I had a wonderful experience last night attending a regional training meeting for Young Women Presidencies broadcast in fourteen different locations along the Wasatch Front. What a blessing it was to be in attendance and be taught by such exemplary women of the Church. One of my favorite things taught comes from Moroni, chapter 7 verse 48:
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren [and sisters], pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ…”
For some, loving each class member comes easily. For others, it takes time, patience and prayer. In either case, the love we develop for those we have stewardship over does not happen on our own. It is a love that is bestowed upon us from Heavenly Father. This love helps us accomplish the service He has asked us to perform. We must not only love our students, but we should teach with love.
“A gospel teacher should always teach with love for the students. … Love of God and love of His children is the highest reason for service. Those who teach out of love will be magnified as instruments in the hands of Him whom they serve.” – Dallin H. Oaks
How can loving those you teach make a difference in their lives? Deiter F. Uchtdorf has taught, If you want to influence learners for good, you should not only love to teach; you should love each person you teach. As you show your love for those you teach, they become more open to learning from you and more aware of their eternal worth. Seek to understand those you teach. As you do, you will be better able to teach lessons that meet individual needs. Reach out to each individual in your class, remembering that “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (D&C 18:10).
How might you accomplish this?
- Learn class members’ names and call them by name.
- Pray for each member of your class.
- Do all you can to know class members’ interests, needs and struggles.
- Listen attentively to class members as they share and express sincere appreciation for their participation.
In preparation for a Mia Maid lesson on the Commandments, I had a recurring thought – How can these young women live the Commandments and stand for the right if they do not have confidence in themselves first? Oftentimes young women who struggle making correct choices lack feelings of self-worth. They must learn that the more practice they have in hearing the Holy Ghost, the more confident they will become in following promptings received.
“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly: then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood (D&C 121:45).”
We can help their “confidence wax strong” by helping them discover the true meaning of the doctrine each week. If we only identify the WHAT they may not understand HOW or WHY it’s even important to apply to their life. This is when it is crucial you know the members of your class. Each girl is fighting her own battle. You will be prompted by the Spirit to discuss things that are pertinent to individual needs and struggles. For example, in my preparations I was led to six different issues I believe the young women face today, I am sure there are more, but these seemed to be on the minds of the girls in my class. Loneliness (D&C 84:88, Isaiah 49:16); Choosing Good Friends (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10); Standing in Holy Places (D&C 87:8); Modesty (Nephi 3:7); Moral Cleanliness (Nephi 41:10, D&C 46:33); Confidence (D&C 121:45); and Feeling the Spirit (D&C 42:14).
I searched LDS.org to find quotes, stories and scriptures to help us learn together. The Church has also recently published a Mormon Message that addresses many of these same things – watch VIDEO. I know as the young women share selected quotes and personal experiences all will be uplifted and edified. Be flexible, this may take more than one Sunday class to accomplish the desired outcome. Great power will come from hearing their peers testify. Oftentimes the young women will share things in such a way we simply cannot. Sharing helps reinforce what they already know and understand. Their testimonies and confidence will grow in the living the commandments. Beginning with genuine love and prayerful lesson preparation, we can help each young woman recognize her contributions to class are essential.
Activity Suggestion: Download and print off cards. Pass out to the young women and leaders in your class. Give them a few minutes to read over their card and answer the question(s) at the bottom. Before class begins, consider asking one young woman (I asked the class president) to share first. It only takes one to share and then others will feel more comfortable doing so. Ask each class member to discuss something that impressed them, including a sentence or quote, and answer at least one question for the class. I had studied much on these issues a week or two before we met and shared bits and pieces throughout class time. The Holy Ghost help me recall things I studied without the use of an outline. My eyes were focused on each of the girls faces. I heard the phrase “Spirit Driven” in relation to teaching last night. Apply this every time you teach by letting the spirit be the driving force of what you say and when you say it, instead of relying solely on your notes or outline. I’d love to hear about your experiences with this! Feel free to leave your comments on the blog where we can learn from each other.
Printing Tip: The .pdf file is available by clicking on the title or .jpeg by clicking the image (faster download, but not as sharp). I have created the majority of my handouts in 4 x 6 size. This allows you to download them, convert them to .jpeg and send them to photo printing website, such as Costco, to print as a photo for very little cost.
Guard My Virtue