General Conference Preparation

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Wasn’t the Relief Society General Broadcast great?  I know different people learn different things, but this is the message I got (summarized in a few, brief sentences):  Simplify.  You can’t do or be everything.  Seek personal revelation and get inspiration and guidance from your local leaders.  Live the doctrines you believe, and be valiant in obedience and in your testimony of the Savior.  Pray for opportunities to serve and seek the gift of charity; you will influence your family and others in important ways.

So next week, it will be General Conference.  Man, do I love that time of year.  I have gained a strong testimony of the timeliness, truthfulness, and tenderness of the talks that are given at General Conference.  I know our Heavenly Father speaks to us through modern prophets and apostles.  They remind me what I know to be true and give me insight about things I can do just a little better, specifically things that apply to my life and my family’s needs.  And I always get more out of General Conference when I prepare for it.

This is an invitation to anyone who wants to join me in a week of preparation.  This is my goal:

  1. Pray everyday that my mind and heart will be prepared for any specific message that the Lord wants me to know.
  2. Read my scriptures and/or recent conference talks every day to keep me in the habit of inviting and recognizing the Spirit.
  3. Think about questions I would like answers to, topics I find myself struggling with, and write them down. Include them specifically in my prayers as I do #1.

On a larger scale, I cannot even hear anything at conference or concentrate if I don’t make specific plans to occupy and engage my children during those two days.  Earlier this year (my one claim to fame), I actually had an article published in the Ensign about how to prepare children for involvement in General Conference.  I’m no expert, but I can testify that around here my children love General Conference, and they’re as excited for this weekend as I am.  Here’s a repeat of some of those ideas (I called us family X here):

Participating in conference can be challenging for families with small children. When Matt and Stephanie X had three children under the age of four, they decided to watch general conference via satellite from their own home. Sister X knew that in order to view, hear, and enjoy the talks peacefully, she would need to make “substantial preparation.”

Like the [other mentioned] families, the Xs talk about the importance of general conference ahead of time. “We pray individually and with our children that our hearts will be prepared for the messages of conference,” Sister X explains. “We try to convey that we are excited about general conference weekend and that we look forward to it.”

Sister X knows that it can be difficult for children to sit quietly through conference, but she and her husband have found age-appropriate activities that engage their children in conference.

• They remove the center spread with photos of General Authorities from the most recent conference edition of the Ensign and hang it near the television. Each time a new speaker appears on the screen, the children study the poster and try to find the speaker’s picture. They are rewarded with a sticker to place on the poster or in a notebook of their own. “They quickly learn to identify the First Presidency and others by name,” says Sister X.

• The Xs set out a bowl of small treats for each session. Next to the bowl, they place objects that represent key words for that session. Each time the children hear one of those words spoken from the pulpit, they can help themselves to one treat. Sister X notes: “It’s surprising to see how much young children can and do listen. Their enthusiasm is priceless as you hear them say, ‘Mommy, he said temples!’”

• For the sessions that fall during typical mealtimes, the Xs prepare a picnic basket and lay out a blanket in front of the television. Brother and Sister X tell their children that they are like the families in the Book of Mormon who sat on the ground and listened to their prophet, King Benjamin, teach them about the gospel of Jesus Christ. “We thank our children for allowing us to listen and praise them for their reverence and attentiveness. We bear testimony throughout the day of the things we have heard and felt and reiterate our love for living prophets and apostles.”

• Brother and Sister X make sure they spend time with their children before and after sessions. They let them have active or outdoor play “to get out all their wiggles.”

Sister X says that these things not only help her children participate, but they also help her and her husband to be able to watch and learn from all the sessions of general conference. “There is a great sense of spiritual safety as we gather our family around the Lord’s messengers,” she says. “The Spirit is present in our home, and it is truly a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy that “‘all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children’” (3 Nephi 22:13).

And here is a great link to a General Conference Packet or Workbook that your children can use during conference:

Oct 2009 General Conference Activity packet – from LDSResources.net

It has activities for different levels of readers and non-readers.  My boys love coloring the ties of each of the speakers, and they do the bingo for every session.  It’s a .pdf file that’s 20 pages long and easy to print and use.  It’s worth the printer ink.

I’d love to see in the comments 1) What do you do to prepare for General Conference or to get the most out of it?, and/or 2) What was one of your favorite thoughts from the Relief Society Broadcast?

Have a great week.  Next Sunday, we’ll start the General Conference Book Club again, with the first week just sharing our overall favorite bytes and take-away messages.

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11 thoughts on “General Conference Preparation

  1. I loved the Relief Society broadcast. 🙂 I loved President Eyring’s remarks. So humble, and so full of love. I also thought Sister Beck was great. It was funny cause when she first started talking, I thought, “goodness, she is talking really fast!” But then I realized she had SO much to say, she had to talk fast! I also got the message of simplify. Don’t feel overwhelmed, just do the very best you can. Think about people. Open your heart to spiritual promptings… oh, it was all so good. 🙂

    Can’t wait for conference next week! I start to get excited for conference at the beginning of August… I can FEEL it getting closer and closer!

  2. I don’t know how I completely spaced the Relief Society conference. They had talked all about it in church and RS the week before. Adam and I finally had a night off at the same time, so we had a date night, but I plan to watch or read it today.

    General Conference preparation is something I can be better at, but this week, I plan to read some of the previous talks as well as make sure I read my scriptures for 15 minutes everyday.

  3. You have some great ideas, and we do some of them. It works best around here if we change it up for each session (our girls are 10, 10, and 12). Last conference we did Bingo for one session, and the different treats for one. Our most successful sessions were the ones where we had our girls come up with one or two questions to ask the family about each talk they heard. Not only did they get more out of each session, they were so excited about getting the questions right and trying to stump us that they forgot about the candy reward that they were supposedly working for. They took scrupulous notes and recorded some things I even missed. It was awesome.

    I loved the RS Broadcast. I always do. I think I came away thinking that I need to “mind the gap” in living the gospel. Try harder to do better and make an extra effort to minister to each of the sisters on my visiting teaching route. (There’s a great talk on ministering in the October Ensign, but the way.) Even very small things make a big difference if we follow promptings from the Holy Ghost. I can’t wait for more lessons to be learned next weekend!

  4. The General Relief Society Conference last night was just what I needed. I liked all the messages, but Sister Thompson’s and President Eyring’s talks really stood out to me. I liked how Sister Thompson admonished us to learn how to recognize the Lord’s approval in our lives and to learn how He accepts our offering. In President Eyring’s remarks, I liked how he told us we can find joy in our lives even when our own unmet needs are great. I also enjoyed how he said that often times your determination to serve the Lord in faith will take you into the storms of life, not around them.

    I am greatly looking forward to hearing conference this weekend! I need the spiritual recharge!

  5. LOL–I did our family night last week about having a good experience during conference (our kids are 17, 14, 9, 9, and 9) and your article was one that I read in preparation for FHE! Thanks for the good ideas. 2 of my 3 little ones like the packets, and we are also going to have a conference quiz for FHE the following Monday. Everyone is supposed to come up with 3 questions. I just need to be sure to prepare myself now.

  6. Now that boys are too old to be happy coloring, but too young to sit still on their own , we started buying a new puzzle that we work on as a family- usually 1000 pieces will last us all 4 sessions. While we aren’t perfectly quiet, I notice my children listening and asking me questions much more than they used to.

    Of course, treats and conference BINGO cards are always fun to have handy too.

    Now, I am going to go out on a limb here and admit something. Yesterday was a hard day. I had a hard week and yesterday it all hit me. A long bath only brought me to tears and left me worked up, so I ended up in bed and couldn’t muster up the strength to go to the RS meeting. I saw that the BYU channel is airing it and so I am going to try to catch it later this week. One of those moments when emotions and motherhood overwhelmed me and definitely got in the way of my divinity!

  7. I like the puzzle idea in one of the above comments. I also like giving the kids the assignment ahead of time to find a story they can share during FHE the upcoming Monday. They usually come up with more than one each.

    I enjoyed the RS broadcast, too. What I got out of it was that the RS works with the priesthood–equally–to fulfill the Lord’s needs.

  8. I LOVED the broadcast. It was so uplifting. I love to hear President Eyring so it was a treat to have him speak. I thought talking about the Legacy of Relief Society was wonderful. As a convert of many years, I think a great deal about converts and I think reminders like that are fantastic.

    I also loved how Sister Beck reminded us that RS was organized after the pattern of the Priesthood and that we should always carry our membership with us. I’ve pondered about that and I think it’s a great concept. I also loved when she said Visiting Teaching is never finished.

    Your ideas for those with children are wonderful. I’m passed that stage. I remember having a little “bingo-like” card with all sorts of words like “tithing” “temple” “family” “sabbath-day” and the kids would put candies on the spot each time they would hear a topic. They loved it and it kept them listening.

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