When I was at university working on a masters degree I made friends with a young girl called Karen who happened to be a member of the Latter Day Saints Church. I learned a lot of things from Karen, and one of them is that in the Mormon Church many families have a family night one night a week. Every Monday evening, Karen’s family would turn off the TV, unhook the phones, turn off the radio and have no interruptions from outside the home. Children were not allowed to participate in sports later than 6 o clock, and there were no communications with the world outside the home. It was Family Night.
Karen’s family would talk around a leisurely dinner table, play board games, tell stories together, listen to tales of family history, impart family wisdom and values, and generally plan family activities. Karen told me that often her parents would sit down with her and her siblings and talk to them about virtues, and what was expected of them in certain situations. She learned what to say, how to act, and why in all sorts of situations and social places. When I met Karen she was a wonderfully loving, caring and socially masterful young lady who was confident and quietly assured wherever she seemed to find herself. The idea of having a family night one night a week has always appealed to me. Don’t get me wrong, I am as busy as the next working mother, and I am a single mum, so I understand how hard it is to set aside a full night for family activities, but I do my best to make it happen in my home. I am not perfect, and it doesn’t happen every week, but when it does my children and I go to bed both rested and reconnected. Sometimes we talk about our week, our dreams, our opinions n things, or we just play board games. Whatever we do it is a great opportunity to reconnect and teach my children some of the values I want them to have. Who knows, eventually my son might actually learn how to play fairly.