Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when we keep the Sabbath Day holy. Wise parents and grandparents can help the rising generation to understand and even look forward to the Sabbath each week. We can help them find and enjoy meaningful activities that will help the Sabbath a day of delight for them. Isaiah explained the importance of the Sabbath.
If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 58:13-14)
Lani Hilton suggests that parents analyze, ponder, and plan some ways to help children better honor the Sabbath. She offers an extensive list to help parents think of ways to make the Sabbath a delight for their children.
Hilton’s first suggestion is to turn toys and games into Sabbath-appropriate activities.
. Use toy blocks to build structures spoken of in the scriptures (King Benjamin’s tower in Mosiah 2, the wall of Jerusalem in Nehemiah 4-6, or the lion’s den in Daniel 6.) and read the related scriptural accounts while encouraging children to build the structures.
. Use dress-up clothing to dress up as the people in the scriptures.
. Use dolls to play house to “remind our children of the essential role of mothers and fathers, teach them how important love is in a family, and thank them for all they do to help the family be happy.”
. Use puppets to act “out scenarios like sharing, obeying, helping with chores, forgiving, being kind, including others, practicing good manners, and respecting family members.”
. Turn “the game `20 questions’ into a gospel game by using a character, place, or object in the scriptures.”
. Draw pictures about “a scripture story, person, place, or thing.” Each person has a minute to draw their picture and each has a turn to hold up their picture for others to guess what it is and briefly share the story.
Hilton’s second suggestion is to go on field trips to the cemetery to visit the gravesite of a relative, to visit a family with a newborn baby, to beautiful gardens to “ponder the Creation and the Atonement,” to the grounds of a temple, or to visit grandparents or other relatives.
Hilton’s third suggestion is to help the children become involved in family history work.
.Children can interview family members who live close by or contact others by phone or internet.
. Read journals out loud. They can be missionary journals, the journal of ancestors, or the events from personal journals from an earlier time.
. Create a quiz. Take the questions from an interview or reading a book about an ancestor. Questions can also come from “journal entries, letters, and scrapbooks.”
. Play “memory games using pictures of ancestors.”
Hilton closes her list of suggestions by encouraging parents to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to their children. She gives this reminder.
Gospel instruction can happen any day of the week, but there is a power that accompanies gospel learning on the Sabbath….
Creative ideas of things we can do to help our children focus on the Savior
and His gospel are limitless. We can encourage them to draw gospel art,
listen to or create music that is centered on the Savior, or visit those who are sick or lonely. Additionally, we can direct children to spiritually strengthening activities found online at friend.lds.org and youth.lds.org and watch with them uplifting videos from Mormon Message or The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos.
Creating a routine has helped our family set consistent habits and made the ideal situation more likely to happen. Having a routine has simplified planning and ensured that we have a variety of quality activities. For example, you might take a field trip on the first Sunday of the month, focus on gospel games on the second Sunday, concentrate on videos and Church websites on the third Sunday, and make family history a priority on the fourth Sunday.
Hilton gives many interesting and appropriate suggestions for helping our children and grandchildren find delight in keeping the Sabbath Day holy. I know that we can bring blessings into our families, communities, and nation by keeping the Sabbath Day holy.