Family Home Evening for Black History Month

Posted by on February 5, 2014 in worship | 3 comments

MosesI’m not one of those fancy parents who has Family Home Evening (FHE) with a lesson, a treat, a song, a scripture, and a game that are all thematically linked. Nope.

On a week that we do FHE, we do a Church song (kid’s choice), then, Nate or I yell a lesson over the kids’ playing or fighting, and we end with a prayer.

But, for the past few years in the month of February, we have one stellar FHE as I read Moses: When Harried Tubman Led Her People to Freedom.* Throughout the book, God guides Harriet to freedom by talking to her as she takes that first journey North. It’s a perfect story for emphasizing faith, courage, and listening to that still, small, voice. Then, we talk about slavery, racism, and our responsibilities to love all our sisters and brothers.

I’m also embarrassed…this is my only FHE with a modern person of color. And, I want to do better, especially after reading the chapter, “Why White Parents Don’t Talk about Race” in Nurtureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.

What are you doing for Black History Month? What do you do throughout the year in your FHEs to work on combating racism?

*Just a warning, we’ve owned this book for 4 years. I’ve read it often, but I have yet to get through it without crying.

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3 Comments

  1. I love that you make a point of having this lesson every year with your kids. Helping our children understand the terrible realities of the past and the heroic figures who risked and gave their lives to overcome those horrors can play a critical role in building their empathy and help them recognize injustices they see in their own lives. I love that you are incorporating that into your family’s own religious practice, Emily.

    Here in Baltimore we are faced with these questions rather continuously. Something that has made a huge impression on my own children is located in the park near our home. Not far from the playground we frequent are the remnants of the pool and tennis courts that were once designated for people of color. The city (very wisely) has preserved these structures and included informational placards about the history of segregation in our city. Confronting the idea that 60 years ago my children could not have gone swimming with their best friends is appalling to all of us and ignites their sense of social justice.

    We also love to tell the story of Frederick Douglass (a former Baltimorean before he escaped slavery). There are some beautiful passages from his narrative that are like scripture to us. His account of teaching himself to read and the day he first got paid for his work are some of the most powerful passages I have ever read and very accessible to children.

    Thanks for this!

  2. Thanks for the book suggestion, Emily! I’d like to read it for an FHE this month, as well as sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” for our song. I don’t know why I love that anthem so much, but I do. It will be a good follow up to our MLK-day FHE, where I made everybody watch the “I Have a Dream” speech and we sang “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” which was MLK’s favorite gospel hymn.

  3. Fantastic suggestion, EmilyCC. I’m going to get this book and do an FHE with it asap.

    Aimee, any chance you could put up a post (or email me and I’ll do it) on the paragraphs you read from Frederick Douglass’s journal to your kids? I love the idea of discussing these things with my kid.

    EmilyU, thanks for those ideas for songs!

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