Sunday, January 27, 2019

Being Prepared to Teach at Home #ComeFollowMe

I have loved the Come Follow Me way of teaching for a very long time now...ever since the Church came out with it for the Youth.  It has truly blessed our family.  The children have grown up with this style of teaching in our home, so you'd think I'd be off to the races!  However when the new at-home curriculum was announced, I was definitely worried.  Why?  Because I know how much of a commitment it is to teach and to teach in the right way.  

Teaching in the home is such a living and breathing thing, at least for me.  For instance, bringing teaching in to the home really brings my actions at all times of the day under a microscope.  It's a lot harder for me to watch an inappropriate show, to respond with harshness to the kids, or laugh at an off-color joke, when I know I'm going to have to turn around and teach the children the next morning about the Gospel.  Conversely, it's much easier for me to do those things if I am not currently doing a lot of gospel teaching at home.  There is a real cause and effect relationship there.  And although that means more work on my part, I have a testimony that this truly is a good thing.  It is a relationship that I work at every day...and I'm not perfect at it, but I'm getting better over time.

During the month of December, I spent a LOT of time thinking about this new curriculum, praying about it, reading up on it, thinking about how I could center my time and my home on this effort to make it go more smoothly.  I wrote a lot of things down.

Here is one page that I wrote down to remind myself of my thoughts...sort of to be used as a guide for me in Teaching in the Home:

1.  Personal Worthiness:  Your teaching of any principle is more powerful when you are living that principle.  Children can usually sense when we are not, even if we aren't doing it out in the open, there is more weight to our words when we are actually living that principle.

I remember this was a bit of a sticking point when I was teaching my children "My Gospel Standards" (it's like For the Strength of Youth for Primary children!)  We were memorizing it.  And we got to the part that says, "I will only listen to music that is pleasing to Heavenly Father."  I felt myself flinch inside when saying those words to my kids, and I felt the spirit telling me I could do better.  I did do better.  I committed to living this principle more exactly.  So in the process of teaching my children, we both grew.

As an important side-note, don't put off teaching because you feel unworthy, either.  Start now.  Act in faith.  We can acknowledge our own short-comings and grow in the gospel right along with our children.  

2.  Personal Preparation:  Go the extra mile to prepare yourself.  I loved Pres. Eyring's talk "Women and Gospel Learning" from the Women's session of General Conference.  He gives a very extensive tutorial for what we will need to do to be prepared.  I found this talk to be intimidating and inspiring at the same time!  But when I went back and read it, I still feel it holds a lot of keys to unlocking gospel teaching in the home.  Read it.  Listen to it.  Again and again and do what he says.

Just as a reminder to myself, I'm including the notes I took on ten things pointers he gives to help us implement the "new" home-centered gospel learning:
 a. Jesus Christ is our perfect example.  Look to him and his life
b. Bring charity to the for yourself and those you are teaching.
c. Seek spiritual gifts of love for others.  Ask for it in prayer.
d. Prepare yourself by reading, praying, and seeking the spirit first.
e. Plan
f. Put forth the effort and the time. (take more time to ponder on spiritual matters)
g. Your contribution will be unique.
h. Pray, study, and ponder to know what your contribution will be.
i. NEVER STOP LOVING those you teach even if they aren't interested in listening
j. Obey in order to grow as a nurturer....because this is what we are really talking about...BEING A NURTURER.

3.  What you DO to SUPPORT gospel learning in the home really matters:
at least it does for me.  Many of us make special meals over General Conference weekend.  We clean the house extra-well in order to facilitate feeling the spirit together and gospel learning without distractions that disorder brings.  In order to teach the gospel more in my home I knew that probably MOST of my work at the front-end at least would be work that seemed unrelated to gospel study.  Meals need to be planned, groceries need to be bought, brought home, and put away, laundry needs to be done, people need to be getting good rest to be able to get up and study well together.  All of those household tasks take on new importance when we realize that they are there to support gospel-learning in the home.  For me, this is probably one of the biggest changes the new curriculum has brought me...taking my housekeeping duties more seriously, doing it in more of an orderly and prompt way and seeing these duties as a means to a very good end.

4.  The Gospel needs no ketchup: In the words of Millie from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the gospel can stand on its own two feet.  We don't need to over-complicate it, but teaching in the home does make limits of teaching in a church building obsolete.  Whatever activities we think will reach our children and help us to teach, we are free to do them.  The sky is the limit, EVERY moment can be a teaching opportunity, and that is exciting.  With that said, simple is usually best...and for me at least speaking aloud the words of living prophets brings the spirit quicker than any gimmick!

5.  Ponder, Immerse Ourselves, Ponder, Write, Go!:  This is my process.  I think a lot about whatever lesson I want to teach my kids.  I listen to talks about the topic while I'm doing my regular work at home.  I think about it more.  I pray.  I write things down. And somewhere in the middle of writing things down...something comes to me that is the "just right" thing to share with them.  I often keep a calendar just for my lessons with my kids.  And I save crafts and things on Pinterest that are totally not related to my lesson and at the right moment those things I saved might come in to play...or not.  But I am always planning!

6.  Let the Holy Ghost Bring It to Life:  I didn't originally have this point written down, but I know that it is true.  There are lots of times when I am not as prepared as I'd like to be, but I know that as I try my best the Holy Ghost is there for me.  Sometimes I crack the books open in the morning and I think, "I'm not really sure where I'm supposed to take this" and the spirit comes in and says, "I'll lead!"  Let the spirit lead and each lesson will have something magical about it.  As with the loaves and the fishes...we, the disciples of Christ, His army of Mothers and gospel teachers bring our small contribution.  He accepts our offering as imperfect as it might be...and then He brings the rest and makes our offering enough.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. It reminded me of one of the reasons I loved teaching early morning seminary, which was seeing the blessings that came from doing the things necessary to be able to teach with the Spirit every single day. I'm a bit sad that it's taken me this long to connect daily teaching someone else's kids with daily teaching my own kids (and now they're all grown), but I'm grateful I have made that connection now. I think it can still help me, and it's a new thought I can share to help others. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for your comment Becky. I am sure you did a phenomenal job with your kids! (And students!) I was definitely dreading having to wake up earlier but I know it's good for me. I also said, "now every mother is an early morning seminary teacher!" I can't think of another time that works for us!

  2. Great thoughts for those without children at home too. Thanks for sharing!