Teach Me, Teach Me To Walk in the Light

Reading: “Gospel Teaching – Our Most Important Calling,” William D. Oswald, Second Counselor in the Second General Presidency, October 2008 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session

In our church great emphasis is put upon teaching.  Because the positions in our church are filled by lay clergy just about everyone will have a teaching position at some time in their membership.  Also, families are constantly asked to teach each other through family home evening and other teaching activities in the home.  Just about everyone is also a home teacher or a visiting teacher and is asked to go into homes and teach other members.  Also, young men are asked to go on a mission where for two years the main thing they do is to teach other people about the gospel.  Also, all of us will most likely be asked at some time or other to talk in church, where we will be teaching on the assigned topic.

One of the best ways to learn is to teach, and perhaps that is why our church asks us to teach so much.  One of the main reasons I write this blog is that I know from experience that reading is one thing, but taking what you learn and then explaining it to someone else is a much, much better way to learn and absorb the information you are trying to get into your head.

Elder Oswald teaches us the importance of teaching in his talk.  He also shares three principles that will help teachers in the church:

  • Show love to those you teach and call them by name.
  • Teach from the scriptures.
  • Encourage the pondering of gospel truths.

Those three principles are pretty simple, but I have seen many lessons in church where they forgot one of those and those lessons are much less effective.

Right now I do not have a teaching calling, not even as a visiting teacher.  I figure they just aren’t going to bother because we are moving in a month.  However, I do feel that it is extremely important that I teach my child(ren) and that is a “calling” I will have for many years.  I believe that if you really want your children to accept and live the gospel, you must start as early as possible.

Teaching young children about the gospel is very hard.  From my experience most people agree that being in the nursery is the hardest calling in the church.  [EDIT: In the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the “nursery” refers to a class for children aged 18 months to 3 years old that runs for two hours of every three hour Sunday meeting.  It is separate from primary, which is for children 3 years to 12 years.]

It requires heroic amounts of patience and isolates you from the rest of the ward, as it is the only calling that holes you up for most of church.   It is, in fact, not unlike being a mother of young children.  It’s difficulty increases greatly as you put more effort into having structured activities and a lesson, as you are supposed to, instead of just having them play the whole time.  Perhaps sensing the unique trials asked of nursery leaders the church recently came out with a new nursery handbook that gives great lessons and advice on how to teach little children. I really, really wish this had come out before I had my stint as a nursery leader about two years ago-it would have been a huge help.  Church leaders also encouraged all parents with children under the age of three to get a copy to use in their home.

What I am leading up to is today I am going to go buy this manual, as I have been meaning to ever since I heard about it.  At 9 months old, my daughter is still too young to really benefit from a lesson.  However, as I said, there is no such thing as “too early” to start teaching the gospel and maybe it will give me some good ideas for setting patterns for future teaching.

What roles do you have that require you to teach others?  How can you be a better teacher in those roles?

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