Nathan announced tonight that our children were old enough they needed to witness and experience regular visits from our home teachers. Our home teachers are wonderful, and come every month, but usually they come in the evening after the children are in bed so that we can talk and learn. With all of them a little older, and all of them adopted, it’s time, Nathan said, for us to be home taught as a family.
Because our kids pretty much freak out – either overcome by fear or overwhelmed by excitement – any time we have any kind of visitors at all, we decided to transition them by having the home teachers come while we were eating dinner. The missionaries have done that for us for a year, and it gives the kids a focus to distract them while actually being focused on the lessons presented. They feel safe, and comfortable, and can pay attention with full tummies. It worked well, despite the level of chaos when we began. We had just finished filming a new video, and everyone was running around putting away props, and I was shouting after them as they scattered. Nathan got dinner plated, and I was grateful I had it ready in the crockpot, and we got the kids mostly-re-focused by having them pass out plates to the table. Food always gets their attention.
The lesson was amazing! He talked about airplanes, and how they work, and airports, and runways, and how wind can make it harder for planes to land. He compared that, of course, to trials and challenges in life, and how these make it harder for us to follow the Savior as we try to get home to Heavenly Father.
Then he did the one thing that excites our kids more than Christmas morning itself: he made paper airplanes with them. He laid out a runway in the living room, and had them take turns trying to land their paper airplanes on the runway.
When they got better at it, he added a wind effect to make it harder to land the planes. Everyone got a turn being the wind, and everyone got a turn trying to land their paper airplanes in the wind. It was pure delight and hilarity, as planes landed everywhere but on the runway.
Then he tied a string to a picture of Jesus, and held it up, and had a paper airplane attached to the string by a paperclip. No matter how hard the wind blew, the paperclip (atonement!) kept the plane on the path (like the iron rod! scriptures! prayer! ordinances!) so that it landed safely on the runaway every time. We talked about prophets, and keeping commandments, and the atonement, and how Heavenly Father has this plan to get us home safely.
Because Heavenly Father really does want us back home.
It was a beautiful message for the children, and for us, and what a reminder even of the compassion from the talks in sacrament meeting this morning.
I loved it! The kids were still talking about it at bed time. Their spirits settled, and their interactions improved, and the volume came down, and we were happier and more at peace – even through bedtime dramas and the challenges and trials of mortality… just like the lesson taught us. They caught it, too, and pointed it out, and talked about it some more. It was exactly right for our family and what we needed. I am so grateful for home teachers, and know that as we keep our covenants to care for each other, relationships will be built and families will heal.