Each young woman will seek to strengthen relationships with extended family members.
Prepare a copy of the questionnaire “Who Am I?” for each young woman. Provide pencils.
Display pictures of extended family members associating together.
Assign two class members to be prepared to share ways their family strengthens relationships with extended family members.
Assign class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.
Suggested Lesson Development
Ask each young woman to complete the “Who Am I?” questionnaire.
Who Am I?
Fill in the blanks that apply to you with as many names as you can.
I am the daughter of
I am the sister of
I am the sister-in-law of
I am the granddaughter of
I am the niece of
I am the cousin of
I am the aunt of
Explain that families are basically composed of parents and their children, but families also include other members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers’ and sisters’ spouses, nieces, and nephews. These other relatives are called extended family members and can greatly enrich our own family circles.
Ask the young women to count how many extended family members they wrote down. Point out that most people have many extended family members with whom they can cultivate lasting relationships.
We Should Strengthen Relationships with Extended Family Members
The scriptures give us examples of how extended family members have established strong relationships and shown great love and concern for each other. One example is Joseph who was sold into Egypt by his brothers. Joseph became a ruler in Egypt, and his brothers, who had betrayed him, came before him seeking help. They did not know that he was the brother they had sold many years before. It would have been easy for Joseph to seek revenge, but instead he promised to help not only them, but also their wives, sons, daughters, and all of his father’s family. (See Genesis 45; 47:11–12.) He was able to be a great blessing to all of his family.
Class member presentations
What can we learn from these people about how the Lord wants us to interact with extended family members?
Explain that we have been counseled in these latter days to cultivate close relationships with our extended family members. President Spencer W. Kimball said: “We ought to encourage our children to know their relatives. We need to talk of them, make effort to correspond with them, visit them, join family organizations, etc.” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1974, p. 161; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 112).
Why do you think it is important that we know our relatives?
Emphasize the following points: (1) The love of our extended family members can make us feel secure and give us a sense of belonging. (2) We have a responsibility to help our extended family members and should know their needs so we can assist when necessary. (3) We can better research family history and provide names of other family members for temple work if we work as an extended family.
We Can Strengthen These Relationships in Many Ways
Explain that it is easy to say we are too busy, too far away, or too uninterested to strengthen our relationships with extended family members. But given a little creativity and time, we can do things with extended family members that will become some of our choicest memories.
Class member presentations
Ask the two assigned young women to share with the class ways in which their families strengthen relationships with extended family members.
What are other ways we can strengthen these relationships?
Answers might include family reunions; family newsletters; working together on family history; establishing or joining family organizations; inviting extended family members to birthdays, baptisms, and weddings; working together to serve a family member; helping family members in times of emergency or crisis.
Explain that one way to strengthen extended family relationships is to plan an enjoyable or recreational event that will draw family members together. Such activities could include picnics, birthday celebrations, vacations together, or just visits to one another’s homes.
What activities have you enjoyed with your extended family?
Another way to strengthen extended family relationships is through correspondence, as shown in this story about a young woman and her grandmother.
Nancy wanted to give her grandmother something special for her birthday. Nancy had lived close to her grandmother until her last year of high school, but then her family had moved away. Now Nancy saw her grandmother much less than before. Nancy decided to write a letter to her grandmother in which she recorded all the special memories they had shared. She expressed her love, appreciation, and thankfulness. Her grandmother was so thrilled that she wept with joy. Since then she has told Nancy many times how much the letter meant to her. She has read and reread the letter and even sent copies of it to several family members.
Why do you think the grandmother responded as she did? What could you do to create this kind of closeness with your grandparents or other family members?
Extended Family Relationships Bring Blessings
Explain that almost anyone who has been away from home, family, and relatives for an extended time soon realizes the many benefits of strong family relationships. It is easy, however, to take these benefits for granted if they are always around us.
Activity and discussion
Some of the young women in the class may leave home in the next few years for school or work. Ask all of the class members to imagine that they have left home and are not near any extended family members. Ask them to name some of the things they might miss most about being close to these family members. (Some of their answers might include family dinners, a close friendship with a cousin, holding a newborn niece or nephew, talking to a favorite aunt, riding an uncle’s horses, seeing a grandma’s cheery smile and eating her good cooking, and games, parties, and celebrations shared together.)
Explain that whether we live close to extended family members or live away from them, we should value and nurture the many blessings they bring into our lives.
Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone told how his great-grandmother had a great influence on his aunt:
“I have a sweet Aunt Beryl Hollindrake. She told me that when she was just three or four years old that my great-grandmother, her Grandmother Featherstone, would hold her on her lap and tell her about the Savior, all the beautiful stories. Then she would recall how my great-grandmother would tell her about the Savior’s trial and how they beat him and cursed him and spit upon him—how they dragged him and forced him against the cross and drove huge spikes into his hands cruelly. She said, ‘As my grandmother would tell me these stories, tears would stream down her cheeks.’ And she said, ‘It was on the lap of my grandmother that I learned to love the Savior with all my heart and soul’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1974, p. 39; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 30).
Has an extended family member strengthened your testimony of the gospel? In what way?
Remind the young women that extended family members truly are a blessing to them. They should follow the counsel given by their leaders and take the time and make the effort to strengthen these relationships. The relationships will enrich their lives and be a comfort and strength they can count on.
Ask the young women to choose an extended family member they wish to become closer to and use one of the ways discussed in the lesson to strengthen that relationship.