One of our family goals this year was to change our “Sunday” back to the “Holy Sabbath”. Keeping the Sabbath day holy is one of the 10 commandments, it’s pretty basic, been around a while. And yet it seems that the world, the Mormon world included, have forgotten about it. So we wanted to help our children understand what the day of rest is meant to be, what the Lord intended it for. I did a bit of reading, in church books, on people’s blogs, and Tui and I came up with a plan to help us Keep the Sabbath Day Holy.
· Preparation – we found that lots of what caused frustration on Sundays was having to get things ready. And so we’ve started doing LOTS more on Saturdays – showering the kids, laying out clothes, getting church bags packed and into the car, doing all the washing and vacuuming etc. We have also made Sunday our crock pot day, so I can have everything prepped and in the dish Saturday night, ready to be plonked in and turned on Sunday morning. Any little thing that COULD be done Saturday night, we’re doing (even putting the cereal bowls and spoons on the table).
· Music – this has probably been the best thing in terms of having a nice feeling about our Sunday. We got a ton of church music, put it on ipods, phones, computers etc and as soon as we wake up we turn something on. And driving to church we have something playing. All day there is church music going, even if it’s just in the background, and it makes such a big difference in the spirit and feeling of our home on Sunday.
· Special Sunday Stuff – one book I read talked about having Sunday as a day the kids look forward too because it’s special, and having special Sunday things that they don’t have any other day. So we’ve started having special Sunday cereal, (one that’s expensive and I usually wouldn’t buy) that they only get on Sunday. They love it! In fact yesterday when Vili prayed in the morning he said “And thank you that it’s Sunday so we can have the special Sunday cereal coz it’s yummy…”
· Routine – we came up with a general routine of how the day would go, so that everyone knows what’s expected and what’s coming up. We get up, have breakfast and get dressed. Then we watch a church DVD (we bought a bunch more so that there’s a big selection and we aren’t repeating the same one every week). Then we have morning tea, get dressed for church and off we go. We are now able to be at church 10-15min early which is great. After church is personal quiet time (naps, callings, reading church books, playing quietly with our Sunday-do-box stuff etc), then we eat an early dinner. Then it’s family time. We came up with a list of things that we could choose from, and so every week over dinner we decide what to do (bake something and take it to someone in need, play a church game (we bought a few more LDS board games etc), go for a walk, write in journals, watch home videos, write letters to family, family history (we’ve started learning more about our grandparents etc and making a scrapbook about them), going to the temple, visiting grandparents etc). All of these things are things we will only do on Sundays, again making them special so the kids look forward to them.
So far it’s all been going really well. Having a plan and a goal has made a lot of difference for Tui and I especially, because we never have to argue about what is and isn’t ok on Sunday. And I hope over time it will help my children to gain a greater appreciation for the Holy Sabbath day, to learn that it’s not just part of the weekend, it’s not just an inside day, but that it’s a day we can focus on the Savior and on our families.