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Monday, June 28, 2010

My Relief Society Lesson


I teach 4th Sunday Relief Society and I really enjoyed the 2 talks I was asked to teach.
I thought I'd share some pieces of my lesson that really stuck out to me. I taught from Elder L. Tom Perry's talk called Mothers Teaching Children in the Home and Elder M. Russell Ballards talk called Mothers and Daughters. In both talks we are asked to nurture and teach our children.... Of course, how can I not, when I am gearing up to begin homeschooling Kayley, read and listen to these talks with my "homeschool filter" on?

In his talk Elder Perry tells us:
Teaching in the home is becoming increasingly important in today’s world, where the influence of the adversary is so widespread and he is attacking, attempting to erode and destroy the very foundation of our society, even the family. Parents must resolve that teaching in the home is a most sacred and important responsibility. While other institutions, such as church and school, can assist parents to “train up a child in the way he [or she] should go” , ultimately this responsibility rests with parents. According to the great plan of happiness, it is parents who are entrusted with the care and development of our Heavenly Father’s children.

I think that Elder Perry is telling us, regardless of whether our kids go to public school, private school, or homeschool...it is OUR responsibility to make sure that our children are learning the things that they need to know. We cannot rely on schools to teach our children things like modesty (I'll have another blog post about this later-this one drives me nuts!), morality, avoiding gossip and judgements, prayer, scriptures, and so forth... Our schools can only teach our kids the secular academics and, in some cases, the Golden Rule. It is the best that they can in a classroom full of other children in a society that is desenitized to biblical covenants. Which is one reason why many homeschooling Moms view this talk as confirmation that homeschooling is a good choice for our children. We can provide a layer of insulation between our little ones and the influence of the adversary, who is stealing our children from us, right out from under our noses.

In his talk, Elder Ballard tells the young women of the church:
Throughout the history of the world, women have always been teachers of moral values. That instruction begins in the cradle and continues throughout the lives of their children. Today our society is bombarded with messages about womanhood and motherhood that are dangerously and wickedly wrong. Following these messages can put your daughters on the path to sin and self-destruction. Your daughters may not understand that unless you tell them or, better, unless you show them how to make good choices. As mothers in Israel, you are your daughters’ first line of defense against the wiles of the world.
Mothers, your example is extremely important to your daughters -- even if they don't acknowledge it. Let me assure you that even when you think your daughter is not listening to a thing you say, she is still learning from you as she watches you to see if your actions match your words. As Ralph Waldo Emerson is believed to have said, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say”

I love how Elder Ballard comes out and says that we are our daughters example and we need to act accordingly. He discusses how, if Mom dresses immodestly-daughter will dress immodestly, if Mom gossips - daughters gossip, and so on. I know this to be true in a few of the things that Kayley has said to me. For example, yesterday she wanted to do something, and I asked her, "Why would you want to do that?" And her response was, "Because I said so." Oh... we can only assume she has heard THAT line from me and her daddy. LOL!

The Lord has given us the sacred duty to teach our own children.
This responsibility must not be taken lightly or left to others.
As a sister mentioned yesterday, we have been told that if we are
negligent in teaching our children the things we should,
then their sins will be on OUR heads...

In a 1991 Conference talk Elder Ballard said:
“We cannot and we must not allow the school, community, television, or even Church organizations to establish our children’s values. The Lord has placed this duty with mothers and fathers. It is one from which we cannot escape and one that cannot be delegated. Others may help, but parents remain accountable. Therefore, we must guard the sanctity of our homes because that is where children develop their values, attitudes, and habits for everyday living”

Ah! Don't you LOVE that? Doesn't this really go with that awesome talk I found the other day called No One Else Called Mom? (See June 25th).

Anyway- I was only able to get through about 1/3 of my lesson yesterday, which is typical. I love to let the sisters in class share as much as possible. I know that they learn more from one another than they will learn from me. And-There are so many good Moms that had such awesome thoughts on this talk. Obviously, I did not approach this lesson from a homeschooling perspective at all, but I know there are 3 other homeschooling Moms in my class that offered some insightful thoughts. The biggest thing was TIME. And not just quality time...

I shared this thought from Dr. Dobson of Focus on the Family:
Let's suppose you've looked forward all day to eating at one of the finest restaurants in town. The waiter brings you a menu, and you order the most expensive steak in the house. But when the meal arrives, you see a tiny piece of meat about one-inch square in the center of the plate. When you complain about the size of the steak, the waiter says, "Sir, I recognize that the portion is small, but that's the finest corn-fed beef money can buy. You'll never find a better bite of meat than we've served you tonight. As to the portion, I hope you understand that it's not the quantity that matters, it's the quality that counts."

You would object, and for good reason. Why? Because both quality and quantity are important in many areas of our lives, including how we relate to children. They need our time and the best we have to give them.

My concern is that the quantity-versus-quality argument might be a poorly disguised rationalization for giving our children -- neither.

I thought they really brought up some great points about how and why to spend time with your children, especially as they become teens. WE need to be the ones to teach them about sexual matters....not their health class and certain NOT their peers. We need to be the ones to teach them about reverence for their bodies. School will NOT teach this. We need to be the ones to teach them about love and service. And prayer and scripture study. Why not be the ones to just go ahead and teach them how to read, write and figure?

Homeschooling may not be a good choice for everybody, but, honestly....NOBODY will love your children and care as much about their success as YOU. And I'm not saying that schools are bad. There are a lot of great schools, there are a lot of great teachers. I know a few myself. I'm just saying that I am thankful that circumstances will allow me to guide my girls through their education and keep them close to me and our Heavenly Father as we go. I was really excited to see these talks (no, I didn't get to watch much conference...but I do devour the Ensign when it comes out) and to realize that our church leaders, although they do not come out and say it directly (could you imagine the uproar?), are supportive of our homeschooling efforts.

If you haven't had a chance to read these talks and want to

you can find Elder Perrys HERE

and Elder Ballards HERE.

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