Monday, March 15, 2010

FHE: Sacrifice. It's all just Peanuts!

You know how I love Family Home Evening. For those who are not LDS, Family Home Evening is a tradition where we set Monday nights aside to gather our families together and teach values, virtues, scripture, life skills, gospel principles, or whatever else might help to build character, testimonies, and family togetherness. The 'standard' format is an opening song, an opening prayer, family business, a lesson/activity, a closing song, closing prayer, and refreshments. Obviously, it's the family togetherness and a formal opportunity for teaching children values that is important (you know, we can't leave everything to the public school system!), not so much what religion you are, so please don't think that this can only be a "Mormon thing". It's awesome, it makes a difference, and you should try it too, even if it means you gather your family around you and read from a great book aloud and talk about it, or you bring out a board game from the closet and play it together. Go from there.

I wanted to highlight some Family Home Evening ideas that we have had fun with in our family, but I do not wish to take credit for how clever the lessons might be. Some I've created, but most I've found from other people. Some I've used in my calling in Young Women and then loved them so much I did them again for FHE. (sorry, Lyns. Act surprised.) I share because sometimes all it takes is a good idea to get you excited about doing the work. We all know that consistent FHE takes work. But we also know that the work works, so it's worth it.

For this lesson, you need:

peanuts in their shell, 3 for each family member

a full-size (or King size would be better!) Snickers bar for each family member

*The Snickers bars should be hidden and out of sight. It's okay if people see the peanuts and know they will be part of the lesson, but the Snickers bar will bring the idea home, so it has to come as a surprise.

We began by talking about what sacrifice is. The general definitions will be things like, "giving up something you want for something better" and "giving up something you want/love without expectation of receiving anything in return." Ask the kids what they think of when they think of sacrifice.

Talk very briefly about sacrifice as it is contained in the Bible, like how animals were slain on altars to represent the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Talk for just a second about other scripture stories where people were asked to make great sacrifices. (Abraham asked to sacrifice Isaac, Lehi asked to sacrifice his worldly possessions and flee his home, etc.)

Ask what sacrifices we are asked to make today. (They may say things like giving Sunday up for church things, tithing, Word of Wisdom, staying morally clean, etc.)

Now talk a little about how when there is something that we want to work toward in our lives, we often have to give up things along the way to achieve it. Things that require us to sacrifice will usually be the most rewarding because we will have paid a price for them. Ask the family members to list some worthy goals. You can list these on a chalkboard, or sheet of paper, or not at all and just say them out loud to get them thinking. Ideas may include getting an A in a particular class, getting healthy, graduating from college, going on a mission, getting married in the temple, etc.

Now that they get it, hand each person three peanuts in their shell. Tell them that these peanuts represent things they will have to sacrifice. Tell them each to think of a worthy goal that is important to them. Now go to each person and ask them what they will have to sacrifice to obtain that goal. They might give answers like, "giving up time with my friends," "saving money that I want to spend," or "not dating until I'm 16," depending on what their goal is. But they must think of three sacrifices they will have to make, and with each one, they give you back a peanut.

When they are out of peanuts, you place a Snickers bar in their hands and tell them that they have achieved their goal. Tell them that after all that hard work they finally have their reward. Now ask them, looking at the Snickers bar in their hands, was it worth it to make all those sacrifices? Of course! Make the point that at the time we're sacrificing, it seems like a lot to give up, but when you finally have the reward at the end, all of those sacrifices are just peanuts!

Get it? Just peanuts! (They love it.)

Bonus: You didn't even have to bake refreshments. Snickers really satisfies.

And so does sacrifice.


Braden Bell said...

That's a great idea, Jenna! Thanks for posting.

Andrea said...

I love it.
I must remember this for when my kids are a bit older.

Luisa Perkins said...

Fun idea! I'll have to adapt slightly for my non-peanut-lovers.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Love it!

isshou ni said...

very clever!

Olga said...

Thanks for sharing Jenna. I am always looking for good family home evening ideas.

Misty said...

I truly love this... We aren't LDS but we really do prioritize family time, Bible study, etc. As Gen ages, this is a GREAT lesson...

Anonymous said...

Hi, I found your blog snooping around. I love new FHE ideas. Thanks!

lesa said...

We tried the lesson out on Monday night. Great idea and it worked well. Thanks for sharing.

mindyluwho said...

I just commented on your other blog not realizing that this is your main blog. So now I've spent the better part of the morning reading through your posts. Time to pull myself away from the computer and back to work...but I'll be back!

Heidi said...

I adore this idea! It will be especially helpful for my big guy who really needs tactile aids to get a point across. If it's food, even better. Love it! Thanks!