General Conference is coming up again. B and I have been thinking about how we can best help the kids get the most out of conference, be reverent, and not have to micro-manage them the whole time.
In the past we’ve created a big board and given them each stickers to run up and put on an image we’ve cut out of a Friend, Ensign, or New Era magazine.
Although this worked to get them involved and listen, as they’ve gotten a bit older it’s gotten a bit out of hand.
Last night I acted on an impression and got the kids (7, 5, and 3) individual notebooks so they can keep track of what they hear, put stickers on specific pages we create, and at the same time “keep the peace” during the sessions of conference.
We added a main topic at the top of about 10 pages and plan to get some pictures from Church magazines so they’ll have their own notebook to put stickers in and even take notes in.
Here are the topics we had the kids write down to listen for:
- Jesus Christ
- Book of Mormon
- Missionary Work
- Heavenly Father/God
CB also wrote down these questions:
- How many temples are there?
- How can I prepare to be a missionary?
- How many scriptures have been passed out?
“It is when children are young that parents must be innovative in helping them develop good habits regarding conference participation. As our children are given opportunities to observe and learn the role of these special witnesses, they will receive a spiritual confirmation of the sacred calling of their Church leaders, and they will feel a deeper love for and interest in these leaders and their message.” (Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Presidency of the Seventy, “Teaching Our Children to Love the Prophets,” Ensign, Apr. 1996, 47.)
I also have been thinking about what I can do to be best prepared for general conference. One of the first talks I’m going to study is by President Uchtdorf and it’s titled General Conference—No Ordinary Blessing.
In this talk President Uchtdorf talks about how an active member of the Church is confronted by a neighbor. The topic of General Conference comes up and the neighbor asks the member what the prophets and apostles talked about recently. Unfortunately, the member can’t remember too much since he heard but may have not really listened, or he just hadn’t studied about or thought about it after the conference adjourned.
President Uchtdorf gives three recommendations on how we can better receive, remember and apply the words of the Lord’s servants in our lives.
Members of the Church are entitled to personal revelation as they listen to and study the inspired words spoken at general conference.
As you prepare for general conference, I invite you to ponder questions you need to have answered. For example, you might yearn for direction and guidance by the Lord regarding challenges you are facing.
Answers to your specific prayers may come directly from a particular talk or from a specific phrase. At other times answers may come in a seemingly unrelated word, phrase, or song. A heart filled with gratitude for the blessings of life and an earnest desire to hear and follow the words of counsel will prepare the way for personal revelation.
Don’t discount a message merely because it sounds familiar.
Prophets have always taught by repetition; it is a law of learning. You will hear repetition in themes and doctrines in general conference. Let me reassure you: this is not due to a lack of creativity or imagination. We continue to hear messages on similar issues because the Lord is teaching and impressing upon our minds and hearts certain foundational principles of great eternal importance that must be understood and acted upon before we can move on to other things. A wise builder first lays the foundation before erecting the walls and the roof.
The words spoken at general conference should be a compass that points the way for us during the coming months.
If we listen to and follow the promptings of the Spirit, they will serve as a Liahona, guiding us through the unknown, challenging valleys and mountains that are ahead (see 1 Nephi 16).
Since the world began, God has raised up prophets who speak the will of heaven to the people of their times. It is our responsibility to listen and then apply the messages the Lord provides for us.Our merciful and loving Heavenly Father has not forsaken and will not forsake His children. Today, as well as in times past, He has appointed apostles and prophets. He continues to reveal His word to them.
What a marvelous privilege it is to hear God’s messages for each of us during general conference! Let us prepare well for this great blessing of divine guidance delivered by His chosen servants.
I really like all of these recommendations. Not only do I like how it encourages us to go into conference with questions in mind (kind of like when we’re fasting or going to the temple), but also it emphasizes the value of repetition in teaching and learning.
I’ve been impressed how Mom and Dad have used the conference edition of the Ensign to study out the words of the prophets and apostles and Lord’s servants. They read it as they read the scriptures.
I’m grateful that we make conference an important weekend event in our family.
I’m grateful our kids know that it’s important and that we’ve come up some ideas on ways we can get them to pay attention and learn from the messages being taught.
Some of my questions for conference would be:
- How should I handle all of this anti-Mormon experience? What can I learn from it?
- How can I best prepare my children for the challenges of today?
- How can I have more patience with my family?
- What are ways I can develop daily habits for scripture, prayer, and service?
- What are things I can do for my HT families to help them get back into full fellowship with the Saints?
I look forward to conference.
I look forward to the Spirit I’ll feel as I listen to hear and apply what’s being taught.
I’m grateful for President Uchtdorf’s reminders about how we can prepare for the special blessing of General Conference.