Friday, October 11, 2013

General Conference Traditions

“Mom, when is general conference?”
"Just three more weeks."
 “Oh, good!” is her sincere answer.

This is a conversation I had with my fourteen-year-old daughter, Christina, a few weeks ago. We've had similar ones ever since. My teenage daughter is sincerely excited for general conference!

Traditions are key to the success of any activity. My children thrive on traditions. One or more of them will remind me weeks in advance of what I need to do to start getting ready for the upcoming occasion. That's good because I am a very last minute person and if they didn't remind me, things just may not happen. One semi-annual tradition we have is watching the general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But not only do we watch it, we make it an event, a big huge deal! It is my favorite weekend out of the year, so why not make it big?!

We usually start the week off with a family home evening lesson on listening to and following the prophet. Then we write down questions we have that we want answered during the two days of watching, listening and feeling.

We start the day off with the traditional creamed egg breakfast and orange rolls. This tradition started with Gary and his first wife, Cheryl, probably to use up all the eggs from the Easter bunny. We have carried it on, although some of the new children are not fans of creamed eggs. The newest children, however, love them! It doesn't matter what the traditional meal is in any family; it only matters that something is special about the food.

Another thing we do is play conference bingo where we can use candy to mark the square of what is mentioned. In April the children use Easter candy for the game cards, in October it's Halloween candy, of course. The children also have conference notepads so they can take notes. We also get to snack on the food from the emergency kits since conference is a perfect six month reminder that the food is getting stale.

Saturday night is the Priesthood session of conference. We all bring food and meet at my parent's house. The ladies and children work on a service or other enrichment activity while the older boys and men go to the session together. When they return home, we eat....and eat and eat and eat. Over the years we have finally learned to bring enough food for our large family.

The activities are basically the same on Sunday, except on this day we dress up in our Sunday clothes. I actually dress up for the Saturday session, as well, because I once heard a person will dress up for something that is important to them. Conference is one of those things, so I make it a point to be in a dress. My children still choose to be in play clothes on Saturday. :)

Conference isn't over yet. When Monday night rolls around, everyone knows it's the semi-annual general conference family home evening jeopardy challenge! Any notes they have taken over the weekend may be used to help answer questions (with prizes, of course) for their team. I use the same game board every time so it's easy to write down questions and put them under the picture of the particular prophet and apostle that talked about that particular subject. My goal is to reinforce what was taught over the previous two days. Last spring I changed the questioning from “listening” questions to “feeling” questions. “What did you feel when the prophet said.....?” or “How can you better apply........?” Some of the answers brought tears to my eyes as I knew they children were getting it in the best way possible.

I love how excited my family is for general conference because it is truly the best time of the year!