For FHE (Family Home Evening or Family Night as we often call it around here) this week we finally did something that we have been wanting to do for ages.
With so many outside influences swirling around our kids, we have talked for a long time about how we want our home to be a “safe place.” I talked back here about “thin places” and I really want our home to be a thin place.
We decided to dedicate this FHE to talking about our home, and then dedicate our home. I have always loved the Jewish tradition of the “mezuzah”, so I guess you can call this our LDS version of that ritual or tradition; although it’s not something that everyone does. We just felt we wanted to do it and thought the beginning of the year was the time to do it.
Rob started out by sharing some thoughts about our home and what kind of home we desire to have (Rob and I had discussed these things beforehand and shared what we each envisioned for our family and our home). He shared the desire for our home to be an inviting place for all of us and those who visit. It should be a home of learning and education, where we seek to share wisdom and develop skills. He encouraged us to only bring into our homes the books, movies, videos, and games that would uplift and inspire and be in keeping with our values. He talked about our marital commitment and fidelity – and that setting the tone that our kids feel safe and stable and can live in a home where conflict is limited and love is in abundance. He shared with the kids the deep responsibility that we feel as parents to advise, teach, guide, serve, lead, and love. While they may disagree at times with us, it is from a place of deep commitment and love. He also talked about the enjoyment, fun and life long relations and traditions we are building. Finally, he shared the importance of order,cleanliness, self reliance and self control. All things that we can work on together to make our home a better place to live.
We tied a couple of scriptures into our discussion that fit our desires:
D&C 87:8 “Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord.”
To us, our home is one of the holiest places on earth, so this verse is quite fitting to us.
D&C 88: 119 “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.”
This verse is one some of the kids have even memorized, and is one that frequently hangs on our kitchen wall.
So, we talked about the meaning of these verses to us and our interpretations of them.
Finally, we had everyone think of one word (or a couple of words, or a short sentence) that described each person’s desire for our home to be, or how they want to feel when they are in our home.
It may sound goofy, but when you give kids a chance to speak things from their soul and share their feelings, they can say some pretty profound and beautiful things. (We actually recorded what they said so in years to come we can look back on it).
Here’s what each person came with (and a little bit of their explanation of what they mean):
Rob: “Unlimited”: represents unlimited love, unlimited trust, unlimited patience (ha), unlimited faith, unlimited strength, unlimited potential.
Me: “Thin place”: I want our home to be a place where heaven and earth meet – often. Where we share moments that are almost sacred to us.
Gabe: “Safe Haven”: a place to come to escape all the craziness.
Zandra: “The light in the darkness”: in dark times, our home can always be the light.
Zach: “Peaceful”: somewhere I can go to not be stressed.
Josh: “Unity” : somewhere where we can always be together
Sam: “Loyalty” : we can always count on each other.
Reggie: “Walk”: because that is the word that gets him absolutely excited and he loves it the most:)
We then went under our dining room table, and each wrote our “words” at our place setting. (When we first got this new table, we went under it and signed our names at our place settings, so it was fun to go back under and add to our table art.)
We marked this special occasion with a special dinner as well, so the kids really understand that it was important to us.
Finally, Rob said a prayer about out home; words that touched us all and I’m sure we will all remember the feeling we had when that prayer was being given. I certainly think we had a thin moment in this thin place.
I want our home to be all those things that our kids expressed they wanted, and all those things that Rob said we desired for our family. Doing this, I hope, will help us be a little bit more mindful of the importance of our home.