I pulled out my list of short quotes from each speaker at General Conference and read a few to him, asking him if there was one he liked the best. After some deliberation, he picked the quote from Elder Richard J Maynes that seemed to be about the gospel fundamentals. "We need to study and learn the fundamental principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then we must do our very best to live them." Great! Sounds like a good lesson for a young kid right? Let's talk about what the fundamental principles of the gospel are! Well it turns out there was a bit more to it - Elder Maynes' talk was entitled "The Strength to Endure" and the fundamentals of the gospel are what give us that strength to endure. As I read and studied the talk, I realized that this lesson was a message that I needed to hear right then. At 39 weeks pregnant I was begging the baby to just come already and I might have been a bit TIRED of being pregnant. I just wanted to be done.
I read the talk and highlighted quotes and things that stood out to me on Sunday but I still wasn't sure how to organize it so that Little Guy was mostly in charge. I prayed for inspiration and guidance over the next day and sat down Monday afternoon hoping I could come up with a decent plan after a day of letting the thoughts percolate in my mind. I really believe the spirit guided me to exactly what to write down at this point because a clear plan came out on my paper quite quickly. Putting it together took longer thanks to computer difficulties but I knew how to make it happen!
Open with Little Guy asking questions: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Next: What will you need to do to do that?
Share story from Elder Maynes about getting into shape after his mission for basketball and how it took dedication, perseverance and self discipline.
Have Little Guy choose someone to read a quote and hand them the paper with the following quote:
" A testimony, like your body, needs to be in shape if you want to endure. So how do we keep our testimonies in shape? We cannot get our bodies into good basketball shape by simply watching basketball on television. Similarly, we won't be able to get our testimonies in shape by simply watching general conference on television. We need to study and learn the fundamental principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then we must do our very best to live them. That is how we become disciples of Jesus Christ, and that is how we build an enduring testimony."
Next question: Do you know what it means to have dedication, perseverance and self-discipline?
Have Little Guy hand out papers with matching word to definition and pencils to everyone. Give everyone time to figure it out and then go over definitions.
Next have Little Guy hand out quote about choice:
"Heavenly Father has organized our journey through life to be a test of our character. We are exposed to both good and evil influences and then given the moral agency to choose for ourselves which path we will take. As the ancient Book of Mormon prophet Samuel taught, "Ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free." (Helaman 14:30)
Point out that it is our choice to choose to strengthen our testimonies and be able to endure. Share testimony that I believe it is the way to happiness.
Have Little Guy hand out last paper to everyone, for drawings about the fourth article of faith. It is a simple paper where everyone can draw an illustration each for Faith in Jesus, Repentance, Baptism and the Holy Ghost. Share belief that the gospel is simple and basic and these are the first principles to understand. End.
End of Lesson report: Having Little Guy hand things out and ask questions went fabulous. He really liked being the center of attention, asking the questions and having the important job of passing out paper. Telling the story about basketball training was the big hiccup because he wanted to tell the story. I should have had pictures for him to hold while I told the story, even though it was a short one or I should have tried to teach it to him to tell in his own words. We made it through taking turns telling a story (his involved a chicken crossing the road I think) and the lesson went well overall. I think the main points of the talk came through for the kids but the biggest reason I think it was a success is that I chose to involve my son in giving it and I have learned more personally that they really aren't too young to actively participate, even though sometimes they are little terrors.
We finished the evening with chocolate pudding and a game of Sequence which is a fabulous family game that even 2-3 year olds can fully participate in. It felt like a fabulous family night!
I am already really grateful for this exercise of making the general conference talks the themes of our FHE lessons. I have learned so much about teaching my kids the gospel just in trying to help them with lesson prep and in studying the talks with FHE in mind, more than I ever have before studying the talks on my own. I do believe I am being guided and gently taught by the Holy Spirit how to be a better mother through this process. I hope you are enjoying reading about our lessons and perhaps feeling inspired to try sharing some thoughts from General Conference with your family.