Helping Children Get the Most from Church Classes

Parents can help their children get the most from seminary and Church classes by following some basic principles.

Read to your children—young and teenage—and encourage them to read with you and by themselves. Make regular family scripture study part of their routine. Make good books available to them, and help them learn to enjoy reading. Children who develop a love of reading the scriptures and other good books will be better able to keep up in Church classes and understand the language used in the scriptures.

Help your children with a talk, project, or presentation they might have to prepare. Do not do the project for them, but be a dependable resource to them. Help them see the real-life applications of what is being taught in the presentation or talk.

Share positive experiences you might have had in your own Church classes. Praise teachers, and look for the best in the educational opportunities the Church provides. Your example will help your children keep an open mind and heart during their own Church classes.

Listen to your children. Give them a safe environment in which to share their feelings. The more interest and positive feedback they receive as they share with you, the more they will do it.

Expect good things of your children, and keep your expectations up so that they may rise to them. Follow up on your children’s reading assignments and seminary homework. Let them know that it’s important to complete such tasks so they learn to be self-motivated.

Applaud both the efforts and the accomplishments of your children. Honor the work they bring home by displaying it. Thank teachers and youth leaders with phone calls or notes of appreciation.

Participate in your children’s activities. Be a part of their education. Let them know that they are important by spending your time with them. This will help strengthen your relationship.

Provide a learning environment for your children. Make sure they eat a good breakfast, even before early-morning seminary. Help them get to bed on time so their minds and bodies get enough rest. Manage television and Internet access so that children can learn discipline and have the time they need to develop and to express themselves productively.

Children will try harder, perform better, and learn more when their parents are interested and involved. Parents can make positive contributions that will keep their children actively participating in Church and seminary activities.Brad Wilcox, BYU 138th Ward, BYU 15th Stake

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker

Preparing a Living Will

As a result of laws and comparable legislation in many countries in the world, an individual can execute a Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. These documents can give families peace of mind when unexpected illness or health problems arise. The following explains the purpose of each document.

A Living Will takes effect once a terminal medical condition arises or a person is in a persistent vegetative state. It contains your personal instructions to family or medical care providers about your wishes regarding the use of life-sustaining procedures should you become unable to direct your own medical decisions. In such a document you may instruct medical personnel to provide one of three levels of care: extensive life-sustaining procedures, such as a feeding tube and intravenous liquids; limited life-sustaining procedures; or no life-sustaining procedures. One can also request that no artificial life support be administered when, in the judgment of a competent medical practitioner, a condition becomes medically hopeless.

A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is a legal document that lets you empower someone, generally a family member, to be your proxy and to make health-care decisions under circumstances where you are unable to give current health-care directions. An example might be if you were to lapse into a coma or become unconscious. The Durable Power of Attorney is broader than a Living Will because it permits your proxy to handle medical issues for you when you have become incapacitated but your condition is not terminal. The Durable Power of Attorney gives your proxy authority only while the condition continues and terminates once you are again able to be personally responsible for your own care.

These two legal documents can be helpful for all adults and may be especially helpful for the elderly, who might wish to draw up the documents while they still have their full mental faculties.

To prepare these documents, families need to counsel together about medical measures that are to be used once an incurable condition arises. These documents must be signed in the presence of two adult witnesses and a copy should be sent to your physician, who will place it in your medical record. Forms and instructions vary from state to state and country to country; these forms can be obtained through some senior citizen service agencies, lawyers, or medical associations.J. Randolph Ayre, Cottonwood Third Ward, Salt Lake Cottonwood Stake

[illustration] Illustrated by Joe Flores

Scriptures on the Go

Because I often find myself in the car taking my children to various places, I decided to find a way to use our time together constructively. One idea that has worked well for us is to memorize scriptures regularly.

Using index cards, we write one scripture verse on each card. Some of these are found in the Friend magazine or the year’s Primary sacrament meeting program. We keep the cards in our glove compartment in the car, along with a tape dispenser. While I keep my eyes on the road, one of the children tapes a card to the dashboard and reads it aloud to the rest of us. We say it together until we have it memorized.

This activity helps keep the children busy during our driving time and leaves them with positive thoughts for the day.Linda Sulzen, Midvale Fifth Ward, Midvale Utah Stake

Mom’s Message

We have a family home evening chart that rotates weekly. Everyone has an assignment, and we take turns giving the lesson, providing treats, planning an activity, offering the prayer, or doing other things. However, since there are 10 of us in our family, it can take a couple of months before Mom and Dad get a turn for the lesson. Sometimes the lessons from the children, especially the younger ones, have been a little shorter or more simple than others. As parents, we wanted more input, but we didn’t want anyone to feel like the lesson wasn’t good enough because we added something at the end. To address the problem, we created a new, nonrotated assignment called Mom’s Message.

Each week after the lesson, Dad asks Mom for her message, which might be a short thought or a longer discussion on something she learned in Relief Society. The lesson might highlight a conference talk or deal with a family need. Occasionally Mom chooses a subject that complements the lesson given by one of the children, especially if she helped the child prepare the evening’s lesson. Other Mom’s Messages have revolved around looking at baby books and photo albums or learning about gardens in preparation for spring planting.

Mom’s Message has been a real success at our house. The children enjoy it, and we get a chance for extra input in the instruction portion of our family home evening.Jarolyn Ballard Stout, Hurricane Fourth Ward, Hurricane Utah Stake

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker