Hello! It’s Veronica and I’m so happy to be back! For many, including us, school just started again. (WHERE DOES THE SUMMER GO?!) But, many of you still have a few more weeks of summer left. I thought I would share one of our favorite back to school traditions with you. This back to school Family Night is important to us!
I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and every year before school starts we have a tradition of giving father’s blessings to our children right before school starts. It’s something that is very important to our family and many others. Regardless of beliefs or religion, I believe there is great strength that can come as we seek God’s help and protection over our children as they begin school.
This month, I thought I’d share a fun Family Night to help our kids understand why we do this. But first, what is Family Night? Members of our church have been counseled to set aside one night a week to be focused on spending time as a family. We call it Family Night or Family Home Evening. In our crazy, busy world, it is rarely convenient or easy to commit to doing it. But, I have seen the difference that comes when we are willing to gather our families and take a break from the chaos of the world once a week. Thomas S. Monson said, “The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest.” I would suggest finding one day that typically works and sticking with that day. Many families use Monday. Once you choose a day, stick with it! For example, when everyone knows that Monday is Family Night, they know that nothing else gets planned on Monday. Sometimes this gets tricky, but I promise you won’t regret it. As a couple, take time to discuss the needs of your family. What are their struggles individually? What are certain struggles in the home? Use these Family Nights to tackle some of these issues in fun ways. On this blog, if you do a search for Family Night ideas, you will find many that you can use or adapt to your own individual needs. You can also find many ideas on Pinterest. You can search for Family Night or Family Home Evening ideas.
So, back to my Family Night for this month! This is just an outline for you to use. Many times, our nights are so crazy, so I try to come up with ideas that aren’t super complicated.
Back to School Family Night – A Father’s Blessing:
Select one child to stand. Give them something heavy to hold (like a bag of flour) and ask them to hold it straight out and explain that they cannot let their arms fall. (Use something that’s appropriate for their age. You need this to be difficult for them for the object lesson to work. If it seems too easy, be prepared to add another heavy item, so that they have one in each hand.) Tell them that when they feel like they can no longer do it by themselves, to speak up. As soon as they ask for help, have a “helper” go help them hold their arms up. Next, choose another child to be the “thrower”. Give them a bunch of marshmallows (or something soft and easy to throw). Their job is to throw the marshmallows and try to hit the person holding the heavy object. As soon as you see them hit their target, ask for a volunteer to be the “protector”(Dad would be a good one) to come stand in front of the person(s) holding the heavy object and shield the person from being hit by the marshmallows. Give the “protector” a pillow, large piece of cardboard, cookie sheet or something else for them to use as a shield. After a few minutes, have everyone sit back down.
Talk about the object lesson.
- What are some challenges kids their age face in school? (The heavy object in their hands)
- What are some things that give them strength? (The “helper”) Discuss the importance of good friends, daily prayers, making good choices, etc.
- What does Heavenly Father provide for us that helps? (The “protector”) The Holy Ghost (direction, protection and guidance), priesthood blessings, answers to prayers, etc.
Share your thoughts on Father’s Blessings. What are they? Why do we give them? How do they help strengthen us and protect us?
**For those who aren’t members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: A simple explanation of a father’s blessing is when a father prays for each child individually regarding specific needs that each child might have. Growing up, these blessings from my dad gave me great strength. He never let us start the school without them. I always felt stronger and more protected because of them.
Once the lesson is done, give each child a Father’s Blessing.
There is great strength, help and protection available as we involve Heavenly Father in all the aspects of our lives. After you are done with everyone’s blessings, hand them a piece of paper and have them write down the things that stood out in their blessing. Have them tuck it in their journal, scriptures or somewhere else they’ll remember. Encourage them to pull it out throughout the school year as they face different struggles. Challenge your children to pray daily and to turn to Heavenly Father for help and strength this school year.
This is our favorite part of Family Night! Did you see these adorable ruler cookies from last year? They are super cute and easy! They would be the perfect way to end your Back to School Family Night.
Usually I do a printable that goes with the lesson that you can put up to remind your family of what you discussed. But, this month I decided to do one of the importance of Family Night. For many, Family Night has become a habit and they are having great success doing it. But, many others struggle. My challenge to you is to print this out and put it somewhere you can see it. Hopefully it will remind you that the things we teach in our home can have a powerful and lasting impact in the lives of our family members. We just have to make the time to do it. 🙂
Best of luck to all you mamas as the school year begins! It’s a stressful, crazy time for our families, but don’t forget that we are capable of handling really hard things…and capable of handling those hard things well. 🙂 See you next month!
For more back to school and family night ideas, try these posts: