Lesson 45: Effective Home Teaching

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, (1993), 172–74


Objective

Each young man will understand the basic principles and responsibilities of effective home teaching.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

    3. c.

      A pencil and paper for each young man.

  2. 2.

    Make a copy of the handout “Scripture Analysis” for each young man.

  3. 3.

    If the videocassette Teach One Another (53148) is available in your area, show part 3 of the segment “Teaching: A Renewed Dedication.”

Note

This lesson will explain what it is to be a good home teacher and how each young man can become a better home teacher.

Suggested Lesson Development

What Makes a Good Home Teacher?

Chalkboard and discussion

  • What qualities and habits make a good soccer player (or another type of individual appropriate to your culture)? List on the chalkboard the young men’s responses.

After you have made the list, explain that there are special qualities and habits that make one good at any worthwhile activity.

  • What qualities and habits make a good home teacher?

List the young men’s responses on the chalkboard. The list may include such things as being friendly, prepared, alert, prayerful, consistent, punctual, cooperative, interested, helpful, and a good example.

Discuss the ideas listed on the chalkboard, adding any you think should be considered. As an example, your discussion of prayerful could be guided by these questions:

  • How would a good home teacher use prayer? (Pray privately for the families he visits, pray with his companion before he goes home teaching, pray with the family at the end of the visit [with approval of the head of the family].)

  • How can prayer help a person be a better home teacher?

As you discuss the idea that a good home teacher cares about the individual family members he home teaches, make a list on the chalkboard of the things he could do to show his concern. The list may include such things as recognizing birthdays and other special occasions, such as baptisms, talks in church, ordinations, blessings, and deaths; recognizing achievements in school, at work, at church, or in the community; and any other show of personal interest in them as individuals.

Discussion

  • As a home teacher, what should you teach?

Discuss the importance of being prepared with a meaningful message for the families you visit. Sources of messages include the scriptures, the First Presidency message in the Ensign or other talks by General Authorities, your priesthood leader, the bishop of your ward, and requests from the heads of the families you home teach.

  • Why is it important to prepare the message with each family you home teach in mind? (Each family deserves to have a message given to them that will be helpful and meaningful and fit their particular needs.)

Home Teaching Is a Priesthood Responsibility

Scripture and discussion

Explain that home teaching is not just a nice way to visit neighbors or help the bishop, but it is a revealed responsibility given by the Lord to those who bear the priesthood. Have the young men open their Doctrine and Covenants to section 20 and look at the introduction to that section.

  • When was this revelation given? (In April 1830, when the Church was being organized—right at the beginning.)

  • Who gave this revelation to Joseph Smith? (Jesus Christ.)

Remind the young men that Jesus Christ is head of the Church.

Have the young men read verse 38 and mark the words, “The duty of the … priests, teachers, deacons.” Then have them read verses 53 through 59 and mark the key words that relate to home teaching: warn, expound, exhort, teach, invite.

Give each young man a copy of the handout “Scripture Analysis,” and discuss the underlined words.

Activity

Put the five key words you underlined in verse 59 on the chalkboard. Then have each young man select one to talk about to the other young men. Each could answer a question like “How can I better prepare myself to (word he selected)?” or, “It is important for me as a home teacher to (word he selected), because …”

Give the young men two minutes to write down their first thoughts on a piece of paper. Then call on each of them to respond. If you have fewer than five young men, you will need to talk about the words they do not select. If you have more than five in your class, you may want to have more than one young man discuss some of the words so each gets a chance to participate.

Story

You may want to end your lesson with a true story of a home teacher who took seriously the responsibilities listed in verses 53 through 55. He had the privilege of visiting the home of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his family.

“I felt my weakness in visiting the Prophet and his family in the capacity of a teacher. I almost felt like shrinking from [my] duty. Finally I went to his door and knocked, and in a minute the Prophet came to the door. I stood there trembling, and said to him:

“‘Brother Joseph, I have come to visit you in the capacity of a teacher, if it is convenient for you.’

“He said, ‘Brother William, come right in, I am glad to see you; sit down in that chair there and I will go and call my family in.’

“They soon came in and took seats. He then said, ‘Brother William, I submit myself and family into your hands,’ and then took his seat. ‘Now, Brother William,’ said he, ‘ask all the questions you feel like.’

“By this time all my fears and trembling had ceased, and I said, ‘Brother Joseph, are you trying to live your religion?’

“He answered ‘Yes.’

“I then said ‘Do you pray in your family?’

“He said ‘Yes.’

“‘Do you teach your family the principles of the gospel?’

“He replied ‘Yes, I am trying to do it.’

“‘Do you ask a blessing on your food?’

“He answered ‘Yes.’

“‘Are you trying to live in peace and harmony with all your family?’

“He said that he was.

“I then turned to Sister Emma, his wife, and said ‘Sister Emma, are you trying to live your religion? Do you teach your children to obey their parents? Do you try to teach them to pray?’

“To all these questions she answered ‘Yes, I am trying to do so.’

“I then turned to Joseph and said, ‘I am now through with my questions as a teacher; and now if you have instructions to give, I shall be happy to receive them.’

“He said ‘God bless you, Brother William; and if you are humble and faithful, you shall have power to settle all difficulties that may come before you in the capacity of a teacher.’

“I then left my parting blessing upon him and his family, as a teacher, and took my departure” (William Farrington Cahoon, in “Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” Juvenile Instructor, 15 Aug. 1892, pp. 492–93).

Conclusion

Challenge

Challenge the young men to look for ways to become more effective home teachers. Suggest that the young men discuss the handout “Scripture Analysis” with their parents and their home teaching companion for ideas.

Note to adviser

The scriptures on the handout refer specifically to the duties of teachers in the Aaronic Priesthood. However, priests have all the duties of teachers and some additional ones, and deacons are to assist the teachers when called upon.