Joseph Smith taught that the purpose of gathering the saints in any age was for the building of temples where certain values could be taught and shared.[i] Family reunions are part of that gathering process and serve as an opportunity to share key family values. (See the second article in this series.) But they can be lots of work. Where do I start?
These ideas are come, in part, from the Internet as suggestions that will trigger other helpful ideas. Other sites and books are also readily and easily available through a simple Google search. Here is a sample:
. Ask for other family members to help with planning activities and choosing the time and place. Get the word out – let others know you’re planning a family reunion event. Give family members plenty of notice. Usually one to two years advance notice will allow attendees to plan vacation time or make adjustments in scheduling. www.FamilyVacationCritic.com ?????
. Be certain to include teens on your committee and then include a good variety of activities with value-sharing potential.? Include things that speak to all learning styles and the 5 senses: listening, speaking, seeing, doing, tasting, etc.
. Assign each member of your newly formed reunion committee a specific task, such as T-shirts and memorabilia, genealogy presentations including memorials and historic tours, entertainment, dining events, Reunion Book, entertainment, photography, etc.
. 3?Give each member written instruction regarding how to execute his or her task. Create a time line reminder. Make good use of Family Reunion Planner organizers that feature schedulers and time line reminders. Make use of Event Planning Software with editable worksheets and templates.
. 4?Schedule the next meeting one or two months away and follow up on all action items. Keep the lines of communication wide open.
. Hold each person responsible for their assignment.?
The question was asked in my first article, “So how do we maximize our reunion efforts as we gather our posterity, siblings, cousins, and even ancestors around us?” The answer lies in choosing from these options that will customize your reunion to the varied interests of your extended or immediate family while remembering the central opportunity you have and without which, the reunion will only be another attempt to compete with the professionals at entertaining. That central pillar, which is based upon the gathering principle, is the means, power and skill of sharing or establishing values; trans-generational family values.
“The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age… The heavenly Priesthood will unite with the earthly, to bring about those great purposes; and whilst we are thus united in one common cause, to roll forth the kingdom of God, the heavenly Priesthood are not idle spectators… a work that is destined to bring about the destruction of the powers of darkness, the renovation of the earth, the glory of God, and the salvation of the human family.”[ii]
“I believe they do have the privilege of looking down upon us just as the all-seeing eye of God beholds every part of His handiwork: For I believe that those who have been chosen in this dispensation and in former dispensations, to lay the foundation of God’s work in the midst, of the children of men, for their salvation and exaltation, will not be deprived in the spirit world from looking down upon the results of their own labors, efforts and mission assigned them by the wisdom and purpose of God, to help to redeem and to reclaim the children of the Father from their sins… I believe they are as deeply interested in our welfare today, if not with greater capacity, with far more interest behind the veil, than they were in the flesh. I believe they know more; I believe surely those who have passed beyond, can see more clearly through the veil back here to us than it is possible for us to see to them from our sphere of action. I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them. …those who have been faithful, who have gone beyond and are still engaged in the work …can see us better than we can see them; that they know us better than we know them. …I claim that we live in their presence; they see us; they are solicitous for our welfare; they love us now more than ever. For now they see the dangers that beset us; they can comprehend, better than ever before, the weaknesses that are liable to mislead us into dark and forbidden paths. They see the temptations and the evils that beset us in life and the proneness of mortal beings to yield to temptation and to wrong doing; hence their solicitude for us and their love for us and their desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves.”[iii]
“We must have revelation from them.”[iv]
OK, so, how do we share values across the trans-generational chasm? It just seems to grow wider and deeper with each new gadget, game, song, and movie? And which values work through the test of time? …Stay tuned!
[i] Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), 307-8.
[iv] TPJS 338 See also the last article on Why