Last Monday night our family gathered for family home evening. Gathered is a not an all together accurate way of describing how our family assembled for our weekly night of togetherness, since what preceded our gathering when something like this:
Okay, kids! It’s time for family night!
(Groan of agony from teenager)
Can I go on the computer for a few minutes first?
I’m already on the computer!
Not any more we’re having family night. So get off. It’s my turn.
Dad, lemme just finish this text.
(Screams from two toddlers running up and down the hallway)
Why do we even do this. Mitch’s family doesn’t. And why did you have to have so many kids? You got it right the first time when you had me. You should have stopped then.
Has anyone seen my biology folder?
I want to sing snow man
Why do you love that song so much? We live in Florida. You’ve never seen a snowman.
No, you’ve never seen a snow man!
I’ve got to find that biology folder.
If I don’t go on Webkinz my pet giraffe is going to die.
I want snow man!
Don’t sit there, that’s my spot.
Seriously, who stole my biology folder?
Come on, let’s just get this over with!
Welcome, everyone to family night.
I think you get the picture. But despite a fair amount of opposition, our family did gather for a night of family home evening. To imagine our family at this point all sitting upright on unstained and unbroken living room furniture quietly listening to a gripping lesson, complete with laminated cutesy figurines to draw in the youngest members of our family, would stroke my ego as a parent, but would be far from the truth. What actually happened was that when we gathered for family night, the chaos in our home gathered with us, making it a noisy, obnoxious frustrating affair, and the perfect setting for our family to hear the parable of Ted Durgeon.
When Christ taught his apostles, he made sure that the setting allowed for him to teach well, and for his words to be absorbed into the minds and hearts of his disciples. Our setting didn’t exactly fit that profile, but my husband had a lesson and it was time to get started, and so he asked the general question, "Does anyone remember the story of Ted Durgeon in the New Testament?"
Sitting forward on our couch to give our two-year old room to crawl behind me, I pondered my husband’s question. Ted Durgeon? Was there really a Ted in the Bible? It didn’t sound like the place you’d find a Ted. Ted in accounting. Ted in customer service. But Ted in the Bible?
That’s when, through the confusion and chaos, I heard my ten year old say, "Yes, Dad. We learned about the parable of the ten virgins in Primary.
Ten Virgins, I thought. That makes a lot more sense.
Okay, despite the nonexistence of a parable about a guy named Ted, I still feel there is something to learn from our experience, and here it is: even the worst family home evening is better that no family home evening. Why, you ask? Lemme splain.
Yes, my husband’s lesson was highly forgettable and refreshments were a tad stale, but here’s why Ted’s important. After the younger ones had scrambled off to the kitchen, my older kids and I stayed there, and we started talking. The conversation ranged from funny things we’d seen on television to recent drama at their high school. It was nothing earth shattering. No vows of chastity were sworn. No oaths against drug consumption taken. But what did happen is we talked, and that talking led to laughing, which led to good night hugs and I love you’s. It was good stuff, and it wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t gathered together. So what is the moral of the parable of Ted Durgeon? Simple. It’s that we should have family home evening, even bad ones, because when we do, even if we’re not hearing what we’re supposed to be hearing, we’re still together, and that is a good thing.