Each young woman will seek to improve her associations with others.
Provide a pencil and paper for each young woman.
Assign young women to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.
Suggested Lesson Development
Poster and discussion
Explain that a famous seventeenth-century British poet and clergyman, John Donne, wrote a poem in which he said, “No man is an island” (Meditation 17). You may want to write this line on the chalkboard or display it on a poster. Ask the class members to discuss what the statement means to them.
Growth Comes through Associations with Others
Explain that needing other people is part of the Lord’s plan. We are sent to earth as part of families, totally dependent on others, and all through our lives we need the association of other people. God recognized this need when he placed Adam and Eve together in the Garden of Eden and said that it was “not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18).
In what ways are other people necessary to us? Let the young women discuss.
They may suggest that we depend on others for protection and survival (especially as infants and children), for teaching and training, for solving problems and accomplishing tasks, for loving and experiencing joy.
In what ways do other people help us grow?
Give each young woman a piece of paper and a pencil. Ask them to make a list of some of their accomplishments and talents.
After they have done this, ask individual class members to share some of the things on their lists. As a class, discuss how these accomplishments or talents were developed. Help the young women to see that although they have had to work to develop these talents, they could not have done any of them without the help of other people. For example, a young woman could not get an education without the help of parents, school boards, teachers, and taxpayers. She could not learn to paint, play a musical instrument, become skilled in a sport, or teach a class without someone to teach her. Even gaining a testimony depends partly on the teachings and examples of others.
Have the young women turn to and read Doctrine and Covenants 46:11–12. Explain that in these scriptures, the Lord is talking about spiritual gifts.
Does every person have a spiritual gift? Does everyone have all gifts?
Point out that the Lord has given each person spiritual gifts, and many of our gifts are different. He expects us to use the gifts we have to perfect our lives and bless the people around us. In this scripture, the Lord is telling us how much he wants us to share and grow with each other.
We Can Learn How to Improve Our Associations with Other People
Explain that the Lord wants us to learn how to enrich each other’s lives. But most people feel they are not as good as they want to be at developing meaningful and satisfying relationships with others. Point out that a person can learn the skills necessary to develop relationships.
What things can we do to improve our associations with others? Let the young women discuss, and write their suggestions on the chalkboard.
You may want to emphasize the following three ideas:
Be willing to reach out to others.
Do not criticize or judge others.
Pray for greater love.
Discuss these ideas in greater depth with the young women, using their ideas and the following suggestions.
Be Willing to Reach Out to Others
Ask the young women to think about the two or three most important and enjoyable relationships they have with others.
Have any of these relationships developed without your help and effort? What have you had to do to make these relationships good?
Explain that we must often be willing to reach out to others before we can develop friendships with them. We cannot sit and wait for them to come to us.
What are some reasons people are afraid to reach out to others and try to be their friend? (A person may be shy, afraid of what the other person will think, or too lazy to make the effort.)
What opportunities for growth might a young woman miss out on if she is too shy to reach out to others? (She might miss chances to share the gospel, to learn valuable lessons from others, to enjoy the happiness that can come only by being with others, or to participate in group activities.)
Explain that often a young woman can overcome shyness by concentrating more on other people than on her own feelings.
Ask the young women to think about the following situation:
Karen had just been called to be the president of her Young Women class. She had not gotten to know the young women in her class very well because she felt shy around anyone she did not already know. She felt overwhelmed by the responsibility she had to get to know the young women and help them. She was afraid they would think that she was a poor leader or not as good as they were.
What could Karen do to help her gain the courage to fulfill her responsibilities?
What might Karen miss if she does not overcome her feelings of shyness?
Do Not Criticize or Judge Others
Have the young women read Doctrine and Covenants 88:124. Point out the phrase, “Cease to find fault one with another.”
Why do you think the Lord has commanded us not to look for and think about the faults of others? (It is easier for us to love others and help them when we see their strengths rather than their faults; we do not know everything about other people and so are not in a position to judge their behavior; when we start looking for faults, we are not able to see the goodness in people.)
Read the following story to show how important it is not to criticize:
Martha asked Tanya if she had noticed how messy their other roommate, Paula, was. Tanya really hadn’t. But after Martha mentioned it, she did begin noticing. In fact, it really started bothering her. She realized soon, however, that her critical feelings about Paula were interfering with their friendly relationship.
Tanya thought to herself, “What a difference it makes when we try to lift others rather than pushing them down to make ourselves look better.” She found that just as she needed the love and support of others, others also need and want support from us.
Ask the young women to think of a time when they were critical of a friend. Then ask them to think of how they would feel if others looked at them as critically as they looked at this person. Do they expect others to be more merciful with them than they are with others?
Pray for Greater Love
Have the young women read Moroni 7:46–48.
What does Moroni say that charity is?
Why do you think we must pray to God for this love? (If we want to learn to love as Christ does, we must have his help in developing our abilities to love.)
How do you think it would help you if you prayed for the ability to love a specific person more?
The following stories illustrate ways in which we can develop stronger relationships with other people. After each story is read, ask the young women to discuss what the person in the story did to build the relationship.
“All the young women in our ward had gone to a mountain lodge for an overnight activity. Shelley was shy and uncertain, and she was attending the event for the first time. Some of us sat on the floor of the lodge that evening playing a game. Shelley had never played the game before. The other girls and I had played it often. I played with my usual vigor and excitement, eager always to make the best of each of my turns, my spirit of competition running high. After several turns around, I began to notice the quiet and thoughtful playing of Anne, one of the other young women. I soon became aware that she played cautiously to allow Shelley to make some advances, in an effort to let Shelley win rather than gaining every advantage for herself during her turn. As it turned out, Shelley did not win the game, nor did Anne or either of the other two girls who were playing. I won the game, and then afterwards realized I had learned a lesson that I have not forgotten: I don’t always have to play the game to win. I won the game, but I would have been happier if Shelley had.”
What does the story tell us about the person speaking? What does it tell us about Anne? What really matters when a group of people are playing a game?
One young woman named Diana will always appreciate what a good friend did for her without being asked during a critical period of her life. When she was seventeen, Diana became extremely depressed. Her depression was so severe that she eventually required medical attention. When her friend Rachel learned of this, she quietly made sure that she was available whenever Diana needed her. To this day Diana maintains that the phone calls, long walks, tennis matches, and lengthy conversations on a variety of subjects, including her illness, helped her return to full health and activity.
What special skills did Rachel demonstrate? What is Rachel’s reward for her efforts?
Explain that the Lord has given us each other so that we can help one another to grow and prepare for eternal life. We are all dependent on each other to become all that we can be.
Ask each young woman to make a list of ways in which she might improve one relationship in her life. Ask her to work on these items over the next weeks.