Jason and Alanea Hanna admit they couldn't squeeze out of their family home evening habit if they tried their children wouldn't permit it.
"They've told us before, 'Mommy and Daddy, remember family home evening,'" said Sister Hanna, laughing.
Like many LDS families, the Hannas are busy folks. Brother and Sister Hanna are both pursuing degrees at Wichita State University. Eight-year-old Ashea has homework and plays on a local basketball team. Even the three youngest children Alex, 5, Autumn, 3, and 2-month-old Austin have their own interests and needs. Plus, Brother and Sister Hanna serve in the ward Sunday School and stake Relief Society presidencies, respectively.
Despite those demands, Monday nights are synonymous with family home evening. "We've made it a priority in our lives," said Brother Hanna.
From the Bahamas, Brother Hanna came to the United States several years ago to run track at a college in Independence, Kan. There he met Alanea, who grew up in Wichita. The couple knew nothing about the Church until 1993 when they were introduced to a pair of full-time missionaries who were working with a mutual acquaintance. They accepted the gospel's teachings and were baptized two years later. In 1996 the young family was sealed in the Dallas Texas Temple. Since then the Hannas have become valuable members of the Church in Wichita, said Bishop Jackie Arnold of the Bel Aire Ward, Derby Kansas Stake.
Brother Hanna said he and his wife have embraced LDS programs such as family home evening "and run with it."
Monday night is a highlight for the Hanna children. Besides using the Family Home Evening Resource Book, Brother and Sister Hanna try to modify their lessons to their children's needs. If, say, the siblings quarrel during the week, Mom and Dad will develop a lesson about family unity and togetherness.
Little Alex and Autumn enjoy doing their part during home evening discussions, sticking pictures or cut-outs onto a bulletin board. "And sometimes Ashea will give a lesson out of the Friend," said Sister Hanna.
The Hannas also look for ways to make their lessons as tangible as possible. One Monday, Brother Hanna offered a lesson on patriarchal blessings. He then arranged for his daughter to meet the stake patriarch to talk about what they had learned.
Sister Hanna believes children need family home evening to grow strong in the Church.
"That's important," she said. "We want to do whatever we can to [help.]"
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