Abraham Lincoln used to drive his law partner crazy by reading the newspaper aloud in the office. Lincoln explained, “When I read aloud two senses catch the idea; first I see what I read; second I hear it, and therefore I can remember it better.”[i] As homeschooling parents we’ve all observed that the more senses we can get our children to use in the learning process, the more interest and retention there is.
As the last convention of general conference was about to get underway, I was searching for activities to keep minds active and hands busy during the sessions. Like many of you, I find a quick internet search brings up a host of conference bingo cards and other activities for children. I treat the weekend as a holiday in the sense of traditional treats and feasts that the family looks forward to. While conference holds to an auditory presentation, we hope to all have the spiritual sensations related to the witness of the Holy Ghost, and the smells and tastes of foods often craved but rarely eaten bring additional senses into play in the anticipation of this special weekend.
In my conference preparations, I found a blog that is full of delights called "Being LDS" . As I came across a page with the phrases “General Conference Book Club” and “General Conference Wall” I made assumptions as to their gist, but was called away from my computer and didn’t get the details.
After conference, I went back to the blog posts and found that my vision of the “Conference Wall” differed from Jocelyn’s, the writer of the blog. (This is terrific, actually, because now you’ll get TWO ideas!) Jocelyn’s wall is an activity for children during conference. My wall is a visual learning display and exercise in symbolism for the months afterconference as the messages are studied and put into practice.
So here’s the gist of “my” wall. First, select a talk to read, study, and ponder. You can allot as much time as you think necessary —a day, a week, or even a month. For our first one, we took a week. The first day I gave a presentation on some of the highlights of the talk for me personally. I considered some particular areas where both the family collectively and I as an individual can apply the principles I emphasized, sharing specific real-life examples that have happened, as well as musing over hypothetical but possible situations family members might encounter in which the teachings of the talk need be applied. I chose a hymn that I felt complemented the talk, a story from the scriptures that further illustrated the principles, and even a Mormonad that went along with it. I then told everyone that they had a week to study the talk further on their own, including the scripture references listed at the end of the talk, and that we’d discuss everyone else’s thoughts, feelings, and impressions the next week.
Next, I created a visual display on a wall (that will now be our “Conference Wall”) that was a representation of our discussion. As the kids share their ideas, I will add to it. Obviously each talk we study will add to the collage that will be a reminder of those things we need to be working on.
Some suggestions for use for your own “Conference Wall” might be:
Quotes of key words or phrases
Complementary hymns or phrases from hymns
Pictures from the Gospel Art Picture Kit or Friend or Ensign
Photos of the general authorities who gave the talks
Pictures drawn by your children of them acting on the teachings
Quoted scriptures for memorization
Hand tracings with goals or personal commitments written on them
Photos of someone you know who is a good example of living the principle being taught
I have a testimony of studying the words of the prophets daily and incorporating their teachings into all we do in our homeschool. Since a young woman I have always loved the quote, “Living the gospel is like brushing your teeth, you can’t just do it on Sunday.” My goal with our “Conference Wall” is to immerse my family in the timely teachings of the Lord’s servants in as many ways as possible, having faith that by sticking things to my walls, I’ll be sticking things in my family members’ hearts.
[i] Ron L. Andersen, Abraham Lincoln: God’s Humble Instrument, p.64