Many dedicated LDS parents struggle with means and ways to get their kids to gather around a flickering television or computer screen twice a year and watch General Conference as a family. The Mormon cybersphere is packed with games, activities, and inspiring testimonies regarding other parents’ angelic children sitting enraptured listening to prophets and apostles share the word of the Lord. But what about us normal Mormon families? What works for us?
The Mormon Third Eye has the answer. (for a complete list of MTE solutions to pressing problems, look here). Because God’s plan for us dictates that there is opposition in all things, I have to warn you that like all good things in life, the solution is not quick or easy, but it is doable and worth the effort. I guarantee that it works, because it worked for us. The secret is… consistency and patience.
Step 1: When they are small and mentally pliable, hold family nights a week or two before conference weekend and invest a lot of time into compiling Conference Bingo, Conference Jeopardy, and other cleverly disguised and adapted “bored game” activities to keep your kids engaged for 8 hours of church. Build good conference memories by establishing family traditions such as making special breakfast foods, etc… Feel good about what you have done and daydream about your son or daughter becoming the next president of BYU or General Manager of Deseret Book, all because of the preparation and time spent watching conference as a family.
Step 2: When the terrible teens arrive, watch your children become possessed with obsession of becoming their own person and making their own decisions, which includes deciding to either watch conference under duress, sleep and snore during conference, or not watch it at all. In this step, children may seek to tarnish family conference traditions by either intentionally scheduling other more entertaining or seemingly engaging activities, or whining vociferously about being “forced” to watch. Negoitation and compromise is the key in this stage. Offer them small amounts of candy and/or get them to agree to at least watch certain sessions or favorite speakers.
Step 3: This is best and most important step- parental payoff (you can read more about this here). When they become mature young adults and move away from home to attend one of the BYUs and/or get married to start their own families, schedule impromptu phone calls, text chats, and Skype/Facetime sessions before, during, and conference talks to intelligently discuss applicable gospel principles. By this time, your grown children have realized that they really need conference teachings to deal with today’s pressures and problems, and willingly engage with you on related topics.
All this occurred because you initiated Step 1 and hung in there during Step 2. I encourage MTE readers to try this methodology. It works. I know.