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Learning from General Conference as a Family

Learning from General Conference as a Family

The inspiring and important messages shared in conference can bless your family all year long. By centering lessons and spontaneous teaching opportunities around the messages of conference, you can help your children remember and apply what the prophet and apostles teach.

1. Keep it simple

When creating lessons, sometimes shorter is better. Depending on the age of your children, a lesson that is a few minutes long might be just right. Prayerfully choose and focus on just one or two short lines from each talk. Lines like “Catch the wave of missionary work” and “Fan the flame of your faith” are easy to remember and visualize. Paraphrase longer teachings if necessary. Poems or rhymes, like the ones President Monson often includes in his talks, are especially appealing to children. Memorizing them will make it easier for children to internalize the main point of a talk.

We used a noticeboard to display a general conference quote and the speaker’s name in a high-traffic area of our home. Now our children get a thrill each time they hear one of those lines quoted in sacrament meeting!

2. Let children teach

From time to time let a child prepare and teach a talk to the rest of the family. Reinforce key points and gauge how much they understand by asking children to reteach the messages to one another. Journaling or drawing during lessons is another great way to encourage children to reflect on what they are learning.

3. Make it playful and personal

Try to experience conference through the eyes and ears of a child—not just any child, but your own child. What stories are your children most interested in? Was there a speaker who shared a message directly to children? When creating a lesson to reinforce these messages, tap into your imagination. Get physical. Let children dress up, act things out, go on a journey, or make a game out of what was taught. Keeping little hands busy with a project can help children listen quietly, participate actively, and retain what they’ve learned.

For one family home evening, we helped our daughter dress up as a 97-year-old version of herself to come and remind us about the importance of leaving a legacy of faith. She had fun playing the part of an old woman, and I shared a simple lesson based on a recent conference talk. Then we invited the kids to write in their journals about what they planned to accomplish in their lives.

4. Answer a call

Every conference contains calls to action. What better way to help children learn to follow the prophet than by helping them respond to these calls? Many are simple enough for a child to do. For example, Elder Ballard recently asked members to use the full name of the Church when speaking about the Church. To answer this call, children can practice saying or writing the name of the Church. Always be on the lookout for ways children can act on what they learn.

After Elder Cook promised blessings to youth who would participate in family history, we invited our son to teach his sisters how to index.

5. Use technology

You can now read, listen to, and watch the messages from conference anytime, anywhere. Consider taking your general conference lessons to a park or another peaceful spot to read or watch together over a picnic. Consider allowing children to pull up the conference talks online themselves with your supervision.

One of our children wasn’t very excited about teaching the family about a conference talk—until we let him use the iPad! He prepared by watching the talk on the tablet and writing down key words. Then he used it to show brief sections of video to the family, pausing periodically to ask us questions about what we heard. It was great to envision him teaching this way someday as a full-time missionary.

6. Get to know the Church leaders

Help children become familiar with the names and faces of the prophets and apostles by posting their pictures in a place where you can review them often as a family. Refer to these photos as you teach. Reserve a place in your home to display teachings from conference and reminders from your lessons. Change teachings periodically and quiz each other. Use them as everyday teaching tools.

7. Take advantage of informal teaching opportunities

In all of the fun, bear testimony, and let the Spirit do most of the teaching. Over time you will begin to see teaching moments in everyday situations all around you. When a storm hit our area, we realized that the current event could be a teaching opportunity. So we held a special Tuesday-night family home evening and talked about Elder Andersen’s talk “Spiritual Whirlwinds.” The kids drew pictures of tornadoes and we worked on memorizing key words from the talk.