General Conference and Children

Well, it’s another general conference weekend. I am excited for some spiritual renewal. I need it.

As the weekend approached, over the last few days, I’ve been thinking about when our children were small. We only asked them to sit with us for just one of the four sessions of conference. We did not require them to stay in the room with us beyond that.

My wife made conference binders for them with pictures to color, cutouts of the faces of general authorities, bingo cards that they could fill out with candies. They could eat the candies anytime they got a bingo. I remember that bingo was one of their favorites.

My wife and I almost always watched all the sessions of conference, often with our scriptures and notebooks handy. We didn’t do this out of obligation. We did it because we really wanted to. We did it because we knew if we listened in reverence, our hearts and minds would be healed. We set aside our normal weekend madness so that we could drink in the words of life.

An interesting thing happened. Even though they weren’t required to sit with us beyond a single session, our children would stay with us anyway. We’d say, “You don’t have to watch this session. You can go play if you want.” But they’d stay in the room with us, quietly coloring or playing another round of conference bingo.

I don’t fully understand why the three of them chose to be such good conference watchers. Two of them are adults and one is a teenager now and they still are very dedicated conference watchers. Both adults are married with little people of their own.

One thing I know is that you can’t hide who you really are from your children. Maybe you can keep them in the dark for awhile, but eventually you’ll be found out. And it will have an effect on them. Nothing affects them more than who you really are.

That’s scary to me. I see my bad habits and wobbly attitudes perpetuated in my children. I also see my good habits and faith in them too. Ultimately they will choose, but when you really care about something, or don’t care about something, it leaves an impression on them that cannot be easily erased.

I hope you have a wonderful conference weekend!

4 thoughts on “General Conference and Children

  1. Patty Ann April 2, 2011 / 11:54 pm

    Mike, you are so right about this one. I have seen the same type of things in my own life with my own children.


  2. Dawn April 3, 2011 / 1:17 am

    So true. A happy moment last week was when our missionary son wrote and told us how excited he was about conference. He mentioned that last fall he missed one of the sessions and felt like he had been robbed. 🙂 It made my mother's heart sing that he has caught the fire of General Conference.


  3. Hippasus April 4, 2011 / 2:59 am

    This time around we decided not to fight the battle and just like you discovered we found our kids hanging out with us as we listened to GC. No calls for them to gather round. No bribes. No threats. Just us listening and discussing the sermons and next thing we know all four are gathered round the iPhone listening, trying to guess who the actual speaker is.


  4. Rich Alger April 4, 2011 / 7:27 am

    We ask our children that are baptized to watch both Sunday sessions. My wife made a discovery this conference. She was looking for a way to be productive while she listens to or watches anything. She decided to learn how to knit. On Fri she started. This morning all of our older kids were knitting or wanted to. They were much quieter. They seemed to absorb much more than other years.

    I have a remarkable wife.

    I too look forward to the spiritual renewing of conference.


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