My husband usually helps with the passing of the Sacrament at church, because we have a lack of teenagers in our ward. Recently this has made my son very very excited. He loves to watch where his dad is going. Bizarrely enough, my husband helped in our old ward, because he was Deacon's leader, and my son never cared and rarely watched. During the Sacrament in order to keep him quite, I sometimes tell him things about the Priesthood, like he will get it when he is 12, and then he can pass the Sacrament. Or daddy holds the Priesthood that is why he can give blessings, remember when.... The other week for Family Home Evening we decided it would be good for my husband to give a lesson on the Priesthood for my son. I have never seen my son so excited in FHE, he loved it. To finish it off we looked through a few family pictures, and showed him pictures of his grandpa's and uncles, all the priesthood holders he is related to. That also made him pretty excited. Ever since I've been thinking, maybe we should change the way we do family home evening. A typical one in our home is sing 2-8 primary songs, and then read an article or two out of the Friend. He only cares about the Friend about 50% of the time. Then I saw this, the new nursery manual, and thought hmmm maybe we need that. Then I thought, ahh, nah, ours are fine is he only two.
I went to regional conference today. When I saw Sister Lant walk in, I thought she is totally going to talk about the new Nursery Manual. I was right. She said it will also be an excellent resource for Family Home Evenings. Then told a story about a 9 year old who was able to prepare a lesson by himself because the book is written in a non complex manner. What stood out to me was she said, "We must have meaningful family home evenings that teach and engage everyone in the family." I have always kind of figured my son got a raw deal being the oldest, because any two years olds after him we won't care if they aren't involved. Apparently that is a wrong thought. This isn't to say I expect my two year old, or any other two years I will have to follow a 20 minute lesson. But my two year does very much enjoy learning about the gospel, so why not try to teach him as much as he can understand.
At the end President Monson spoke, a few things stuck out to me in regards to teaching my two year old. First, "We do not demean the prayer of a little child. For they have more recently been with our Father in Heaven." I don't think I've ever demeaned the prayer of a child, but he said with such boldness that I keep thinking about it. He also said, "If you have small children in the home do not hesitate to teach them from the scriptures, they understand more than we give them credit for." He then talked about a child psychologist who long story short, said age 3 has the most receptablility for teaching. (The psychologist also found, that the way a child learns, changes when they are 8.)
I have sort of been thinking, I should spend more time talking about the gospel with my son, or something, but I keep shying away. But after today, heads of the church, have inspired me to act instead of just thinking. I plan on getting the new Nursery book. Also I've been thinking I need to start reading the Book of Mormon to my son, right now we only do those scripture readers. But he is very receptive every time I read it out loud to him, during my scripture study, but I usually read during his nap, because its the only spare second I have. The other day I started reading to him, and he went and grabbed another Book of Mormon so he could have his own. At that I thought oh I do need to step up in my role as his mother one of his first teachers of the gospel. But I didn't act. Hopefully hearing the Prophet's words, will help me act. Not to say that teaching the gospel to my son doesn't not totally daunt me. I think I barely know it myself how can I teach him? Or how can I read the scriptures to him, I doubt I understand well enough to explain it to him. But if I don't do it who will? Once a week in nursery is not enough.
Not that our current family home evening are bad, but he seems to get more out of when we talk about a simple principle, then when we read a story about an 8 year old. He understands the principle, well as much as a 2 year old's brain can, but he doesn't really understand the stories in the Friend beyond a story that his parents are reading. I can see the difference when we actually teach principles and his receptiveness. Although I think singing the songs with him, is one of the best things we can do with him, a friend of my mine in a Relief Society lesson said, Primary song time is like Gospel Doctrine to the kids, because everything the songs teach. Until all my kids are older, I plan on singing multiple songs with them, well either that or until my son is old enough he complains and detracts from the spirit so I have to sing the songs with the younger kids during the afternoon. If my children don't grow up to be teenagers that complain about family home evening, they will be better kids then there mother was. My other goal is to make a FHE treat every monday night, with my kid during the day. He loves helping in the kitchen. It will give us a reason to do something fun together while daddy is at work, and make FHE something more enjoyable for everyone.