Our typical family home evening consists of us singing a couple of Rock Band songs chosen by Parker (Ghostbusters and Spaceman are favorites) me trying to give a bit of a lesson, Colin and Carter fighting over who gets to choose the activity (and Carter stomping up the stairs when he doesn't get his way) and Alex muttering under his breath that family home evening is going to destroy our family. We continue to hold it each week, however. Not because we harbor any illusions that the boys are learning anything but we know there are blessings that come from following the counsel of our leaders.
Last night, we decided to try a different approach and take family home evening on the road. We met Nelson at work and then went over to the Trax train for a trip to Temple Square to see the new model of the inside of the temple (it is really cool and worth the trip into town if you haven't seen it). Here are the reactions from each boy--from my view, anyway.
Paxton--He was very nervous on Trax and at first did not want to be there at all. After a bit he relaxed and started to enjoy the ride. The Trax trip home was even better and he liked being on the "train." In the car on our way to ice cream we were stopped by the crossing bars of a real train. The rest of us groaned but Paxton was fascinated. We all cheered when the train passed and we were able to move again but he cried and cried. A good reminder that a train in your path is all about perspective!
Parker--He thought Trax was fantastic and that the next time we go to the beach house in California we should take this train and make sure to bring his cousin Logan with us. The visitors center on Temple Square was great for him, too. He was so excited to see everything and was just buzzing around. At one point he ran over to me because "he found conference!" He took me to a room that displayed talks from President Monsen and then excitedly showed me a "church remote" which was a podium with a touch screen on it :).
Colin--Colin was cooped up at home all day so he took advantage of being let out of the house. His inner wild child was unleashed but fortunately it was tempered a bit by being impressed with the temple model and all the displays. The highlight for him was probably playing Don't Break the Egg on Trax. He and Carter sat on the circle that moves going around corners with their arms wrapped around their bodies and tried not to move. When Colin's "egg" broke, Carter made him keep his hand on his head so his yolk wouldn't come out.
Carter--Carter was also very impressed with the temple model and especially the touch screens that also you to move through different rooms in the temple. He had the most questions and spent a great deal of time trying to see how everything fit together. It was fun to watch. He also tried to keep up with Addison as we walked down the street (see below)
Addison--The displays held less interest for Addison because he was more concerned with finding a missionary referral card to send the missionaries to the home of one his online friends. He and this friend spend a lot of time blowing up things and talking about religion. It is modern missionary work. Walking to and from Trax, Addison jumped on pedestals and leaped over walls and his brothers tried to follow suit. It is amazing that we have not had more trips to the ER in our life.
Alex--Alex was in true family home evening form. He wondered why we would ever take these boys out in public and why we can't control them more. I can't wait until he has kids! He was also very nice to the sister missionaries who offered him advice on preparing for his mission. I know he will be putting their counsel into action today!
Nelson--The visitors center feeds Nelson's inner historic geek (his outer one, too). I am sure he could have spent much more time reading every piece of information but he is a good sport about being done when the boys are. He also got to enjoy a little conversation with the missionaries. Right after Nelson was baptized, he had to talk to every missionary that he saw. The boys would joke that if he saw missionaries on the side of the road, he had to stop the car and jump out to say hi. Well, maybe it wasn't a joke. It was fun for him to enjoy that missionary feeling again.
We ended the night at Arctic Circle for ice cream. Addison said it was by far the worst family home evening we've ever had so I will take his teenage sarcasm to mean it was pretty fun. We might even venture out of the house again at some point. I am sure Alex will be thrilled!