Motherhood, marriage, ministering: the M's have it. And by the time you get through a week of it, you might have had it too! How can we succeed at teaching the gospel in our homes? We want to help! So we took one topic, the Nativity, and created three experiences: a home study message a mom (or dad) can give, a message for your ministering, and a quick reboot for your marriage! Here we go:
Home Study: Everybody has a Nativity Story
Read the story of Jesus's birth and have kids shout out or ring a bell whenever they recognize miracles, blessings, visitors and gifts. Then fill out the nativity worksheet for each person in the family, or prepare one for each child and go over it together. Don't worry about covering all of the material, they will be using the same books next year! (and the year after that...)
As a start, here is a BIRTH STORY worksheet I prepared for our granddaughter Fiona. Take this
and use your creativity to make it a special tribute to each child. Talk about the miracles that occurred, the funny things that happened and the details of baby blessings, emergencies, anything that makes that child's birth special and memorable. And then bear your testimony that, just like Jesus, each child's birth is attended by angels, miracles and blessings. And that each child has a mission and a destiny that is unique and special
Marriage: Getting to Know You
We think we know our spouses, but how often do we just sit and listen to them talk about their lives? Fix a fun dinner for the two of you and ask your spouse to tell everything he/she knows about the day of his/her birth. The same components apply: blessings, miracles, gifts, friends and special experiences that make it unique. Then make a worksheet with a few pictures and the next time the kids and grandkids come over, have a quiz to see how much they know about Papa/ Grammy. You'll be doing family history painlessly, as long as you don't tell anyone you are doing family history! And your spouse will feel valued and treasured. That's a reboot that works.
Ministering: Tell me a Story
You don't need an elaborate message to be a good minister. A more vital component may be a listening ear. Next time you drop by, ask to hear about the day your person was born and all the circumstances surrounding his/her birth. Help that person feel valued and treasured. Help them see the connection between their birth and that of the Savior's. Each person has a mission, and a destiny to fulfill.
Here are some general tips from our session that apply to every teaching experience:
•LISTEN MORE THAN YOU TALK
•FIND SIMILARITIES WITH YOUR LIVES IN THE SCRIPTURES
•USE JESUS’S TEACHING TECHNIQUES
•BALANCE THE SERIOUS WITH THE SMILES
If our uppermost goal is to make each person feel their divine worth, and be inspired to draw closer to Jesus, the kids will come running, the spouse will put down the phone and join in, and the door will open when we knock. The gospel is the good news, and the good news is that Jesus loves us, we are never alone, and the scriptures are all about our own problems!
In the next few weeks we will talk about Jesus's baptism, the miracle of the water and wine at Cana, the "born again" talk with Nicodemus, and more. Are the creative juices flowing? Maybe this is a time to show older kids a video of how babies develop in the womb, and talk about how we develop spiritually in much the same way, little by little. Or these two lessons could be the beginning of a memory notebook of birth stories, baptism experiences and other spiritual experiences that could become a treasured keepsake. The possibilities are endless. Make it fun, use your skills, and don't worry about reading every verse! Remember what the scripture says: "Better that one verse should make it into the heart and mind of a child than the whole chapter dwindle in drooling boredom." (Well I think it says something like that!) The opportunities are here to feed the sheep, and you have the Master Shepherd to guide you! Go get'em.