthday.
Does that person feel really important?
Class member: I go to these parties that everything is so coordinated. I finally decided to let my kids decorate their own birthday cakes.
Special “love” posters between kids.
Dear Lucy---Letter about Santa
#3 Post a ‘tradition’ to the website. http://www.carleentanner.com/traditions.html (Submit it on the form at this link). You can then look at other traditions that people have submitted in previous years.