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We all struggle at times with caring what others think. Thus, it can be tricky to defend our personal “turf” of boundaries and acceptable behavior. As a result, friends sometimes influence us and we bend to peer pressure. This Family Home Evening lesson aims to help children understand the potent power of choosing friends carefully. Time for some FHE Fun!
Opening Prayer: By Invitation
Time to Celebrate. What happy moments did your loved ones have this past week? You might take a moment to celebrate successes. This way your children will notice they do have strength sufficient to face challenges and to serve others.
Emergency Prep Minute. Just a little bit of weekly preparation can empower your children as they mature. What emergency tip do you want to share with your family this week?
Devotional: Start with some simple spontaneous scripture sharing amongst family members. This not only builds the spiritual sensitivities of the individual who reads a verse and then explains its power in his (or her) life, but it also aids others who may be quietly struggling (and needing to hear the inspired messages). It is not required that each member share; only those who may have found a neat scripture during the previous week. Including this at the beginning of each week’s FHE can help bring the Spirit and settle the children for the lesson.
FHE Activity: We offer a suggested FHE activity, but do feel free to choose what you feel is most suited to your family’s needs this week. And if you have young children, feel free to adapt. Below is a simple activity and lesson you might try with your family…but you may have a different lesson to teach. Regardless of the method, enjoy this weekly time with your loved ones!
- Printout of a camel’s nose (here is a simple link to a great close-up picture)
- Costumes from creative materials around the home for an “Arabian workman,” “camel,” and “tent”
- Pencils and printouts of the document “Friends,” from the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet – one per family member.
Tape the printout of the camel’s nose in a visual place. Set up a make-believe tent. Assign two family members to play the following roles of “Arabian workman” and “camel.” Have them act out the following poem using the make-believe “tent” to show the drama of the poem. Have fun dramatically reading “An Arab Fable”!
“Once in his shop a workman wrought
With languid hand, and listless thought,
When through the open window’s space
Behold! – a Camel thrust his face.
“My nose is cold,” he meekly cried,
“Oh, let me warm it by thy side.”
Since no denial word was said,
In came the nose, – in came the head,
As sure as sermon follows text
The long, excursive neck came next,
And then, as falls the threatening storm
In leap’d the whole ungainly form.
“Aghast the owner gazed around,
And on the rude invader frown’d,
Convinc’d as closer still he pressed,
There was no room for such a guest,
Yet more astonish’d, heard him say,
“If incommoded, go your way,
For in this place I choose to stay!”
“Oh, youthful hearts, to gladness born,
Treat not this Arab lore with scorn.
To evil habit’s earliest wile
Lend neither ear, nor glance, nor smile,
Choke the dark fountain ere it flows,
Nor ever admit the Camel’s Nose
Lydia Howard Sigourney, “An Arab Fable,” Gleanings, 1860, emphasis added.”
(Be creative in how you invite the children to act out the story.)
Application: While the final family members are removing their “costumes,” pass out copies of the “Friends” printout from the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. Invite the family to look for what the Arabian Fable poem has to do with harmful friendships while taking turns reading the following paragraphs out loud from “Friends,” For the Strength of Youth (vary the length of selections depending on the age of your children):
“Choose your friends carefully. They will greatly influence how you think and act, and even help determine the person you will become. Choose friends who share your values so you can strengthen and encourage each other in living high standards. A true friend will encourage you to be your best self.
“To have good friends, be a good friend yourself. Show interest in others and let them know you care about them. Treat everyone with kindness and respect. Go out of your way to be a friend to those who are shy or do not feel included.
“Invite your friends of other faiths to your Church meetings and activities, where they can learn about the gospel. Help them feel welcome and wanted. Many people have joined the Church through the example and fellowship of their friends. Don’t be offended if your friends decline your invitation to learn more about the gospel. Just continue to be their friend.
“Make a special effort to reach out to new converts and to those who are less active. Help them feel welcome among your group of friends. You can strengthen them by sharing your testimony and by setting a good example.” (See Alma 17:1-2)
When finished reading, invite discussion about friendships. How can friends either hurt our lives or help our lives by either selfish or thoughtful choices? To finish up, have the family decide how the camel’s nose is similar to a friend who would rather hurt you than care for you.
End by sharing Elder Holland’s quote:
“Take heart. Let the Spirit work in you in ways that you may not be privileged to see or even recognize. More will go on than you think if you are honest in your heart and trying to live as purely as you can.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Teaching, Preaching, Healing,” Ensign, Jan. 2003, p. 33.)
As children of God, we have permission to establish healthy boundaries and to say no to “camel-nosed” friends. Testify that as each of us seeks Heavenly Father’s help through consistent prayer, scripture study, and service, our strength will increase to make courageous choices. And when we make courageous choices regarding our friendships, we not only bless our own lives, we then bless others and help them become better than they were before!
Closing Prayer: By invitation
Refreshments: “Mutabak”, a sweet dessert, would be a fun treat to finish off this Arabian-themed FHE. Click on this link. Not only is “Mutabak” fairly simple, but it is exotic and fun! Or another exciting site to explore is Fauzia’s Pakistani Recipes for a variety of exotic (and not-so-exotic) treats. And remember, refreshment time after FHE is simply a time to enjoy the sweet smiles and personalities of your dear family. Life is too short to do anything but that!
President Henry B. Eyring’s talk, “True Friends,” is an excellent resource to help children understand 1) we will all be tested, and that therefore, 2) true friends are essential to feel loved, listened to, and helped throughout life. Why not read as a family a few paragraphs from President Eyring’s thoughts each evening over the next week or so before bedtime. Then as the children snuggle down into bed, you can listen and share thoughts or tips on friendships. Make sure not to criticize choice of friends; rather, simply spend time discussing true principles of human relationships. You may never know just how important your kind words may be.
C.S. Bezas obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Communications with an emphasis in training programs and human resource development. She earned her Master’s in Adult/Organizational Learning and Leadership with a focus on using transformative learning in dealing with life’s challenges. She is the author of Powerful Tips for Powerful Teachers and the creator of soothing-music found at CSBezasMusic.com. She and her husband have four children.