Saturday, April 6, 2013
Conference Packets and How I Get Schooled . . . By My 7 Year Old
A tradition that started out (I think) as a single Conference activity page my children received in Primary once - has become a 553 page printable packet. Okay, I'm exaggerating. But that is how it felt the first time I tried to print one. I don't even know when I discovered what mother's were making for their kids. Cue the guilt. Fast forward to the day after Conference weekend where I see the discarded paper (and ink) and have to wonder, did it help?
This year, this week, it's been a little busier than usual so here is how the following conversation unfolded between me and my daughter on the morning of conference:
Me: Conference is about to start, do you want to print a conference packet?
Her (emphatically): No!
Moment of silence.
Me: What will you do during the conference sessions?
Her (exasperated): Um, listen!
So this brings me back to how I felt when I discovered the varied and novel-length packets, activities, games and three-day scavenger hunts through crocodile infested waters that some parents provide their children as a way to help them 'get more out of Conference.'
Though I feel like I'm speaking blasphemy, here goes - could what we do to 'help' our children be a distraction from what they need most?
Let me explain. When I attended General Conference with my family, we drove 30 minutes to the Stake Center, listened by radio for two hours (until the year we had satellite) and then drove home. This was in the days before, well, everything. So what did I do? I listened. What it hard? Maybe. Did I understand everything I heard? I'm sure I didn't. But you know what? What I did hear and understand, I liked. And I remember wanting to go back. In fact, I'm astounded at how much I did understand and remember.
So maybe this: don't underestimate your children. Don't print 30 page packets unless the Spirit prompts you in that Ensign-story-like way. Let them listen.