Monday, August 30, 2010

Be Prayerful

The last Be!!!  Woo!  So let's get this show on the road!  Ready?


Lesson:  President Hinckley's last be is Be Prayerful.  The text is pasted below.  Read it with your family and discuss it.  It's not long, but it is great counsel.
You cannot do it alone. I look at this vast congregation, and I know that you are young people who pray, who get on your knees and speak with the Lord. You know that He is the source of all wisdom.
You need His help, and you know that you need His help. You cannot do it alone. You will come to realize that and recognize that more and more as the years pass. So live that in good conscience you can speak with the Lord. Get on your knees and thank Him for His goodness to you and express to Him the righteous desires of your hearts. The miracle of it all is that He hears. He responds. He answers—not always as we might wish He would answer, but there is no question in my mind that He answers.
You have such a tremendous responsibility, you young men and young women. You are the products of all of the generations that have gone before you. All that you have of body and mind has been passed to you through your parents. Someday you will become parents and pass on to succeeding generations the qualities of body and mind which you have received from the past. Do not break the chain of the generations of your family. Keep it bright and strong. So very much depends on you. You are so very precious. You mean so much to this Church. It could not be the same without you. Stand tall, proud of your inheritance as sons and daughters of God. Look to Him for understanding and guidance. Walk according to His precepts and commandments.
You can have a good time. Of course you can! We want you to have fun. We want you to enjoy life. We do not want you to be prudes. We want you to be robust and cheerful, to sing and dance, to laugh and be happy.
But in so doing, be humble and be prayerful, and the smiles of heaven will fall upon you.
I could wish for you nothing better than that your lives be fruitful, that your service be dedicated and freely given, that you contribute to the knowledge and the well-being of the world in which you live, and that you do it humbly and faithfully before your God. He loves you. We love you. We want you to be happy and successful, to make significant contributions to the world in which you will live and to the on-rolling of this great and majestic work of the Lord.

Activity:  Prayer is an art.  I know... what a weird sentence, but it's true.  Have you ever heard a truly eloquent prayer?  Temple dedicatory prayers come to my mind.  Now, we don't need to say fancy prayers or anything, but there is a pattern we should follow when conversing with our Heavenly Father.  Open the prayer in the name of the Father.  Thank Him for the blessings in your life.  Ask Him for the things you stand in need of.  Close in the name of Jesus Christ.  Simple.  Effective.  We have also been counseled not to give lengthy and preachy prayers.  If there is something we need to receive guidance for, those prayers are better served as private prayers.  Teach your family the appropriate way to pray and that there are different kinds of prayers that are appropriate for different situations.  (I know that's not much of an activity, but it is important).

Treat:  Mint Chocolate Brownies.  You can even point out how all the ingredients come together and make something yummy, just as all the parts of a prayer come together and make a great conversation with Heavenly Father.  =]  Get in all the teaching moments you can, right?!?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Be Humble

Only two more Be's!  Bear with me and we'll finish these up.

Preparation:  Set out a lump of play-doh or clay a few days before you teach this lesson.  Let it harden.  Have a batch of cookie dough or a tube from the grocery store in the fridge.

Lesson:  Read President Hinckley's next Be: Be Humble.  It isn't very long and, again, is pasted below.  Discuss what you read and make sure that your younger children understand what humility is.  You may also want to point out that Christ was the perfect example of all things, but especially of humility.  The Son of God hung on a cross for our sins.  I can't imagine how much humility it would take to be willing to do something like that.

There is no place for arrogance in our lives. There is no place for conceit. There is no place for egotism. We have a great work to do. We have things to accomplish. We need direction in the pursuit of our education. We need help in choosing an eternal companion.
The Lord has said, “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10).
What a tremendous promise is given in this statement. If we are without conceit and pride and arrogance, if we are humble and obedient, then the Lord will lead us by the hand and answer our prayers. What greater thing could we ask for? There is nothing to compare with this.
The Savior, in the great Sermon on the Mount, declared, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).
I believe the meek and the humble are those who are teachable. They are willing to learn. They are willing to listen to the whisperings of the still, small voice for guidance in their lives. They place the wisdom of the Lord above their own wisdom.

Activity:  For this activity you will need a lump of clay and a lump of hardened clay.  Invite each member of the family come up and try to mold a cube out of the lumps.  It should be fairly easy to mold the soft dough and near impossible to mold the hard on without it crumbling to pieces.  Explain that when we are humble we can be molded into the people the Lord needs us and wants us to be.  If we harden our hearts and become unteachable the Lord can't use us the way He needs to.

Treat:  Have cookie dough prepared ahead of time (or just a tube of cookie dough from the grocery store).  Have your kids help roll out the cookies.  Point out how easy it is to mold the dough... (another opportunity to get the point across).  Bake the cookies and enjoy warm cookies and milk.  Yummy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Be True

"Pressing onward, ever onward..."  (That might make an appropriate opening song... =])

Prep:  President Hinckley's "Be True" portion of his talk.  It's posted below.  Watermelon Pops.  Recipe Below.

Lesson:  Read through "Be True".  It isn't long.
Said Shakespeare, “To thine own self be true; and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man” (Hamlet, I, iii, 78–81). You have a tremendous inheritance. You have a great background of noble ancestry. Many of you are descendants of the pioneers, who died by the hundreds and thousands in testimony of the truth of this work. If they were to look down upon you, they would plead with you: “Be true. Be loyal. Be ‘true to the faith that our parents have cherished, true to the truth for which martyrs have perished.’ ” They would say, “Faith of our fathers, holy faith, we will be true to thee till death” (Hymns, nos. 254 and 84).
And those of you who may not be descended from pioneer ancestry, you belong to a church which has been made strong by the loyalty and unwavering affection of its members through the generations. What a marvelous thing it is to belong to a society whose purposes are noble, whose accomplishments are tremendous, whose work is uplifting, even heroic. Be loyal to the Church under all circumstances. I make you a promise that the authorities of this Church will never lead you astray. They will lead you in paths of happiness.
You who are members of this Church must have a loyalty to it. This is your church. You have as great a responsibility in your sphere of action as I have in my sphere of action. It belongs to you just as it belongs to me. You have embraced its gospel. You have taken upon yourselves a covenant in the waters of baptism. This you have renewed each time you have partaken of the sacrament. These covenants will be added to when you are married in the temple. You cannot hold them lightly. They are too great a thing. This is the very work of God designed to bring about the immortality and eternal life of His sons and daughters.
Walk in faith before Him with your heads high, proud of your membership in this great cause and kingdom which He has restored to the earth in this, the last dispensation of the fulness of times. Why? To bring you happiness.
Be true to your own convictions. You know what is right, and you know what is wrong. You know when you are doing the proper thing. You know when you are giving strength to the right cause. Be loyal. Be faithful. Be true, my beloved associates in this great kingdom.
Talk about what it means to be true.  Who/what can you be true to?  Who is highest on your list of people to be loyal to?  Talk about integrity and how it helps you to maintain your loyalties.

Activity:  Pull out a board game.  You know that closet full of all those boxes that no one ever opens... go grab one, open it up and get to playing.  What does this have to do with "Be True"?  What better way to teach a principle than to let your family practice it?  I would choose something along the lines of clue or yahtzee... something that won't take forever and is relatively easy to understand.  Winner gets to be served treats first.

Treats:  No-Bake Nilla Wafer Cheesecake.  Click for recipe.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Be Clean

Continuing with the Be's:

Things You'll Need:  President Hinckley's Be Clean excerpt.

Lesson: Read President Hinckley's "Be Clean."  Discuss it with your family.

Be clean.
"We live in a world that is filled with filth and sleaze, a world that reeks of evil. It is all around us. It is on the television screen. It is at the movies. It is in the popular literature. It is on the Internet. You can’t afford to watch it, my dear friends. You cannot afford to let that filthy poison touch you. Stay away from it. Avoid it. You can’t rent videos and watch them as they portray degrading things. You young men who hold the priesthood of God cannot mix this filth with the holy priesthood.
Avoid evil talk. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain. From the thunders of Sinai the finger of the Lord wrote on tablets of stone, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Ex. 20:7).
It is not a mark of manhood to carelessly use the name of the Almighty or His Beloved Son in a vain and flippant way, as many are prone to do.
Choose your friends carefully. It is they who will lead you in one direction or the other. Everybody wants friends. Everybody needs friends. No one wishes to be without them. But never lose sight of the fact that it is your friends who will lead you along the paths that you will follow.
While you should be friendly with all people, select with great care those whom you wish to have close to you. They will be your safeguards in situations where you may vacillate between choices, and you in turn may save them.
Be clean. Don’t waste your time in destructive entertainment. There was recently held in the Salt Lake Valley a show put on by a traveling band. I am told that it was filthy, that it was lascivious, that it was evil in every respect. The young people of this community had paid $25 to $35 to get in. What did they get for their money? Only a seductive voice urging them to move in the direction of the slimy things of life. I plead with you, my friends, to stay away from such. It will not help you. It can only injure you.
I recently spoke to your mothers and your fathers. Among other things, I talked with them about tattoos.
What creation is more magnificent than the human body? What a wondrous thing it is as the crowning work of the Almighty.
Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, said: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16–17).
Did you ever think that your body is holy? You are a child of God. Your body is His creation. Would you disfigure that creation with portrayals of people, animals, and words painted into your skin?
I promise you that the time will come, if you have tattoos, that you will regret your actions. They cannot be washed off. They are permanent. Only by an expensive and painful process can they be removed. If you are tattooed, then probably for the remainder of your life you will carry it with you. I believe the time will come when it will be an embarrassment to you. Avoid it. We, as your Brethren who love you, plead with you not to become so disrespectful of the body which the Lord has given you.
May I mention earrings and rings placed in other parts of the body. These are not manly. They are not attractive. You young men look better without them, and I believe you will feel better without them. As for the young women, you do not need to drape rings up and down your ears. One modest pair of earrings is sufficient.
I mention these things because again they concern your bodies.
How truly beautiful is a well-groomed young woman who is clean in body and mind. She is a daughter of God in whom her Eternal Father can take pride. How handsome is a young man who is well groomed. He is a son of God, deemed worthy of holding the holy priesthood of God. He does not need tattoos or earrings on or in his body. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are all united in counseling against these things.
And while I speak of such matters I want to give emphasis again to the matter of pornography. It has become a $10 billion industry in the United States, where a few men grow rich at the expense of thousands upon thousands who are their victims. Stay away from it. It is exciting, but it will destroy you. It will warp your senses. It will build within you an appetite that you will do anything to appease. And don’t try to create associations through the Internet and chat rooms. They can lead you down into the very abyss of sorrow and bitterness.
I must also say a word concerning illicit drugs. You know how I feel about them. I don’t care what the variety may be. They will destroy you if pursued. You will become their slave. Once in their power, you will do anything to get money to buy more.
I was amazed while watching a television program to learn that parents introduced drugs to their children in 20 percent of the cases. I cannot understand what I regard as the stupidity of these parents. What future other than slavery for their children could they see in them? Illegal drugs will utterly destroy those who become addicted to them.
My advice, my pleading to you wonderful young men and women, is to stay entirely away from them. You don’t need to experiment with them. Look about you and see the effects they have had on others. There is no need for any Latter-day Saint boy or girl, young man or young woman, to even try them. Stay clean from these mind-altering and habit-forming addictions.
And now just a word on the most common and most difficult of all problems for you young men and young women to handle. It is the relationship that you have one with another. You are dealing with the most powerful of human instincts. Only the will to live possibly exceeds it.
The Lord has made us attractive one to another for a great purpose. But this very attraction becomes as a powder keg unless it is kept under control. It is beautiful when handled in the right way. It is deadly if it gets out of hand.
It is for this reason that the Church counsels against early dating. This rule is not designed to hurt you in any way. It is designed to help you, and it will do so if you will observe it.
Steady dating at an early age leads so often to tragedy. Studies have shown that the longer a boy and girl date one another, the more likely they are to get into trouble.
It is better, my friends, to date a variety of companions until you are ready to marry. Have a wonderful time, but stay away from familiarity. Keep your hands to yourself. It may not be easy, but it is possible.
You young men who plan to go on missions must recognize that sexual sin may keep you from that opportunity. You may think that you can hide it. Long experience has shown that you cannot. To serve an effective mission you must have the Spirit of the Lord, and truth withheld does not mix with that Spirit. Sooner or later you will feel compelled to confess your earlier transgressions. Well did Sir Galahad say, “My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure” (Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Sir Galahad [1842], st. 1).
My dear young friends, in matters of sex you know what is right. You know when you are walking on dangerous ground, when it is so easy to stumble and slide into the pit of transgression. I plead with you to be careful, to stand safely back from the cliff of sin over which it is so easy to fall. Keep yourselves clean from the dark and disappointing evil of sexual transgression. Walk in the sunlight of that peace which comes from obedience to the commandments of the Lord.
Now, if there be any who have stepped over the line, who may already have transgressed, is there any hope for you? Of course there is. Where there is true repentance, there will be forgiveness. That process begins with prayer. The Lord has said, “He who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more” (D&C 58:42). Share your burden with your parents if you can. And by all means, confess to your bishop, who stands ready to help you."

Activity:  So, I thought about putting something like wash the dishes... hahaha.  But then I thought about how well that would go over with my family.  And decided to come up with another idea.  So, here's the winner: Dig a small hole out in the yard.  Or take out a bowl and fill it with some dirt.  Add water.  Yep, you're making mud.  You WILL want to do this activity outdoors.  Have each person reach in and feel the mud.  If some want to use both hands and get a little more dirty, more power to them.  It'll help illustrate the point.  Have everyone look at the mud all over their hands.  Tell them to scape the mud off.  Point out the residue: they can't get all of it off.  The more mud, the more that needs to be cleaned off.  The more sins that have been committed.  Demonstrate that you have to wash the mud off with water.  Water is like the atonement.  Expound as much as you'd like.

Treat:  Super Simple Pudding.  Click for the recipe.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

This is a fantastic FHE for summer time.Take a walk around your neighborhood, pointing out things that you are thankful for. The green grass, the shady trees, the technology of the car, the chirping birds, the flowers... you get the idea. When you get home, read "Finding Joy in the Journey," by President Monson. It's important to remember to be grateful and to find the silver lining to all our gray clouds in life. We have trials, but we also have blessings. Remember to open and close with a prayer. Treats can be anything you like, but a nice slice of juicy watermelon was what jumped to my mind.

Hold to the Rod

The story of Lehi's Vision is one we hear from Primary on up. Here's a fun way to bring the scriptures to life.

Things You'll Need: A ball of string or yarn. In a room where you won't be doing the lesson, wind the string out all over the room. Go around objects, under tables, over things. Make it a real obstacle course. A blindfold.

Song: Primary Children's Songbook, I'll Walk With You, Page 140.

Lesson: Read 1 Nephi Chapter 8. It's the story of the Tree of Life. Talk about the different parts of Lehi's dream. The importance of the iron rod, the mist of darkness, the tree of life, the pure white fruit, and the great and spacious building. What do each of these things represent in our lives today?

Activity: Lead your family to the room where you have set up your obstacle course. Tell them that the string is like the iron rod. Pull out the blindfold and explain that it is like the mist of darkness. Ask who wants to go first. Blindfold the first person and tell them to make their way through the room. After everyone has had a chance to complete the obstacle course, talk about the experience. Was it hard? How did it relate to Lehi's Dream?

Treat: Apple Slices and Caramel Dip.