The Visiting Teaching Message for July is about strengthening homes and families. Barbara Thompson, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, is quoted as following:
“Each of us is in a different family situation. Some families have a mother and father with children at home. Some couples no longer have children at home. Many members of the Church are single, and some are single parents. Others are widows or widowers living alone.
“No matter what our family looks like, each of us can work to strengthen our own families or help in strengthening others.
“[Once] I stayed in the home of my niece and her family. That evening before the children went to bed, we had a short family home evening and a scripture story. Their father told about the family of Lehi and how he taught his children that they must hold fast to the iron rod, which is the word of God. Holding fast to the iron rod would keep them safe and lead them to joy and happiness. If they should let go of the iron rod, there was danger of drowning in the river of dirty water.
“To demonstrate this to the children, their mother became the ‘iron rod’ that they must cling to, and their father played the role of the devil, trying to pull the children away from safety and happiness. The children loved the story and learned how important it is to hold fast to the iron rod. After the scripture story it was time for family prayer. . . .
“Scriptures, family home evening, and family prayer will strengthen families. We need to take every opportunity to strengthen families and support one another to stay on the right path.”
a “family” printout (download here)
Sharpie permanent markers
During your lesson, as you introduce the quote by Sister Thompson, you can lay out the letters and talk about different kinds of families, how family dynamics change over time, and how we can all support one another’s families.
As you begin to discuss strengthening families, cut off a strip of packing tape, about 12 inches long. (Please ignore blue paper in photo below
Lay the tape down on a flat surface, sticky side up. Place your letters face down on the tape, beginning with the F on the right-hand side of the tape and move to the left with the rest of your letters, so you spell “family” reading left to right when you flip the tape back over.
As you lay out the letters, talk about different ways we can strengthen our families, and what priorities we can change to strengthen our families this month.
Cut another strip of tape to cover the back of the letters – so you have effectively “laminated” (thus greatly strengthening) your family.
Now, with your Sharpies, write down some of the things you discussed about strengthening families. Encourage your visiting teaching sisters to put their strengthened paper family somewhere to remind them to continue thinking of ways strengthen their “real” family.
Hope you are having a fabulous summer, and that July is a great month for you and those you serve!