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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sunday Stations

by Bitner (bio)

When I was a kid my family had a weekly tradition of doing Sunday Stations. My five sisters and I would rotate through a gauntlet of productive stations in our house on Sunday afternoons. I remember the kitchen and dining room tables were often the locations for letter writing to a missionary in the ward, a grandparent or a cousin. One time I wrote the Prophet. (And got a reply!)

Letters were just one possible station, however. I would often have some time to work on merit badges while the sistas could work on YW stuff. Stations included journal writing, scripture reading, church videos, arts and crafts, scripture memorization, and the list goes on.

But the climax of any Sunday Station was the interview in my parents' bedroom.

No, they weren't interviewing each other! They would interview each of us kids one by one. During the meeting we would be paid our allowance for various weekly and Saturday chores (which were significant enough that the allowance, we all felt, was warranted). Once paid, we would set aside our tithing and savings monies and then have the rest for 'fun money'. (We were responsible for paying for our own school clothes, so 'fun' was kind of a broad term.) After any financial matters were cleared, we chatted about almost anything. It never seemed too lengthy, and with six kids to rotate through, it probably never was that long, but I'm guessing the over-under was seven minutes.

Anyway, my sisters and I have laughed (hard) at that tradition, then and now. And we would often complain our way from one station to the next, but in retrospect, we all have much respect for our parents' commitment to Sunday Stations. It kept with their theme of minimizing idleness (we weren't allowed to watch TV Sunday-Friday afternoon; no sit-coms except for Cosby Show; no video games; etc). And, with only an exception or two, my sisters are productive non-idle people, so the proof is in the pudding. (I'm kidding, ladies! You're all amazing.)

Well, my wife and I decided to give Sunday Stations a trial run. We have a five year-old daughter and a three year-old son who need some structure in their lives now that preschool is over and Mom is preoccupied with Baby Steelio.

We created four stations, the whole process taking a little less than an hour:
  1. Coloring activities at the kitchen table. (8-10 min)
  2. 1-on-1 with Dad. (4-5 min)
  3. 1-on-1 with Mom. (4-5 min)
  4. Watch a Book of Mormon video. (~24 min)
Our eldest absolutely gobbled it up. Our middle child loved the video and was not very interested in the craft table, but seemed fine with the whole process.

My wife and I are believers. So, here's to our new tradition of Sunday Stations. Maybe when the Church does away with the 3-hour block and families are solely responsible for Sunday instruction, we'll just do a short Sacrament meeting before hitting the stations.

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