My 9 year old realized last week that we will be gone for the AM Session on Saturday morning. He let me know that we would have to record it and watch it later. It was very important that we didn't miss it.
Then on Sunday he said, "I can't wait for General Conference. I wish it was this weekend." It's almost a competition between Christmas and General Conference on which one we all look forward to the most.
What makes General Conference so exciting for us as a family? It's the traditions and some have changed over the years as the boys have gotten older. I thought I would share some of the traditions that we have done over the years that has made this a special time of the year.
1 . Bingo Cards: Either with the leaders of the church or the different topics. This isn't a new idea, but to make another memory from General Conference we would give the boys a Chuck E Cheese token for every bingo they got.
2. With Bingo I would purchase special treats for the bingo pieces. It usually took a lot because it was a special treat they wanted to eat :).
3. Conference Packets. Everyone loves word search puzzles, crossword puzzles, dot to dot, coloring pictures, etc.
4. To make the packets have an extra incentive we did Conference Bucks. There was a price sheet for the different things they accomplished. They could earn extra Conference Bucks for taking notes. There were times that some things were tougher for the younger kids so I would team my kids up together on some of the things. Then for FHE the kids get their Conference Bucks and we have a store with some of their favorites and they rotate shopping. This has been a HUGE highlight for the kids.
5. Journal Writing: New journal where the boys start their journal during conference by taking notes or drawing pictures about Conference. Then they are challenged to write in their journal over the 6 months and fill it up and start a new journal with the next conference. If you wanted, you could even have them keep their journal online.
6. Watching conference together and then going out for Ice Cream over the next week and have everyone share their favorite talks.
7. Saturday's are generally more of a relaxed day where the TV's are on throughout the house with conference and working on things around the house. Some of the kids will choose to sit and watch conference.
8. For Priesthood Session the boys will go with their dad and their grandpa. They enjoy that time together.
9. For years the girls have gone to Deseret Book and enjoyed the drawings, sales, signings and activities while the boys are at Priesthood.
10. When the family was smaller my parent's would take us to Baskin Robbins for ice cream. Of course, that is a popular activity so it was pretty crowded.
11. For at least the last 10 years my mom has put together a great party over at her home. Papa Murphy Pizzas and Ice Cream Sundaes with family and friends. All of the family is invited, including the grand kids and its something they look forward to. Over the years, friends and neighbors have joined.
12. Sunday morning is a big morning at our home. This is one of the largest highlights. It used to be pancakes with strawberries and cool whip, bacon and eggs. We now have stuffed french toast, creamed corn/bacon/eggs mixed together, bacon, hashbrowns and orange juice. We will have breakfast before conference starts so it is cleaned up and we are ready for Conference.
13. We all gather together and watch conference. The kids have their packets and it is a quiet, spiritual family time. We love feeling the spirit and feeling guided by the spirit and the leaders of the church
14. When the first session is over we head over to my parent's and have lunch. Everyone gathers for lunch and the cousins run and play until it is time for the last session.
15. The last session of conference we watch with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. The kids love being with family and it is great for the kids to watch conference together and talk about the talks and things they learned. It is great to see each of their examples for each other.
16. Following the last session of conference we have done several different activities together. We have gone up the canyon and played games all together. We have played games. Sit around and talk about the talks and ask what everyone's favorites are. Sometimes there is some unique activity like going to a park and running with big parachutes attached and racing each other.
All of these things are fun, make memories and have become traditions, but whats most important is my children know that General Conference is important and it is a priority. The weekend is so memorable that they talk about the things they learned throughout the 6 months until the next conference comes around. When something is taught at home or in a talk that they heard they are excited to say they remember that part from conference. They are being taught through the small and simple things to love the gospel and build their testimonies. They know they are loved, not only by their parents, but by their Savior and Heavenly Father. They can feel it in their efforts to listen and learn.
They also know that the gospel and general conference is important to their aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins.
There are great blessings that come from General Conference weekend in my own life and in our families lives. It is definitely a time I remember while I was growing up and looked forward to and grateful that the traditions have continued for my own children.
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