Friday, November 08, 2013

FHE Lesson: Learning to Be Meek

Another week flew by and it was Trainboy's turn to be in charge of giving the FHE lesson! I have felt in the past I have not helped him adequately prepare in advance when it is his turn for the lesson so this time I made sure to have him select a talk on Sunday night and then I printed it off for him to read and study that evening, telling him we'd discuss it and make a lesson plan in the morning.

Trainboy chose the talk "Be Meek and Lowly of Heart" by Elder Ulisses Soares based on the quote list I had printed from Diapers and Divinity and showed him to help him choose. "Meekness is vital for us to become Christlike...Being meek does not mean weakness, but it does mean behaving with goodness and kindness."

When we got together to talk Monday morning, he had highlighted almost the entire talk! He said he really liked it. Luckily I had also read the talk and noticed several steps mentioned to becoming meek. They weren't necessarily steps to be done in a certain order, but things we could work on. I pointed this out to Trainboy to help bring some organization to his lesson and talking points. We discussed the stories he wanted to share and the things he found most important. The parts that talked about the Savior had clearly stood out to him as well as the parts about controlling our temper and the relationships between husband and wife. The hardest part for me was letting him be in charge overall and acting as a guide instead of just telling him what to do.

I asked him if he could think of a craft or project we could do with this topic and we thought about it for a while. Several of his previous lessons have used Legos for demonstrations, so I thought maybe he could make a set of steps from Legos to discuss the steps to becoming meek. He liked the idea!

I decided it might be better to type up the quotes this time for him to hand out to people instead of just handing around a copy of the talk. So we went to the computer and he carefully pecked out a few lines before letting me help with the typing. (He is learning to type, but still goes pretty slow.) He was however excited to draw the steps picture by himself. After he got it done, we turned it into a nice file in Word that would print up pretty well.

Here was our lesson plan:

Open by telling everyone our lesson is about meekness. Ask question: What does it mean to be meek?

Quote 1: Being meek does not mean weakness, but it does mean behaving with goodness and kindness, showing strength, serenity, healthy self-worth, and self-control.

Explain that meekness is a characteristic of our Savior that we want to develop so we can be more like him.

Quote 2: Meekness is vital for us to become more Christ-like. Meekness was one of the most abundant attributes in the Savior’s life. He himself taught His disciples, “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.”

Share lego steps and introduce each step to becoming meek with quotes from talk.

First step: Try to Improve Every Day

Quote 3: (Step 1) President Snow said: “If the husband can live with his wife one day without quarrelling or without treating anyone unkindly or without grieving the Spirit of God… he is so far perfect. Then let him try to be the same the next day. But supposing he should fail in this his next day’s attempt, that is no reason why he should not succeed in doing so the third day.

Second step: Learn to control our temper

Quote 4: (Step 2) Because the natural man dwells within each one of us and because we live in a world full of pressure, controlling our temper may become one of the challenges in our lives…At these moments and in other difficult situations, we must learn to control our temper and convey our feelings with patience and gentle persuasion. The Apostle Paul said “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, “And that they may recover themselves.”

Third step: Become humble

Quote 5:  (Step 3) The Lord instructed Thomas B. Marsh through the Prophet Joseph Smith, saying “Be thou humble, and the Lord they God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.” The humble are teachable recognizing how dependent they are on God.

Finish with story of Brother Mahlangu.

Quote 6: One of the most beautiful modern-day examples of meekness that I am aware of is that of Brother Moses Mahlangu. His conversion began in 1964, when he received a copy of the Book of Mormon. He was fascinated as he read this book, but it was not until the early ’70s that he saw an LDS Church sign on a building in Johannesburg, South Africa, as he was walking down a street. Brother Mahlangu was intrigued and entered the building to learn more about the Church. He was kindly told that he could not attend the services or be baptized because the country’s laws did not allow it at that time.

Brother Mahlangu accepted that decision with meekness, humility, and without resentment, but he continued to have a strong desire to learn more about the Church. He asked the Church leaders if they could leave one of the meetinghouse windows open during the Sunday meetings so he could sit outside and listen to the services. For several years, Brother Mahlangu’s family and friends attended church regularly “through the window.” One day in 1980 they were told that they could attend church and also be baptized. What a glorious day it was for Brother Mahlangu.

Later the Church organized a branch in his neighborhood in Soweto. This was possible only because of the determination, courage, and faithfulness of people like Brother Mahlangu who remained faithful for so many years under difficult circumstances.

One of Brother Mahlangu’s friends, who had joined the Church at the same time, recounted this story to me when I visited the Soweto stake. At the end of our conversation, he gave me a hug. At that moment, brothers and sisters, I felt as if I was encircled in the Savior’s loving arms. Meekness emanated from this good brother’s eyes. With a heart full of goodness and deep gratitude, he asked if I could just tell President Thomas S. Monson how grateful and blessed he and many others were for having the true gospel in their lives. Brother Mahlangu and his friend’s example of meekness truly influenced many lives for good—especially mine.
  Finish lesson by giving everyone a hand out with the drawing of steps to fill in the three things we can do to become more meek. Share testimony.

Post lesson reflection: Things went well overall. I tried to hold my tongue when he didn't go through things exactly like I had pictured. He did have all the quotes read and he did share the message. He just did it with his own personal style. I hope he has positive memories of giving the lesson, I felt like it has been a good exercise for me on guiding and teaching my kids about giving lessons. I really like how the handouts looked when everyone finished so I hung them up around the house.

I found the topic fascinating since I think we tend to equate meekness with being humble. From Elder Soares we learned that being humble is part of being meek but we must also learn to control our temper and keep trying to do better each day and being like our Savior. 

 I really enjoyed studying and preparing for this lesson with my son. I have personally been working to gain control of my temper for years and while I have made progress and definitely have days and periods where I manage not to yell or get angry about stuff, sometimes I mess up and yell at my kids. I love the message of hope that we can just keep trying to improve each day and working at it. I have also been trying to teach my kids to communicate their feelings with words and "I" statements instead of lashing out with their bodies in anger. I just found this message so wonderfully timely for our family and full of hope and guidance.

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