Connor familiarizing himself with the leadership of the church. :)
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have the wonderful opportunity twice a year to listen to the leaders of the church speak to us, give us counsel, teach and inspire us, guide us and bring us comfort. It is broadcast from Salt Lake City to our local church buildings and if you're lucky like us, to BYUTV available by satelite.
I always look forward to Conference, for the rejuvination that I feel and the renewed determination to do better. I usually prepare in advance by praying about something I've been struggling with or something I need help with, such as a decision or just an everyday issue I want to handle better. Always, more than one talk is an answer to my prayers and direct inspiration from Heavenly Father to help me. This year was no different - in fact, it seemed every talk offered insight into my particular problem - and I'm so grateful for a loving Father that is intimately aware of me, my needs and desires and who is so willing to bless me with the grace & help I need to do better.
I want our children to develop their own testimonies of the reality of our Heavenly Father as our literal father. I want them to know, as I do, that Jesus Christ lives and is our Savior and Redeemer. I want them also to love and look forward to hearing a living prophet and apostles speak to us. Caroline was already pretty excited when I mentioned the upcoming conference last week (she couldn't wait to play bingo!) But for such little children, four 2-hour sessions spread over 2 days is a little bit much. For the last couple of years, I've had friends and family members forward me different "General Conference Packets" full of activities and ideas to help children get the most out of conference.
This year, I took several of those as well as some ideas from online to create a "Conference Zone" for Caroline & Clayton. I made them each a General Conference Folder, which I laminated (er, covered with Clear Contact paper, since that's what I had). I also made 2 activity packets that were stapled together - one for Saturday and one for Sunday- that had a little more age-appropriate activities for a 2 and 4 year old than some of the other packets I've seen had.
Caroline working on her activity packet during one of the Saturday sessions.
I saw another idea we also tried. We set up a "reverence tent" and talked about the story of King Benjamin from the Book of Mormon. For those unfamiliar with him, King Benjamin was a very good, wise king and prophet who worked hard alongside his people and taught them to serve one another. Near the end of his life, he wanted to speak to all of the people, so he had a tower constructed near the temple that he could stand on to speak so his words would reach as far as possible. The people pitched their tents all around the tower, facing the temple, to listen to the prophet speak. We likened that to General Conference and faced our tent toward the prophet.
At the blog "Love Hugs & Giggles" I saw a "Conference Wall" which we also made a with pictures of each of the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They listened to the speakers and then put their pictures next to a word that described what the address was about, such as "Faith, Love, Family, Jesus Christ, Atonement, etc..."
Our "Conference Wall"
Saturday morning, even though I told them they only had to listen to one talk, they were so into listening and playing "Conference Bingo" in their folders that they sat quietly through the entire 2 hour session. Towards the end, Clayton decided to play with his little Superman action figure, but he was still very quiet and whispered until the session ended - without being prompted!
Preparing a way for our children to enjoy conference took some planning and work, but after seeing how excited Caroline already was and how much both she and Clayton got out of conference, as small as they are, made it all worth it.
Caroline helping prepare our "Conference Wall"
For ideas to make Conference wonderful for your whole family, visit The Idea Door, Sugardoodle, and the church's official website.
I know this picture is random, but it's a shot of our traditional "Conference Bread" that I make every year!