I wrote a blog entry a little while ago about a family Marshmallow War that spontaneously erupted one night during Family Home Evening. It was the most fun we've possibly ever had as a family. Last night we had our second runner-up in Funnest FHE Ever.
We played a simple game of Follow The Leader, except that, unbeknownst to her, Darcey was the leader. I sat her on the floor in the living room, and the rest of us sat a few feet away facing her. She didn't know what to make of us all just sitting there, so we all sat still, staring, for a really long time. Then she giggled. So the five of us giggled too. Which made her laugh, which made us laugh, and in a minute we were all laughing so hard that no one could breathe. When she stopped laughing, we quieted down too...for a minute, until she laughed again. We did this over and over, and it was hysterical. We were laughing at her, but she was laughing at us.
After several minutes of just laughing, Darcey pulled her knees up to her chest, and was surprised to see all of us do it too. That's when she started to get the game - she flopped her legs back down, and so did we. Up with the legs, down with the legs. Over and over. Stop for a laughing break. More legs. More laughing.
At some point she got bored and stood up. So did we. So she dropped to the ground, and so did we. Up, down, up, down. She added laying flat on the ground to her repertoire, and Ryan and I wondered why we had gone to the gym that day. She rolled on the ground a little, then stood up and twirled in a circle. At one point she walked over to a toy and put her hand on it, so we all followed and touched it, too. You could see in her face just how weird it was to have everyone copying her, but she clearly loved it.
After 15 minutes or so, Ryan and I were exhausted (although the 4 kids could have gone on forever, I think) so we called the game off by giving Darcey a giant round of applause, which of course she loved. She looked a little sad when no one copied her anymore, and then she was whisked off to bed shortly thereafter. But the rest of us agreed that this was the second most fun game we have ever played.
The concept of Family Home Evening is to have a night reserved just for family. The generally agreed upon format for the night usually includes a lesson, some songs, maybe reading a scripture or telling a story, and ending with an activity and refreshments. For us, the beauty in the program is not in the educational opportunity of the lesson, but in the family bonding. Having a regular time to spend together has given us the chance to have spontaneous fun. If we had just been sitting in the family room watching The Biggest Loser, we might have still enjoyed each other's company, but having some time dedicated to being together as a family in a low-key way has given us some amazing memories.
I am starting to love Monday nights. You can't plan this kind of fun, you just need to get out of your normal routine and allow it to happen. I plan so many family activities, where fun is expected, but when I get out of my own way and let things happen, that's the most fun. I can't wait to play our new game again. Although, not right now, or I'd have to smear Lucky Charms in my hair.