Reflecting on past conferences, I see things I wish I would have done differently and things that I felt helped us have an uplifting experience. There are kind of two areas to think about as I prepare for conference. One, is me, as an adult, wanting to listen. Two, is making conference not be a dreaded event for my kids.
I have, in the past, spent so much time doing the pinterest things trying to make conference fun. I had to constantly change things up to keep them entertained. Kids were talking lots and I missed most of what was being said. We have also done the other extreme and forced kids to sit on the sofa in front of the TV. As I recall, that turned out real bad. I was in tears and I’m pretty sure my kids despised the situation and possibly conference. For sure they despised us as parents.
I’m not claiming to have things all figured out. I do feel like I have kind of figured out what works for our family.
First I needed to settle down. Simplify!! Don’t over think. We listen to conference throughout the house and let kids play. They usually hear something. Some kids hear more than others. But the beauty of this is that I usually hear more when I am not fussing over activities.
I learned to set out some things kids can do on their own. I will pull out something per session. Like, the Mr. Potato Heads, blocks, legos, coloring, playdoe, cars, etc. I just set the container in the middle of the room. Sometimes I sit and play too. They can play as long as they are quiet. If they are really struggling to be quiet, I have them play in their room or outside with conference playing.
Some kids who are not listening or distracting are encouraged to sit through one talk at a time. But, especially when the prophet speaks. We ask them all to listen.
Relax. Sadly, for my family, I do not do a lot of baking and stuff like that. I want to listen and relax with everyone else.
Pray. This is most important. This is something I only recently grasped the importance of. Pray as conference is approaching. Pray for doubts to be answered. Pray for the speakers. Pray for my family.
I want to share a couple experiences. These are good experiences. I want to remember these two times.
I had been called into the cub scouts program. I was so out of my element with this calling. Let’s just say I am an “indoorsy” person. I remember hearing Elder Bednar say, “The Lord qualifies those he calls.” That really helped me. When I was doing an activity, I would hear that in my head and tell myself that I could do whatever we were doing. I’ve still got a long way to go to being good at scouts, but my attitude is better.
Last Spring as conference approached I had read some things online. I had seen friends fall away. I had seen the articles shared. I had read the comments. I could see where they were coming from with their concerns. I felt sad. I decided to pray to know if the prophet was truly the prophet of God. I felt like it all hinged on that question. If he was the prophet then all this other stuff meant nothing and he was truly inspired. I would follow him. Conference approached. I sat through all of Saturday with no inspiration, feeling the words of others play through my mind as I listened to talks. Thinking, “So-and-so would just say this to what he/she is saying.”
Sunday morning the prophet stood to speak. He gave a short talk, but when he stood up at the pulpit I was flooded with a feeling and it brought tears to my eyes. I knew he was the prophet. I knew it. I knew it! I KNOW Thomas S. Monson is the true prophet on the earth today.
I am thankful for that answer!!! I am thankful that I prayed.
I am looking forward to conference!