Stick Together! 100 Years of Family Night

I love this photo!  My one-week-old baby, Kimberly, is nestled in my neck and my other babies are gathered around.  Could anyone be happier?  We are all holding a stick because  I had just finished teaching them about the strength that our family has when we “stick together.”   If we hold a single stick and try to break it – of course it snapped in two very easily.  When we put eight sticks together… unbreakable.  Just like our family – on our own we are weak, together we are unbreakable.

Why would a one-week-postpartum-mother-of-six take the time to gather the family for a lesson?  In the words of Tevya, “It’s TRADITION!!” (Fiddler on the Roof, of course).   Just by looking at this photo I know it is a Monday night.  Moreover, I know that the children are smiling because as soon as Mom’s lesson is over we are all going to eat a treat.  Hopefully Dad bought some ice cream…

The Armor of God

2015 marks 100 years of Family Night Tradition!  in 1915, when most families spent most of their evenings together anyway, our church leaders requested that families set aside one night a week to be together; to sing, learn, play, etc.  They promised that families would be closer, siblings would get along better, children would be more obedient, etc.  At some point in the 1960’s, as society was getting so “busy,” Monday night was reserved for families.

Mark and I both grew up in families that observed this tradition.  Even when my family didn’t have an actual lesson or activity, we were together.  Friends could be with us, but we didn’t split up to go to friends’ homes.  One summer afternoon I got a call from a boy I liked – he asked me to go to the movie with him that night… it was a Monday!  I chose family first.  Haha, he knew I didn’t go to movies on Sunday, but when I told him I couldn’t go out on Monday either, I am sure he thought I was making it up to avoid him (not true, but that’s ok now).  I guess I could have taken the rest of the family along.  I have also learned that both sets of my grandparents honored the Family Night tradition to one degree or another.

Manners are Magic
Those slips of paper (drawn
from a hat) have good
manner situations to practice.

Family Home Evening is the official title for our Monday night activities.  It has evolved and changed in our little family.  As newlyweds we didn’t do much on our own, but at least once a month we would join a cute little group of widowed ladies and take turns teaching lessons, telling stories, making treats, whatever.  I don’t remember how well we did when Nathan and Greg were babies, but by the time Jacqueline came along we never missed, and we had such fun times!  Toward the end of 1997 I started taking photos each week and recording what we did.  Sometimes we played games, sometimes we went hiking, sometimes we filled our home with friends… but we were always together.  We made assignment charts with jobs like conduct the meeting(fun for kids), choose a song, lead an activity, teach a lesson, say the prayer, make a treat.  Tracking the photos history it is easy to see that with each child I became less organized.  I think there is one photo of David as a baby, and then a few with all six of them.  Nevertheless, we persisted – our Monday night tradition rarely wavers… we just don’t take photos anymore.  I will see if there are some fun ones to post.

Noah’s Ark

This is on my mind because I have been working on scanning the photographs/summaries.  I LOVE THEM!  How fun to watch the kids grow – how fun to see how they contributed to make the evenings special.  The title of my book is “Experiment Upon the Word” – because this is what we did.  We were taught to have Family Home Evening, we believed that it would benefit our family, and so we began the Family Home Evening  Experiment – though we didn’t really realize it at the time.  What I did know is that my children were precious, and I would make every effort I could to raise them to love one another and love the Lord.

Chocolate Frosting?

Mark flew to Salt Lake City on business today.  He went a few hours early so that he could drive to Provo and see the three kids before his meetings.  He will not be there for Greg’s surgery, so he was pleased to be able to visit beforehand.


I think Greg made a game for us to play.

I have not heard the full report, but I am quite sure he did not leave them without offering a prayer/blessing together.   We are not perfect, but we do love each other.  Regular and consistent family night has paid off.  The experiment works! We have learned to stick together.

Quick cancer update – Greg is feeling fine and in great spirits.  He has dropped down to 6 credits so that he can keep his job.  He will meet with the disability office next week to discuss the rest of the semester.  It is tricky to come up with a list of accommodations when you don’t really know what the future holds…

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