Sunday, August 09, 2015

Today's Lesson

I'm following our schedule in our local ward, and teaching the high priests, so my focus and lesson elements may be different than yours, as well as your schedule, depending on how your stake conference, etc. play in.

But here is today's lesson (which, by putting on-line, I can have on my smart phone when teaching the class instead of using notes).

 “Nurture your children with love and the admonitions of the Lord,” he said. “God holds parents responsible for their stewardship in rearing their family. It is a most sacred responsibility.”

    •    How easy is that to do?
    •    What did he mean (see below)?
        •    Ask three people what this really means.
        •            Add your own thoughts.
From D&C 121

     39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
    41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
     42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
     43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
     44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
     45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

    •    Pick a class member and ask each one of these questions:
        •    How easy is it to just not be parents and not interact with our children?
        •    What does this scripture mean to you?
        •    Is failure to discipline a form of unrighteous dominion?
        •    Does one approach fit every situation?
    •    What was the hardest thing for you to do with your children?

“Mother had more faith than any woman I’ve ever known. … I’ve never seen more praying in my life. At the drop of a hat she’d be on her knees, praying for the children, whether it was about a test or a fight on the school grounds, it didn’t matter. She and Dad both had that simple faith.”

    •    Remember our lesson about seeking the Spirit?
    •    How does recourse to prayer as a first response fit with seeking the Spirit?
    •    Have you ever found yourself praying about something and wished you had prayed about it sooner?

He maintained regular contact with them through phone calls and letters. When he was home, he spent as much time with them as possible. He often cited the story of “a busy father who explained the hours he spent playing ball with his son by saying, ‘I’d sooner have a backache now than a heartache later.’”

He also spent extended time individually with his children. Mark recalled his father taking him to Salt Lake City, Utah, to see a medical specialist: “How fun it was to be with Dad, just him and me! We talked about anything I wanted to talk about. Even as a boy, I knew Dad loved me, because he was with me and helping me get better.

    •    Do children take time?
    •    Do grandchildren take time?

Our pattern, or model, for fatherhood is our Heavenly Father. How does He work with His children? Well, in order to know that, of course, [fathers] will need to know something about the gospel, the great plan of the Lord

    •    What is the greatest calling? (If you need help, read the next paragraph in the lesson manual).
    •    How do we address God? (“our Father who art in heaven”)

    These may seem like simple questions, but they are the heart of the gospel and of what the kingdom of heaven is about.  Exaltation is the call to be a parent and to care for children.  Everything else is just temporary ephemera. 

The father must hunger and thirst and yearn to bless his family, go to the Lord, ponder the words of the Lord, and live by the Spirit to know the mind and will of the Lord and what he must do to lead his family.

•    Why?
•    How?

Ezra Taft Benson gave ten suggestions for the “how”

    1. Give father’s blessings to your children. Baptize and confirm your children. Ordain your sons to the priesthood. These will become spiritual highlights in the lives of your children.
    2. Personally direct family prayers, daily scripture reading, and weekly family home evenings. Your personal involvement will show your children how important these activities really are.
    3. Whenever possible, attend Church meetings together as a family. Family worship under your leadership is vital to your children’s spiritual welfare.
    4. Go on daddy-daughter dates and father-and-sons’ outings with your children. …
    5. Build traditions of family vacations and trips and outings. These memories will never be forgotten by your children.
    6. Have regular one-on-one visits with your children. Let them talk about what they would like to. Teach them gospel principles. Teach them true values. Tell them you love them. Personal time with your children tells them where Dad puts his priorities.
    7. Teach your children to work, and show them the value of working toward a worthy goal. …
    8. Encourage good music and art and literature in your homes. Homes that have a spirit of refinement and beauty will bless the lives of your children forever.
    9. As distances allow, regularly attend the temple with your wife. Your children will then better understand the importance of temple marriage and temple vows and the eternal family unit.
    10. Have your children see your joy and satisfaction in service to the Church. This can become contagious to them, so they, too, will want to serve in the Church and will love the kingdom.

We sometimes hear accounts of men, even in the Church, who think that being head of the home somehow puts them in a superior role and allows them to dictate and make demands upon their family.

The Apostle Paul points out that “the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23; italics added). That is the model we are to follow in our role of presiding in the home. We do not find the Savior leading the Church with a harsh or unkind hand. We do not find the Savior treating His Church with disrespect or neglect. We do not find the Savior using force or coercion to accomplish His purposes. Nowhere do we find the Savior doing anything but that which edifies, uplifts, comforts, and exalts the Church. Brethren, I say to you with all soberness, He is the model we must follow as we take the spiritual lead in our families.

    •    How does that fit with the Doctrine and Covenants quote above?
    •    Do we wash the feet of those we serve or do we expect them to wash our feet?
    •    Did Christ die for us or did he expect us to die in his place?
    •    How hard is it for us to be like Christ in this way?

God help us to support one another. May it start in the home as we support our families. May there be a spirit of loyalty, unity, love, and mutual respect. May husbands be loyal to their wives, true to them, love them, strive to ease their burdens, and share the responsibility for the care, training, and the rearing of the children. May mothers and wives show a spirit of helpfulness to their husbands, uphold and sustain them in their priesthood duties, and be loyal and true to the calls that come to them from the priesthood of God

    •    How do we teach children to be loyal to each other by being loyal to our wives?
    •    How do we teach children to help each other by helping and sharing responsibility with our wives?

    •    What are some blessings that come to a home when parents are unified in their responsibilities?
    •    What can fathers and mothers do to be more unified?
    •    In what ways can single parents receive the strength they need to fulfill these responsibilities?


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