Friday, August 15, 2014

"How Can I Prepare Now to Become a Righteous Wife and Mother?"

(This lesson is appropriate for Laurels.  Decorate the classroom table with a rubber ducky, a washcloth, a bar of soap--things related to a bath.  A picture of a child in a bathtub would also work.)

So many young women today are choosing not to bear children, thinking that they will be more fulfilled if they are not tied down.  They choose to focus on their career, on their own personal happiness, or--with their spouse--on fun and travel.  "Childless by choice" couples are increasing throughout the world, especially in developed countries.

LDS young women need to be wary of this trap.  It is not more fulfilling to be childless!  It may be easier early in life (but definitely not in old age!) to be free of the commitment of children, but the greatest joys in life come with a family.  Our prophets tell us:

A careful look at the attributes required to develop through life for the role of mother shows that motherhood requires the greatest skill in all areas, and is indeed the closest to the attributes needed of a god.

(The first chart is for the teacher's reference.  The second [blank] chart is for the Laurels to fill in as the discussion ensues.  They are entered here as pictures, so just click on them to enlarge, right-click to save, and print as a photo.)

In these perilous times, many women are thinking that freeing themselves of the trials and obligations associated with motherhood is one more step toward the advancement of women's rights.  Have you ever heard the phrase, "throwing the baby out with the bathwater?"  It means noticing that there is something bad and getting rid of it, but in doing so, getting rid of the thing that was worth keeping.  These women are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  They want to throw out all oppression and inequality suffered by women, which is good, but in throwing out motherhood, they are giving up the greatest opportunity offered to females.  It is motherhood that will truly develop them to the highest level a human being can obtain.  (It is my personal belief that men must be the sole active priesthood holders in order to give them opportunities to develop these same attributes and to elevate themselves somewhere near the level that motherhood elevates women.  And it was a man who first shared this opinion with me.)

My children make fun of this photograph of me with my characteristic intense facial expression and my doll pointed like a sword.  It reminds them of the great call to arms in "The Lord of the Rings" movie.  So I use it to call the young women of the church to battle against the misguided directions the world would lead them:

There may be a day when prospective mothers' hearts fail them,

It takes courage to choose to be a mother these days,
but it is SO worth the risk, the pain, the sleepless nights,
for the JOY that comes only through children,
and for the GROWTH that comes only through mothering.

(You may also want to show the video "I'm a Mormon, Mother, and Caretake of Bulgarian Orphans".  Being the adoptive mother of two girls from Russian orphanages, as well as the biological mother of four boys and two girls, this woman is truly one of my heroes.  And in case you want to contribute to her fabulous programs, her charity is called "One Heart Bulgaria."  Easy to contribute online.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Video Lessons

Every once in a while, for a change of pace for both the students and me, we have a video lesson.  I use the scriptures from the lesson outline, and match them up with short Church videos.  Sometimes we have snacks to munch on.  I have to watch the time and adjust the lessons accordingly (dropping out a video as necessary) depending on whether sacrament meeting went over, or whether we have an extensive discussion.

This past week we did one based upon the question in July's lessons: "How Can I Keep My Covenant to Always Remember Jesus?"

Read John 8:29 about how Jesus is like the Father, and how we should be like Jesus.
Watch "Strengthened in the Lord" (4 1/2 minutes) about how NYC kids try to follow Christ.

Read 3 Nephi 11:32 which commands us to repent and believe.
Watch "The Savior Wants to Forgive" (6 minutes) about the despair and triumph through repentance of a drug addict and convicted felon.

Read Alma 37:36-37 which tells us to counsel with the Lord in all of our doings, not just our Church work.
Watch "I'm a Mormon and Mother to 79 Orphaned Children" (4 1/2 minutes) about a wealthy LDS fashion designer who followed the promptings to give up her luxury to bless destitute orphans in Tibet.  (Be aware this video is in French and you will need to click on CC to get the English subtitles.)

Read Helaman 12:1-5 which accuses men of being quick to forget the Lord when things are going well.  Ask your students if they really live the gospel during the week at school, or just during Church activities.
Watch "Bullying--Stop It" (10 1/2 minutes) which shows an Aaronic Priesthood member living a double standard of serving at church and bullying at school.  In the end he realizes his grave error.

Read D&C 6:36 which tells us to look to the Lord in every thought.
After the closing prayer, as the class gathers their things and leaves, play "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus" (5 1/2 minutes)

Monday, June 9, 2014

My Own Awesome Class

(Especially the cute brunette on the left
and the tall handsome guy in the back,
who are my own two youngest children.)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Three Reinforcing Activities

There are quite a few scriptures that I am always trying to find, but never can quite remember the reference.  I wish I had them memorized!  Time to start solving that problem!  I have picked out 12 scriptures that correlate with the 12 principles and I have printed them up on small bookmarks for the students to keep in their scriptures.  (I made extra for when one gets lost!)  At the beginning of each lesson (except fast Sunday, which is when I will introduce a new scripture) I will ask for three to four volunteers to recite the scripture.  If they can do it, they get a mini candy bar.  By the end of the month, hopefully everyone will have had a chance.  Kids who struggle with memory can go at the end of the month so they have more time.

Pop Quiz
Last year I did this a couple of times and it worked great.  This year, I think I'll do it every week.  During sacrament meeting, I wrote down a few questions about what the speakers said.  Then at the beginning of Sunday School, I asked the students those questions.  Correct answerers get a stick of gum, and everyone will learn to pay attention and remember the concepts taught in sacrament.

Review Game
Every three months or so, we have a review lesson in which we play a game like Jeopardy or Chalkboard Baseball.  Students have to answer questions about the material we've been discussing in class.  This is a big hit, and I've been pleased at how much more the students have retained.  To make this easy, I have a bunch of cards already cut to size, and at the end of the lesson, I just write a question and answer on one of the cards.  Then, when it is review time, everything is already prepared.