General Conference is my favorite time of the year! I owe this love of conference time to my mother because she made it a special day. Now, it is my responsibility to make this day special for my children and to help them build their testimonies.
Our traditions started when I was a child because we lived in an area where General Conference was not televised. We had to go to the Stake Center where we would spend all day Saturday and all day Sunday. We would spread out in the Relief Society room where my younger brothers and sisters could draw, take notes and eat small snacks. Between sessions on Saturday, we had a picnic at a local park. But our favorite conference tradition was Sunday morning conference rolls!
Sunday mornings, my mother would prepare our special rolls, a recipe she got from Pillsbury. We only got to eat them twice a year. April General Conference Sunday. October General Conference
Sunday. No amount of begging would induce my mother to make those rolls during any other time of year. The conference roll tradition has moved down a generation. My siblings and I each make the rolls for our children.
In addition, I provide my family with conference bingo. We each play this silly game with the purpose to help us pay more attention.
Notes also help. I take notes to help me focus. I plan ahead, usually the day or two before conference. I draw a line down my page to provide a margin. I use it to write specific things I feel prompted to concentrate on until the next conference time. At one conference, I wrote “How can I focus on the needs of my family with greater intent?”
Following conference, our family uses family home evening to talk about what we learned. We investigate and discuss:
- What we need to work on.
- What stood out most.
- What was most interesting.
- Theme of conference.
- Special blessings.
The week after conference, I write all of the spiritual promptings of what I need to work on or concentrate on. I write them on a Post-it note and place it inside the cover of my scriptures.
Although, recently I read of an LDS woman who types her promptings out, laminates them and uses it as a bookmark in her scriptures. I’m going to try this method this year. Why? Because I love the act of learning and becoming more proficient in all things.
Another favorite part of conference is family. As our family has grown, it is inspiring and fun to sit together. Last year, three of my siblings, their children and my parents got together for conference. We pushed back furniture to make more floor space and of course, covered the dining room table with snacks and treats. We laughed together. Shared our insights and even gasped when tiny fingers pulled over a plant, dumping wet soil on the beige carpet! We created a memory that those 18 children will always remember -generations of their family in one place watching general conference together.
Every conference time is very special to me but this year especially so as my grown son, David, will be coming home. He planned to be home during conference because he wanted to participate in the conference family traditions. My mother’s influence and testimony has run down to another generation! Thank you, mommy!
By Tracy Atkinson
Tracy Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education and a master’s in higher education. Her passion is researching, studying and investigating the attributes related to self-directed learners. She has published several titles, including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners