Our family enjoys LDS General Conference weekend every six months. But it is a super challenge for us to get our 14-year-old and our 4-year-old to sit still and listen. I try to keep them both busy, but they each require different activities, and I want them to feel unified in at least one task for five seconds the entire weekend. So I welcomed the opportunity to review Growing Up with Conference, written by sisters Emilee Reynolds, Cassie Lytle, and Tiffany McDaniel.
I received a pdf review copy and don’t know where to send you to purchase the book, but as soon as I receive that information, I’ll insert it here.
The book is darling. These women have spent hours and hours preparing the materials and sharing them with their own families. I have no doubt they are amazing mothers. There are pages and pages of well-organized ideas to help your family get prepared for conference, with activities and lessons you can begin 15 days in advance. There are beautiful photos on every page, showing details of everything. It all looks fun and remarkable.
. . . But (yep, I know you’re sensing the “but” after the previous glowing paragraph) I’m just not that organized or motivated. I have to be honest about it. Sometimes I love to do extra projects like these, but those days are getting farther and farther apart. I’m now in my mid-forties, and I’m just trying to get my boys to watch and listen to the Prophet’s talks. Not the prophets, mind you. The. Prophet. Just President Monson. That is what they can manage effectively. So that’s the goal we set. My oldest son will watch more, but my youngest is onward and upward after one talk. My best bet is to engage him in listening activities if I have a prayer of him staying in the room for anything more.
So I quickly zoomed through Growing Up with Conference to the section with Listen activities. And, hurray! I found some easy ones. So, come this weekend, my kids will be making Conference Necklaces by stringing pretzels, certain name-brand cereals, and a few candies with holes in the middle. Voila! They can snack to their hearts content, and I have almost zero prep work to do. Buy a few things. Get some string. I think I’ve got it! 🙂 But . . . truth be told, I’ve seen this idea before and had planned to do it before now. I even bought the stuff a year ago (and then ate it when I finally remembered it was in the cupboard–sheesh!). But I’m glad this cute book reminded me to try it again. This time, I WILL remember. 🙂
Another idea I really liked is designed to help family members get to know the Apostles as individuals–real people. You put each apostle’s picture on a paper bag and fill it with items related to that apostle. Then as they stand up to speak, your kids find the appropriate bag to open. Unfortunately, the link to the ideas for the goodie bags are also in the pdf file, so I can’t click on them. Maybe next time. But you can get portrait pictures of the brethren at lds.org. (This is the exact link, so you won’t have to hunt for the pictures.) So if you’re creative enough, you could probably come up with the ideas for the bags. For instance, one idea from the book is to include peanuts and chewing gum for a bag about Elder Uchtdorf, because of his career as a pilot and the fact that those foods are associated with plane travel. Anyway, I hope my brief description here suffices. Picture it with lovely photos and links to wonderful things, and that’s what you’ll get with Growing Up with Conference.
In short, I do admire these cute ladies who put forth so much effort to share their ideas with us. They grew up with a mother who had a passion for teaching them to appreciate conference. They are undoubtedly sharing that passion with their children. I think their efforts are so valiant. Somehow, I don’t think they’ll mind my more simple efforts either. I see Growing Up with Conference as a tool, a resource for wonderful ideas to help strengthen our families. Simply extract those portions you can do–all, most, some, maybe next time. Just do what you can do to strengthen your family and make conference an uplifting experience.