One of my favorite weekends of the year is our church’s General Conference broadcast. I can go into it tired or frustrated or worn out or nervous about the future and when I’m done watching apostles, prophets, and other strong leaders speak for 8 hours, I’m good. I feel refreshed. I feel confident. I know God is in charge and therefore everything will be fine.
The kids love General Conference weekend too, but for different reasons.
First of all, we get to attend church in our pajamas in our living room and snack while we watch. A pair of fluffy pajamas and a cinnamon roll really help eight hours of church go down.
Secondly, we make it a game for the kids. The night before each session we all guess what color dresses the ladies of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be wearing in a little thing we like to call the MoTab Ladies’ Fashion Betting Pool. We always guess all kinds of crazy colors and Dan always guesses Red for Sunday morning and he is always right.
My contention is, “Is it fun to be right if being right requires being boring? Pick another color.” And this year he did. And he lost. Because they wore red Sunday morning. C’est la guerre, mon ami.
The other game we play is set up sort of like a churchy drinking game. In front of the TV screen, I set out several cups full of small treats with common but not too common words written on them. Every time they hear one of those words in a talk, hymn or prayer, they get to take a treat from the corresponding cup.
Conference is broken up in to four 2-hour general sessions so I change the words and sometimes the treats each session.
The kids ALWAYS want me to pick words like “Jesus” or “and” but I NEVER do. RE: I am not an idiot. Also RE: I hate sugar comas.
This game sometimes produces interesting reactions in my kids.
To Quentin L. Cook’s talk, in which he said the word “missionary” more times than should be strictly legal, netting the kids hundreds of Gummy Bears, Wanda exclaimed, “Best. Talk. OF MY LIFE!”
Then there was the talk that described in great detail the transformative power of the Savior’s ultimate sacrifice and the kids looked like their faces would explode.
“Oh! Come on!!! He is describing the atonement. Why doesn’t he just SAY it!?”
They wanted that chocolate but they had to wait for the actual word.
Personally, I love watching them really listen to the words, even if on the surface it seems like they’re just playing a game. The fact that they were listening well enough to know he was talking about the atonement is a big fat bonus.
For one session I had the words Joseph Smith on one of the cups.
Not one mention of the guy.
So I changed out the words before the next session. During the opening prayer of that session, the person offering the prayer mentioned his gratitude for the prophet Joseph Smith. I heard Magoo let out a disgruntled sigh. “Are you serious?” ye mumbled.
Probably my favorite moment of the weekend came when D. Todd Christofferson was talking about fatherhood. At one point he said something about how the greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother. Of course Dan took the opportunity to plant an epic kiss on my mouth. I imagine parents all over the world were engaging in churchly make-outs at that point and I’ll be derned if that doesn’t just make me proud to be a Mormon.
After our kiss, Magoo responded with his traditional, “I didn’t see that,” and without missing a beat, Wanda chimed in, “Thank you, Dad.”
You’re welcome, Wanda. Any time.