What is Family Home Evening?

As of late, I've had a number of people ask me about the LDS tradition of Family Home Evening. What is it? When do you do it? Why do you do it? All of these are fabulous questions which I will here try to describe here.

Family Home Evening (FHE) or “Family Night” is one evening or time (usually Monday nights) set aside weekly in which families gather to increase love and foster friendship by spending time together. It is a time designated for spiritual discussions, gospel learning, fun activities, making memories, and often it includes delicious treats. It is written,

Well-planned family home evenings can be a source of long-lasting joy and influence. These evenings are times for group activity, for organizing, for the expressions of love, for the bearing of testimony, for learning gospel principles, for family fun and recreation, and of all things, for family unity and solidarity. (Family Home Evenings, 1970-71, p. v — Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, and N. Eldon Tanner)

In FHE family members learn to lead meetings, share talents, learn principles and values, tune in spiritually, and have fun. While each family does FHE differently, most begin with an opening hymn followed by a prayer. The body typically consists of a family council (kind of a check in time) and a lesson with stories or object lessons such as this one. (Note: growing up, we also had a scripture or spiritual thought and a musical number.) The meeting is closed with a hymn and a prayer, after which many families then have a treat and an activity. At my house, activities range from board games and hiking, to hide-and-seek and making or watching movies. Always a blast!

I love this tradition! I cherish it! In this caring atmosphere, I have grown so close to my family—both my family of origin and my family with Bryan. In a world so intent on staying busy and getting ahead, maintaining a strong and unified family can be difficult. This custom of FHE, however, fosters family unity; this tradition keeps families in harmony. It’s amazing what even just one night can do. With school and work, it at times feels burdensome to put aside the time; the end result, however, is much more powerful and entirely worth it! I love the time I have with my family; I love that in that time I can put all of my worries aside and simply be with the ones I love. I am truly grateful for Family Home Evening.

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