Monday, October 28, 2013

Shall I Falter or Finish by Tracie Carter

I believe God speaks to us personally and also through his servants, prophets and apostles. I love General Conference and I greatly anticipated this one with a handful of questions and concerns. 

I’ve been inspired by the bloggers listed at the end of this post because of the ways they prepare their families for General Conference. They really study and use the messages to teach their young families. I want the kids to feel like the messages are relevant, to understand these leaders' role to instruct us by revelation as they study and live the gospel, but also to be able to recognize our leaders by face and voice. And not just from this funny video we have really enjoyed - have you seen it?! 

As I absorbed sessions as they came available last week, I decided on a plan. For Family Home Evening each Monday, we will discuss a talk going in order of their calling beginning with the Prophet, President Monson. I’m still trying to decide how to visually display this in our home as an ongoing learning effort. German walls are just tricky!

To start, I listened to President Monson’s talk “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” I loved this message! Then I read it and the scriptures he referenced which were very illuminating. I then prayerfully made all if it into a lesson plan. It is a very simple lesson but it went well I think.

The key, in my opinion, is that this lesson would be utilized in teaching moments throughout the week so I can apply and reinforce the principles "in real life." 

Lesson Plan:

When you run a race, you’re excited right? 
What do you do if you fall while running during the race? 
Do you give up and throw a tantrum or do you pick yourself up and finish the race?

Kids said, “Finish the race!”

Tonight we’ll talk about President Monson’s talk from General Conference. He asked, “Shall I falter (fall and quit), or shall I finish?” Did you know that President Monson’s wife passed away a few months ago? They had been married almost 65 years! Do you think he misses his best friend, his wife a lot? Do you think it is hard for him to face each day without her there? President Monson knows that we all have to face hard things each day – but that with God, we can finish and not falter.

President Monson spoke about Job in the Old Testament. Let’s watch his story and see how he finished without faltering. Watched OldTestament Scripture Stories – Chapter 46: Job.
  • Did Job falter or finish?
  • How did he find strength to finish when faced with losing so much? And suffering with sickness? And having his friends judge him instead of help him?
  • How can we be like Job when trials come? Let’s listen to what President Monson wants us to know.
Watch last three paragraphs of talk starting at 15:25-18:00 “Only the Master knows . . .” Direct them to listen for two things President Monson says will help us be close to our Heavenly Father like Job was.

After the video, reiterate the promise we've been given that the Lord will not fail us, nor forsake us. We, in turn, should try our hardest to not fail Him, or forsake Him. We must ever strive to be close to our Heavenly Father by praying to Him and listening to Him every day. We talked about when we can pray, how we can pray, how we can listen. 

This week has already provided a couple teaching moments.

Easton has a job. He walks our friend’s dogs twice a week. His accumulated earnings combined with McKay and Morgan’s helped them buy a used ipad mini this weekend which Ryan found listed on the local yardsale site for a steal.

On Tuesday, Easton was quickly overwhelmed by everything we chatted about on his to do list as we drove home from school. It was raining hard and he usually walks the dogs right when he gets home to have it done with. Then guitar practice, homework, prepare his student council election speech, and even Scouts at the church. He pleaded to skip out on the dogs. When I reminded him of the commitment he made and asked if he was faltering or finishing strong, he growled that that lesson only applied to homework! Sorry kiddo. He grumbled a bit, but then I was very proud as he humbled himself and headed out into the downpour to walk the dogs. Sitting Easton down later and thanking him for being good example of this principle was one of those perks of parenthood and I loved seeing him beam from my praise.

We actually skipped Scouts so he could work with Ryan on his speech after we celebrated Morgan’s birthday with dinner, cake, and presents. It was so fun to hear Ryan and Easton brainstorming on the speech, practicing it, and then sharing it with the rest of us! I’m sure that qualifies for a merit badge qualification!

Easton faced Wednesday’s election feeling confident. McKay had won his class’s seat on the student council last week. There was no way to know how many students would run in Easton’s class and I was nervous for him. He’s the one I had to talk into running because while he wanted to be a part of the council, he wasn’t thrilled at first with the idea of doing a poster and speech asking for his classmates to vote for him. I wish I would have faced that fear as a youth and run for student councils. I know I would have enjoyed it. Easton was cool as a cucumber on Wednesday morning. He liked his poster and was happy with his speech. As long as he feels prepared, Easton is confident.

When I picked the kids up yesterday, Easton was happy. He hadn’t won but was the alternate. He was pleased with how his speech had gone and wondered what was for lunch. I let him know I’d prayed for him that morning that he’d be happy with his performance no matter the outcome. I loved getting to love on him and praise him for his effort! I recently attended a lecture where the speaker told parents how we need to help our children learn to "fail well" and be resilient, engaged learners and workers. I really liked that concept.

I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I'm so grateful for the guidance it has provided me all my life so that I had the self confidence to avoid things that would not help me become who I want to be. I am so grateful for the resources the church provides as I raise my family and for the opportunities to serve others and be a part of a worldwide community of people striving for eternal attributes and relationships.

Here's the blog roll I seem to frequent the most for ideas:
Allison Kimball – Simple Inspiration
Stephanie Dibb Sorensen - Diapers and Divinity
Shannon - Red Headed Hostess

Follow Tracie and her family's quest to study and learn the teachings of General Conference at Carter Chronicle.  And access more General Conference Lessons for families of all ages here.


  1. I like your ideas for FHE lessons. I think I will work on that as Empty Nestors. I love all that you do as a family and I like to read about how your children are doing.

    1. If you ever want to share empty-nester ideas let me know!!

  2. I had to do a double take on my blog reader I was confused for a second. Two of my favorite people in one spot.
    Great post Tracie! Thank you for your kind link, especially because we do so little. I need to implement your wonderful ideas. Thank you.

    1. Yeah, she's stellar. I am excited to read more of her stuff!!!

  3. Great lesson! Thanks, Tracie. And thanks for sponsoring this, Jocelyn!!

  4. Nice post. And nice to meet you, Tracie!



  5. I have to laugh that in all my "preparedness", I got the order of the First Presidency wrong! Oh well, embracing imperfection around here :) Thanks everyone for the kind words! I'm so grateful for the ideas and wisdom I glean from our global sisterhood!

  6. My daughter just chose President Monson for her turn giving the lesson tomorrow night. Hurray for a lesson plan to refer to and help me out in helping her! Thanks for sharing yours. :)