One of our nicer fans asked what Sundays look like at the Briney home so I thought I’d share a typical Sunday with you.
Sundays revolve around the children.
After breakfast, we have a bit of free time. We encourage the children to read scriptures or books about the gospel in their free time. They can choose what to read. Usually, Jacob is found on a couch reading an Action Bible (think Bible in comic book form) to younger siblings. Often, the other older children are doing the same thing (Laurelei and Brielle are commonly caught doing the same thing) but Jacob seems to be the child most frequently found guilty of reading to younglings on Sunday. Sometimes, one of the mammas has scripture power with all of the children so they all read scriptures together like they do on normal weekdays. Often, I’m preparing a lesson and often, one of the other mammas is doing the same thing. Whoever is left is preparing a meal, helping ensure meal clean up happens, etc.
At some rigid point in time, like, maybe 9:30 or 10:30 or 11:00, or something like that, we start Sunday School. April has been in charge of Sunday School for several months but recently, we’ve started having Angela and Auralee take turns running Sunday School. We open with prayer, sing hymns, and then do a lesson geared toward the whole family. Those lessons focus on general gospel teachings and principles common to Christianity and Mormonism as a whole. Sometimes, April has little finger plays or “lap time” games for the children to choose intermediate fun songs to keep them focused. At another rigid point in time, say an hour or more (or maybe, usually, less) after that lesson is over, we excuse the little children to go play somewhere quietly. I don’t know what they do when they leave but I suspect it is random, ever-changing, and toddler-level entertainment or maybe not. Whatever it is, they are quiet … or they are reminded to stay quiet until they do.
After they leave, I (Drew) typically teach a lesson for the older kids. Often (for months on end without intermission), those lessons are based on the life of Christ. We go into deeper issues, discuss the meanings of Greek words, various manuscripts of the verses that have different renderings, discuss differing ideologies of Jesus’ time, first century Jewish culture, Hebrew symbolism, contemporary Rabbinical teachings, apocryphal writings that shed light on various passages, and things like that. Occasionally, I do lessons on other topics. Today, I presented a lesson from my annotated D&C 76 project Angela and I published last year.
After Sunday School, we have lunch. Again, we follow a super rigid schedule but we try to start sacrament early enough that we can still watch our show with the children (and apologize for the awful example we have been to the world). In between, we have free time. Right now for instance, Angela is reading books to the little children, Auralee is feeding a child (or children), I’m writing a blog post, and my older children are preparing some materials so that I can give a lesson on world building in novel writing (we teach our children through the Writing in Excellence curriculum and they’ve been insatiable learning more about writing. At least three are publishing their writings on Wattpad – thanks, Karissa, for pioneering that pathway to becoming a better writer).
For sacrament meeting, we sing hymns, and give extemporaneous (unprepared) talks as do most all Mormon fundamentalists before and after partaking of the sacrament. When in Utah, we attend meetings with other fundamentalists from time to time. We also invite other families to our meetings so we can fellowship with like minded people and, since we all believe in extemporaneous talks, they can share their testimonies with our children and visa versa. Outside of Utah, there really aren’t other fundamentalist Mormons to meet with so … we don’t do that when traveling outside of Utah.
We have discussed attending various Christian churches on occasion so our children can see what that is like but we haven’t done that much yet. I think it’s important to teach children about different religious beliefs so we do discuss various interpretations of scriptures already. I attended a lot of different churches growing up and that helped open my mind enough to keep searching for more truth. I want my children to have open minds as well.
When watching the show, we usually gather around a laptop and a Bose bluetooth speaker. Unitedly, we adults cringe at each scene and remark about how a statement was out of context or how an eye-roll wasn’t in response to the comment depicted on the show and … remark about what a great job the Alldredges have been doing at showing a good example to the world of what our lifestyle is really supposed to be like. The children laugh and occasionally face palm when one of the parents says something … less than exemplary.
Before or after that (depending on when we have sacrament), we have more free time that we’ve been trying to evolve into family game time so we can spend more unstructured fun time with the children. Angela and I also race through the (now thousands) of tweets to answer questions and prepare episode round up blog posts. Frequently, I’m taken to the side by someone (or several someones who take turns rotating) asking me to help them with their challenges in life, whether that is with a sibling, a sister wife, a friend at school, or an extended family member. Sometimes we do Facetime with a grandma or call friends or family.
Before going to bed, like every other day, we gather together for “happy things” and family prayer. Happy things is a tradition I started where we each take turns telling everyone else what made us happy that day. I highly recommend the tradition. It ends the day on a good note, it helps parents identify ever-evolving love languages with the children (as well as challenges they may be having), and it helps younger children develop memory skills. It also helps us focus on God’s blessings in our lives instead of our problems. We ask if anyone has a friend who is in need of our prayers and pray for them as a family.
Ideally, I spend a good portion of my Sundays studying the gospel. Often, I don’t – that depends on how much counseling is needed in the family any given Sunday. When I do get a couple/few hours to study, I’m often studying something in preparation to teach a lesson to the older children or to prepare something for publication that I believe like-minded people are missing in their gospel studies. If I don’t get time on Sunday to prepare a lesson, that leaves Monday through Saturday to catch up so that isn’t a problem but I prefer to use my study time on Sundays to prepare for those lessons.
If I left out anything significant, maybe one of my wives will point it out in the comment section below …
You can feel free to ask more specific questions below as well.