Each young man will understand that he has an important place in his earthly family.
Scriptures for each young man.
Picture 3, Children Saying Goodnight to Parents; picture 4, Family Prayer; picture 5, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus (62495).
A pitcher of water and a drinking glass.
Prepare a simple jigsaw puzzle. Use a simple children’s puzzle, or make one of your own.
Suggested Lesson Development
The Family Holds an Important Place in Our Heavenly Father’s Plan
Pictures and discussion
Without telling the class what the lesson is about, show the pictures of the families.
What do each of these pictures have in common? (All scenes represent families.)
Refer to the pictures of the families and point to the picture of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.
Why was Jesus sent into a family?
How did his family help him?
Scripture, chalkboard, and discussion
Have a young man read Luke 2:52 while the others follow in their scriptures.
What words in this scripture are used to represent the areas in which Jesus developed? (Wisdom, stature, favor with God and man.)
Prepare the chalkboard as shown:
Favor with God
Favor with Man
Explain that just as the Savior was sent into a family, we have been sent to a family to help us grow, mature, and develop in these same areas.
What is meant by wisdom? (Good judgment that comes from experience in making right decisions.)
How does your family help you increase in wisdom?
List the young men’s responses on the chalkboard under “Wisdom.”
You may want to share a brief experience you have had with your family that helped you grow in wisdom.
Explain that President N. Eldon Tanner of the First Presidency told how he learned to become a responsible and dependable person as follows:
“Speaking of being dependable in every way, I had an experience when I was a boy that gave me a great lift and a great understanding of dependability. My father was going away on Church business and he said to my brother and me, ‘I wish you’d do this and this while I’m away.’ We thought he’d be gone most of the afternoon. We were living on a farm, and we saw some calves in the corral that we thought we’d like to ride and then do the work after.
“Father came home earlier than we had anticipated, and he called me over to him and he said, ‘My boy, I thought I could depend on you.’ … As I thought it over, I determined I would never give anyone a reason to say, ‘I thought I could depend on Eldon Tanner,’ and then as I went to bed that night and prayed to the Lord, I determined and promised him that I would try to live so that he would never have reason to say, ‘I thought I could depend on you’” (in Conference Report, Paris France Area Conference 1976, p. 25).
Chalkboard and discussion
What is meant by stature? (Physical development and growth. It can also mean becoming a respected person in the neighborhood.)
How does your family help you grow in stature and develop physically? (By providing shelter, medical attention, and food, and by encouraging you to develop skills and talents.)
As the young men answer, list their responses on the chalkboard under “Stature.”
What do you think it means to grow “in favor with God”? (God approves of our actions and is pleased with us.)
What are some ways your family can help you to grow in favor with God? (By teaching us how to live gospel principles, by having regular family home evenings and family prayer, by studying the scriptures and attending church with us, and by helping us prepare talks for church.)
List the young men’s responses on the chalkboard under “Favor with God.”
Ask the young men to share any experiences they may have had when a family member helped them become closer to the Lord. You may want to share an experience of your own.
What does it mean to increase in favor with man? (To learn to get along well with others.)
What characteristics can your family teach you that can help you get along well with others?
List the young men’s responses on the chalkboard under “Favor with Man.” Some responses might be sharing, consideration, respect, cooperation, dependability, love, responsibility, tolerance, and patience.
Our Family Influences Us, and We Influence Our Families
Place a pitcher of water and a drinking glass on the table. Explain that the pitcher represents our family and the glass represents us. The water represents the help our family gives us. Our families can help fill us with the physical, mental, and spiritual things we need.
Turn the glass upside down.
What will happen if we try to fill an upside-down drinking glass?
How are we sometimes like an upside-down drinking glass? (We won’t accept the help our families give us.)
Turn the drinking glass right side up and fill it with water. Explain that when we accept the help our families give us, it is like filling the glass with water.
How does your family help you?
Refer to the chart on the chalkboard.
Are there any other ways your family helps you?
After the young men respond, pour the glass of water back into the pitcher.
How do you help your family?
List the responses on the right side of the chalkboard.
Explain that each young man is only one person, yet he has the power to influence many. Our families are our closest contacts. Although we love our families more than we love anyone else, we sometimes show them the least love and respect. They feel our daily moods and are influenced by our actions. Our moods may reflect their moods, and their moods will often reflect ours. Because of this, we need to be continually aware of how we are influencing others and try always to have a positive, happy influence.
The following story shows how we can influence our families for good.
“We are most fortunate to have in our home a handsome seventeen-year-old son named John. He has always been a wonderful child to live with, but about a year ago we began to notice that he was even more special than usual. He became our peacemaker. Whenever there was a problem in the house, it was his quiet, calm approach that soon brought peace to our household again. Whenever someone was having a hard day or had had a disappointment, we would find John talking to him quietly in a corner and encouraging him until the sad heart was lifted up again. Several times members of the family shared with me notes he had written to them, telling them that he loved them and thought they were special.
“Finally, I went to him and told him we had noticed and appreciated his influence in the family and asked him if there was a reason for the wonderful attitude he had shown to all of us. I shall never forget his answer. He said, ‘I have been reading the scriptures every day and they have changed my life.’ Indeed they had changed his life and, in doing so, had changed the life and spirit of our entire family.”
In what ways had John helped his family? List the young men’s responses on the chalkboard under “Favor with Man.”
Each Aaronic Priesthood Holder Has an Important Place in His Family
Puzzle and discussion
Give two or three of the young men a simple puzzle with a piece missing, and ask them to assemble it. When they ask about the missing piece, supply it for them. When they have finished, gather all the puzzle pieces before continuing.
Why was the missing piece of the puzzle important to the rest of the puzzle?
Would it make any difference which puzzle piece was missing? (All of the pieces are necessary to complete the puzzle.)
How might the puzzle and missing piece relate to families?
Even though we may have many members in our family, why do we still feel incomplete when one member is missing?
Help the group understand that each person has a special place in his family and a unique contribution to make.
Explain that a mother once commented that each child held a special place in her heart and in her family that no other person or family member could hold. When that child was gone, she said, she felt an emptiness or void until the child returned. Such is the case with each of us, both in our earthly families and in our heavenly family. There will always be a special place just for us; when we are gone, we will be missed, and there will be an emptiness until we return. Our Heavenly Father misses us when we are gone from his presence and wants each of us to return to his heavenly family just as our earthly parents do. He has blessed us with families in mortality to help us develop those qualities we need to return to him.
The following story illustrates how families feel about each individual family member.
“As we traveled home from our vacation, our station wagon was loaded with suitcases and people. Grandma and Grandpa had joined us that year, so there were eight in the car. When we stopped for gas, the children piled out of the car to stretch their legs and run around. When Steve came back to get into the car, I noticed his bare feet were covered with oil and grease, so I handed him his shoes and stockings and told him to go wash his feet and put on his shoes, and then he could get into the back where he so liked to be.
“In the meantime, we gassed the car and pulled over to an adjacent quick-foods stand where we bought lemonade to drink with our lunch. Then we set off toward home.
“In about a half hour, as lunchtime approached, I began passing out sandwiches. ‘Stevie,’ I called to the back of the station wagon, ‘what kind of sandwich do you want?’
“I couldn’t hear his answer over the many voices, so I repeated my question a little louder. No response came. And then the children began shouting, ‘Stevie isn’t here. He’s not in the car. We left him way back there at the gas station.’
“It was true. Stevie was not with us. I felt a cold chill come over me and my whole body racked with anxiety to the point that I almost became physically ill. My little Steve was back there all alone at the station scared and wondering why we had left him.
“We could not cross the freeway immediately, so we kept traveling away from our little, lost boy until my husband spotted a turn-around area. Now headed in the right direction, we could hardly control our speed as we hurried back toward the gas station.
“Those forty-five minutes seemed like forty-five hours. All sorts of thoughts rushed through my mind. What if the highway patrol picked him up and tried to catch us! Here we were on our way back. They’d never find us. What if someone else picked him up! Was he hysterically sobbing and scared to death? We were each trying to comfort the others. Brothers and sisters were whimpering and frightened for him. Grandma was on the edge of her seat. Dad was driving as fast as he safely could. Grandpa was urging him on. At the same time, he was trying to keep me reassured that we’d soon be there and all would be well.
“As we drove into the station, there stood Stevie holding tightly to the hand of a kind man who had waited there with him all that time. The man had been comforting him and reassuring him that his family would soon be back for him. Stevie wasn’t crying, but he looked upset and scared. We screeched to a stop and I threw open my door. He ran and jumped into my arms. As we both began to sob, our mingled tears seemed to wash away our agony and fear. There were tears of joy on every cheek in the car. The reunion was something none of us will forget. To be back together, all of us as one family, was an indescribable joy. While one of us was lost, every thought, every heartbeat, and every prayer was for him; only when he was found were we one again.”
Bear witness to the young men of the importance of families and the importance of each individual member. You may desire to express your feelings about your own family.
Challenge each young man to take one quality from those listed on the chalkboard and strive to improve in that particular area of his life during the coming week.