Mrs. Woody documented Jelly's first official Family Home Evening that she planned and executed all by herself a couple of weeks ago. Tonight was Doodle's turn.
Not unreasonably, she used the same sort of template that Jelly had created when planning her lesson. She created a basic agenda which included the songs, prayers, and a brief outline of the activities we would have. She taped this agenda on our entertainment center so we could follow along. (The girls are big proponents of "following along." They have a pathological need to read the cover of whatever DVD or video we happen to be watching, no matter how many times they've seen the silly movie! They can't stand it when Mommy and Daddy have "adult" conversations and they happen to miss a phrase or two because they have to ask us repeatedly what it was we were talking about while we repeatedly remind them - gently of course - that it's none of their business.)
Doodle got a bit of guidance from Mommy when planning her actual lesson, of course. Repentance is one of those topics that can only improve with age, and the first time out takes a bit of learning on the part of the teacher. Particularly when it comes to finding just the right object lesson. These are miniature females, I remind you, and they will all too soon be part of the doily-and-crocheted-table-cloth set in just a few short years.
Daddy got assigned to read a story from the Friend; something about muddy rain boots. The girls are not only avid readers themselves, but they love to hear stories. Doesn't matter whether you're reading to them, or making one up out of whole cloth, the girls love 'em all. Jelly has also reached that age where she peppers Mommy and Daddy both with questions about their pasts: "Daaaaaddy, when you were little did you...?" And of course this prompts another story where I have to admit that I did, which seems to give her no small relief. Whew! Daddy did that when he was younger! I'm not so bad after all!
(You may ask what, precisely, it was that Daddy did when he was little. It's none of your darned business, is what.)
(I seem to say that an awful lot these days, don't I?)
The object lesson (Jelly did the treasure hunt last time) involved Doodle's "Kerplunk" game. She couldn't find the actual Kerplunk marbles, of course, prompting Mrs. Woody to ask whether some repentance was in order. But we made do with some of those decorative — and decidedly UNround — marbles that people (who are not guys) generally put in glass jars. They don't roll well, but that wasn't the point of the object lesson. The point of the lesson was that the marbles represented the yucky feelings we have whenever we do something bad, and the sticks represented the process of repentance that help us to release those yucky feelings. Boy, when you get more than just a little trickle of bad feelings come crashing down into the tray, you're feeling pretty excited, I must say. In fact, when I got my first deluge of bad feelings, I began to wonder just how much repentance I might personally require, since I was apparently oblivious to those feelings in the first place.
The neatest part is when they get it. As Mrs. Woody and I listened to the banter after closing prayer as they shuffled off to put things away and play for awhile, we realized that they were using points they'd learned in the lesson whilst chattering with one another. It's similar to what happens when they read the scriptures (Mrs. Woody has them do this for 15 minutes every school day) and they begin to ask questions specifically related to whatever they happen to be reading at the time. And they're not just "what does 'iniquity' mean?" types of questions, either. Just this evening, for example, Jelly asked the question about whether heaven really exists. "After all," she said, "it all seems too wonderful to be real." It was one of those neat opportunities to bear your testimony to your child about the fact that, yes, heaven truly exists and it's just as wonderful as you can possibly imagine. That was all she needed to hear. Tomorrow she'll be back to reading about the Anti-Nephi-Lehies and smirking about the fact that she's farther along in the Book of Mormon than Daddy is right now. (Quite a bit farther, actually... I'm just starting Mosiah!)
So, good job tonight, Doodle! We all had a wonderful time in our Family Home Evening. Looking forward to next week!