...battles that my mommy plans for me. hehe Some kids can sing about the stories their mom tells them, mine can sing about beating each other with foam swords! This is a waaaaaay after the fact post (this happened a year ago!), but due to popular demand, here are the details of the
Stripling Warrior Family Home Evenings and Battle:
At Education Week 2007, I took an AWESOME class taught by Richard Robins called RAISING AND PREPARING LATTER-DAY STRIPLING WARRIORS - PARENTING PRINCIPLES IN THE WAR CHAPTERS OF THE BOOK OF MORMON.
This class totally changed how I read those chapters and inspired me to be a better mom and gospel teacher in my home. After Ed Week, my sweet friends always have an ed week lunch where we all share notes from the classes we went to. At this lunch we decided to implement this class together through some joint FHE's. Here's the invitation that went out (this thing has been on my fridge for a year, never mind the smudges!):
You know the invitation rule of thirds? Only 1/3 of people invited will attend?! Ha! That is how I ended up with over 50 people crammed into my little house for our first meeting - yes, that was almost 100% attendance! Any of you who have been to my house or were stacked on top of someone else that night are cracking up at the thought. Anyway, the first night we talked about why this was important:
From Ezra Taft Benson:
"The Book of Mormon was written for us today ...God, who knows the end from the beginning, told Mormon what to include in his abridgment that we would need for our day. Therefore, if the Book of Mormon prophets "saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, "Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Mornoni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age? In the Book of Mormon we find a pattern for preparing for the Second Coming ...The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior's visit reveals many parallels to our day as we anticipate the Savior's second coming."
Yea, those war chapters you just breeze through? Guess what?! That was right before Christ came the first time! And that nation, on the brink of destruction is us - on the brink of spiritual destruction. And guess who saved them? A group of covenant keeping, prophet following, valiant, courageous, and obedient YOUTH. Who were taught by their mothers. Who knew their mothers did.not.doubt.
And dads, you are totally not off the hook here - We are told 7 times that they were TAUGHT, 4 times it specifically says by mothers. Well, guess where the dads were? If you Stripling Warrior, were too young (younger than 7) to covenant in 80 BC to lay down your weapons, then you are, at the oldest, 23, but probably closer to 16. And your dad is most likely found in Alma 24:22 - willing to die rather than break a covenant with your Heavenly Father. So dads, you count!
So our first night together focused on Alma 49-52- Fortifying. Each family had a pan of sand and a variety of sticks and building materials to read together and build and talk amongst themselves what heaps of earth and timbers and pickets and towers were for their family.
And thus we find what I think is KEY to successfully studying these chapters. YOUR FAMILY IS DIFFERENT FROM MY FAMILY. I can't tell you what defenses you need, or what tools Satan is most likely to use against you - I can only do that for my family. So we all went home from our first night with suggestions for the next 6 weeks of FHE ON OUR OWN.
The 6 suggestions were:
1. Alma 23 - Tell about Anti-Nephites/Lehites. Decide what needs to be buried in your family. Bury it! (We used paper swords that we wrote on and buried them in the backyard)
2. Search/Hunt your house for "weapons" Satan can use. Set family standards.
3. Alma 48 - Search house for signs of who your heroes are. Add/Replace with pictures of worthy heroes. What character traits are you looking for in heroes and friends?
4. Alma 43 - Decide what makes your armor and how you put it on daily. Build some armor! (Ours was made from cardboard and duct tape and we wrote the spiritual "stuff" on it)
5. Decide what weapons you have against Satan. Build some!
6. Alma 45 - Talk about raising your standards as a family. Make a Title of Liberty for your family.
At the end of the 6 weeks, we met together again. We had potluck dinner and a BATTLE. We ended up finding foam swords at the dollar store that were PERFECT, so everyone had the same swords, but the armor was all different. We had a testimony meeting too and it was awesome! The kids still talk about the battle part, but I remember most that first night singing Armies of Helaman and feeling so overwhelmed by all these people wanting to strengthen our families together. It was so cool. Lots of battle pictures here.
I do have more detailed notes from the class and I would be more than happy to email those to any of you. Just leave a comment.
And in case I sound a little too *whacko* about that battle stuff for you - we're not strapping any bomb backpacks on the kids! It is serious stuff though - please read this:
"There is another war that has gone on since before the world was created and which is likely to continue for a long time...That war, so bitter, so intense, has gone on and has never ceased. It is the war between truth and error, between agency and compulsion, between the followers of Christ and those who have denied Him...The war is waged across the world ..day in and day out ...in our own lives...in our homes, in our work, in our school associations; it is waged over questions of love and respect, of loyalty and fidelity, of obedience and integrity and we are all involved in it....a great eternal struggle that concerns the very souls of sons and daughters of God." Gordon B. Hinckley