Family Home Evening With a Toddler – Obedience

I mentioned in a previous post that I bought a laminator and have been making family home evening packets.  A lot of mine come from Pinterest, but this week I decided that we needed to learn about obedience (after Stormy ran into a parking lot and continued running even after I told him to stop) and what I found on the interwebs just weren’t cutting it for my two year old.  So I decided to gather things from different sources and compile my very own.

Now, we have a board we’ll use later when the kids are older to make assignments for family home evening (Christmas gift from my SIL – I’ll post a picture at some point), but for now, it’s all on mom and dad, so at least for now things should go together nicely.

We started with a prayer.

Then we sang the first verse of “Nephi’s Courage” from the Children’s Songbook.  Fun fact – I didn’t know that was the title until I had to Google it. I’ve always just called it “I will go, I will do.”

Then we had a story/lesson David’s Lesson, which I pulled off the LDS.org website from the Friend.  (I printed and laminated this for my folder)

For our activity we played Obedience Games that I found on a homeschooling website.  We did “Mother says” first but I think we’ll play one of these games once a day until my child stops doing suicide missions into the library parking lot.

We closed with a prayer and then it was time for treats.  Stormy and I made Rice Krispies Treats (there’s a video in that link too in case you’ve never made these before…not that I’m judging)

That’s all.

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Teaching Prep

I’m teaching in January so I’ve been pondering and preparing my lesson. It’s been tough for me to prepare this time.  I’m not sure exactly why but I’m sure the holidays didn’t help and then I kept thinking what I should say for my guest post for Ashley’s blog and then there’s also the fact that I’m pregnant (gender reveal to come next week BTW).

The only thing I’ve known for sure about my lesson is that I want to share this video I came across.  I found it on lds.org under the youth site.  The topic I’m going to try to focus on is “Why is Jesus Christ Important in My Life?”  Also on the site, I found a talk by Dallin H. Oaks where he mentions a woman who tells him she’s been asked to return to church and she just can’t think of why she should.  He says something to the effect of, when you think of all the Lord has done for you, don’t you have many reasons? And her response, “what has he done for me?”

I think a lot of people forget, or do not understand, exactly what the Lord has done for them.  I found this video to be a beautiful message about what Jesus Christ has made possible for all of us.  I truly believe that if we all worked on developing our relationship with the Savior that there would be less contention and hatred, we would be more understanding of other’s shortcomings and weaknesses, and we would all have more peace about the things we cannot control.

In case the video doesn’t work, I’ve put the link at the bottom of this post.

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1

https://www.lds.org/youth/learn/yw/godhead/important?lang=eng#video=reclaimed

Perfection

I taught the first Sunday in July and my topic was perfection.  More so – not letting perfection get in the way of trying.  This topic…given to the one who starts planning out her lessons a month in advance and practices them until they are practically memorized…gee great.  So I thought about it a lot, thought about how to open, what to focus on, what in the world to say.  I listened/read podcasts, church talks, scriptures, etc.  Here is goes…

In Matthew 5:28 we read, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

So I asked the girls, “What does perfect mean?”  They came up with the same answers I did, “flawless; without mistakes”

Russel M. Nelson said:

“In Matt. 5:48, the term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios,which means “complete.” Teleios is an adjective derived from the noun telos, which means “end.” The infinitive form of the verb is teleiono, which means “to reach a distant end, to be fully developed, to consummate, or to finish.” Please note that the word does not imply “freedom from error”; it implies “achieving a distant objective.””

That’s completely different from what I thought ‘perfection’ to be, especially the “freedom from error” part.

While preparing for this lesson, I had the opportunity to go out with the Sister Missionaries.  They had a lesson scheduled, but as happens so often to them, that lesson cancelled just as we arrived to the home.  So we went to visit people nearby.  One man we visited was baptized just a short while ago.  When the sisters first met him, he was barely able to walk he was so drunk.  They worked with him, got him attending addiction recovery and all the while visited with him and taught him about the gospel.  When I first met him, he was sober and getting ready to be baptized.  He was so optimistic.

Well, when we went to visit him on this night, he was not in such a good place.  I had noticed he wasn’t at church the previous Sunday and he missed his friend’s baptism Sunday night.  He was completely different than the man I met.  He had fallen, and he had fallen hard.

At one point, he leaned forward and said to the Sisters, “I never said I was perfect.  Never said I would be.”

His definition of perfect was the “flawless. without mistakes” definition and that’s a hard thing to live up to.  When you fail to be perfect, it’s easy to just give up because it seems so unattainable.  But perfection is not about finishing the race without any errors, it’s about finishing.  Perfection, as we read, is about reaching a distant end, it’s about being fully developed and along the way to that, we make mistakes.  Enduring is getting up each time you fall, recommitting each time you make a mistake, repenting each time you sin.

Then we watched this video:  Men’s Hearts Shall Fail Them

I asked the girls what they thought about the video (I warned them I would ask this and yet it was still like pulling teeth afterwards – I told them I was fine sitting in silence and I finally got some talkers).  The thing that stood out most was that perfection will come in the next life; don’t demand the unreasonable, but demand improvement.

I had a bishop once tell us that improvement was like looking at a calendar…let’s say you want to be better about saying your morning prayers.  You do it the first day, and the next, and maybe even for a week but then you are late one day and skip it.  By the end of the month you’ve said your prayers maybe 20 times out of 31.  Have you failed?  NO! You’ve improved, you’ve done better and you kept trying.  Continue trying and soon you’ll have developed the habit of prayer.

We have to keep an eternal perspective rather than focusing on every failure.

In 1 Nephi we read the story of when Nephi and his brothers are sent back to get the gold plates.

In 1 Nephi 3:7 Nephi says, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

…so Nephi is armed with the knowledge that the Lord won’t let him fail – right?  He should be able to walk right up to Laban (who currently had the records) and just ask for the plates right?

in verse 11 Nephi’s brother, Laman, is sent to talk to Laban.  Laban was made and kicked Laman out and called him a robber and threatened to kill him.

Who would have given up here?  I would have, I hate rejection, much less having my life threatened.  But Nephi doesn’t give up.  Why do you think that is?

In verses 15&16 we find out:

  1. 1)Because it’s a commandment
  2. 2) Because of Faith.

In verses 22-23 they’ve gathered all their gold and silver and precious things and they are going to try and buy the plates from Laban.  Again-they are kicked out and their lives are threatened.

But does Nephi give up?  Does anyone remember what happened between the brothers after this? (beating and an angel appears).  What does the angel tell them? (go back)

So Nephi goes back and then what happens?  He comes across a likely grotesque and definitely drunken Laban and is told to cut the guy’s head off…to which he hesitates because..well that’s murder.  But he goes through with it, gets the plates and as a bonus he gets Zoram (and Zoram gets freedom).

Nephi by all counts, failed several times to get the plates.  He wasn’t able to just walk in and get them because the Lord had commended it.  But that didn’t stop him, it didn’t make him doubt if it was actually a commandment or not.  He didn’t say, “well, maybe I’m just not cut out for it.”

The same as we aren’t able to JUST BE perfect because the Lord commands it.  During what we may perceive as failures–we need to remember to have faith that the Lord prepares a way for us to accomplish the things he commands and there isn’t something WRONG with US when we don’t get it right the first time. Perfection isn’t attainable in this life, our job is to continue to improve.

An interesting thing I came across while working on this lesson.  In Matthew 5:48, Jesus says, “be ye therefore perfect even as your father which is in heaven is perfect”.  In 3 Nephi 12:48 he says, “be ye therefore perfect even as I, or your father who is in heaven is perfect.”

The interesting thing to note here is that in Matthew 5:48 – Christ had not yet been crucified or resurrected, whereas in 3 Nephi, when he visits the Nephites, he has already been resurrected.  Even Christ was not truly perfect until after his mortal ministry was complete. By all definitions – Christ was perfect, except for Greek translation – “to reach a distant end, to be fully developed, to consummate, or to finish.”

Read Ether 12:25-27

The Lord, the same one who commands us to be perfect, GIVES us weakness.  And through weakness, he can make us strong, he can make us perfect – or rather, complete.  When we struggle, we must remember to turn to the Lord.

President Uchdorft gave a talk titled “You Can Do It Now!” in which he relates a story of a time he went skiing with his grandson.  He fell and when he attempted to get back up he only fell again.  After a few tries he gave up and tried to hide his face in case anyone he knew passed by.  Then his grandson came over to him, reached out a hand and said, “You can do it now!”  President Uchdorft said near the end of this talk, “You are stronger than you realize.  You are more capable than you can imagine.  You can do it now!”

I know that this is true for each and every one of you.  I know from personal experience, having situations in my life where I felt physically and emotionally incapable of continuing and yet somehow I was able to reach my destination (physical or spiritual – sometimes both).  I’ve had young women tell me that they didn’t think they could do something, and I’ve told them time and time again that they are stronger than they think.  They will surprise themselves and will have many amazing experiences if they just continue trying.

The Bus and the Bully

Typically on the first Sunday of each month a presidency member teaches the lesson.  This past month I had the opportunity to teach and the topic was “Why do I need to forgive others?”

First – I gave everyone a pen and a piece of paper with these three questions:

  1. Why do we need to forgive everyone, including ourselves?
  2. Why is the Lord the only person who can decide whether or not a person should be forgiven?
  3. Why is failure to forgive such a great sin?

For this one, I delved deep down into the dark abyss that is my educational experience.  I was not immune to bullies so I shared with the girls my story of the bus and the bully (note: I shared the story from memory, so what is written is the more dramatic, thought out version of my experience).

When I was in sixth grade I had to ride the bus to school.  In the mornings, when the bus picks you up one stop at a time, you don’t have much choice where to sit when you are one of the last stops.  Because of this, I had no other choice but to travel to the back of the bus.  Now for some of you, the back is where the cool kids sat and maybe you sat there because you were a cool kid.  For kids like me, the back is the seventh circle of hell.  I was a quiet kid, so I took the first seat available.  There was an eight grader on the bus, short, blond, cheerleader.  Her name was Erin.  Erin and I didn’t know each other but that morning, and every morning for the entire school year, Erin gave me a hard time.  She would say mean things or ask embarrassing questions – if you’ve been bullied you know the feeling.  She made every morning miserable, to the point where I would try to miss the bus so that my sister would have to take me to school.

So here’s my question.  Do I have to forgive Erin?

Doctrine and Covenants 64:9-10 reads:

Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgiveone another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.

 10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.

To answer question 1 on the piece of paper – it is required that we forgive all men.

To answer question 2 – things might get a little sticky in my explanation.  I asked the girls, what do we know about Christ and what he did for us?  Luckily the answer, “he died for our sins” came pretty quickly because he did a lot for us, but this is the one I wanted to zero in on.  So Christ took upon Him our sins.  Only our sins? To which one sweet little twelve year old said, “All our sins.” All.  Everyone.  Not just those in the room, not just those that attend church, or those that even want Him to take their sins, but EVERYONE.  I drew on the board.

Forgiveness

E=Erin

C=Christ

J=Me

I drew Christ bigger because He’s the most important part of this.  So Christ took on MY sins. (see diagram below)

Forgiveness2

But He also took on Erin’s:

Forgiveness3

I won’t pretend that I am perfect, I have been mean to people, I have even made grown men cry before.  But Christ took those mistakes and sins and that cruelty I showed to someone else, he took all of those upon himself.  To which I am grateful – but he also did the exact same for Erin.

So this is why He is the one who decides.  I have to forgive Erin, even though she never asked for or likely wanted, my forgiveness, because Christ has paid for what she has done.  If she wants forgiveness, she goes to Christ, because he has taken on her debt and he knows the thoughts and intents of her heart, whereas I just saw her as an evil cheerleader out to ruin my life.

For Question 3 we build on what we’ve been talking about.  In the book, The Peacegiver by James Ferrell, he explains pretty well why we must forgive everyone.  In the book we read:

The Lord, by taking the sins of (those who hurt us) upon his head, extends us the same mercy. ‘Upon me let this iniquity be,’ he pleads, ‘Let me deal with it if there is any dealing to be done.  But YOU, my dear daughter, let it go.  Let me take it, as I already have done.  Forgive.

So by taking on the sins of others, Christ owns up to that sin as though it were his (which we know he was perfect, therefore sinless so this is big).  He then comes to us and asks us to forgive HIM!  He asks ME to forgive Him for what Erin did, just as he asks others to forgive Him for what I did.

Then it goes further in the book by saying:

When we withhold forgiveness from others we are in effect saying that the atonement alone was insufficient to pay for this sin.  We are holding out for more.  We are finding fault with the Lord’s offering.  We are in essence demanding that the Lord repent of an insufficient atonement.  So when we fail to forgive another, it is as if we are failing to forgive the Lord.

That is why it is the greater sin because to fail to forgive is to not forgive Christ.

Forgiveness is easier said than done.  So what are some things we can do to recieve the Lord’s help to forgive others (and ourselves)?

  • Pray
  • Read Scriptures
  • Fast
  • Get a blessing
  • Serve

Do you think it’s important to PREPARE to forgive? If so, how can we do this?

The girls had a lot of the same answers but overall we discussed that one of the best ways is to study the life of Christ and to work on our relationship with Him.  Because as you grow closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ you will begin to take on their attributes.  You will begin to see others as they see them.

President Uchtdorf said:

The more we allow the Love of God to govern our minds and emotions – the more we allow our love for Heavenly Father to swell within our hearts- the easier it is to love others with the pure love of Christ. As we open our hearts to the glowing dawn of the love of God, the darkness and cold of animosity and envy will eventually fade.  As always, Christ is our exemplar.  In His teachings as in His life, He showed us the way.  He forgave the wicked, the vulgar, and those who sought to hurt and to do Him harm.

To end, I shared this video from the youth website at LDS.org.  I asked the girls to pay attention to how this man was able to forgive.

Last month, the teacher gave each girl an index card and had them write what they know about Christ and who He is to them.  Then the girls were given the rest of the time to bear testimonies, however, they were only allowed to say what they had written on the card.  It was a great spiritual experience, and I reminded the girls of this at the end of this video.  Many of the girls got up there and said that Christ was their brother who knows exactly how they feel.  I agreed.  He knows exactly how they feel whether it’s joy or hurt or pain.  And if they struggle to forgive someone, they should take it to Him.  They should pray for the strength to do it, and I have a testimony that the Lord will come to your aid if it is truly the desire of your heart to forgive (because I also have a testimony that to pray without intent yields exactly what you want – to keep holding on to it).  He has done it for me many times and I will never forget the strength he lent me.

Note: At some point in the lesson I remember stressing to the girls that sometimes there are very serious things you must forgive and one thing I have learned is that forgiving does not always equal trusting.  In cases of abuse or serious harm, they need to forgive, but they DO NOT need to allow that person to harm them again.