Our men’s group had a lesson on President Monson’s most recent article called “Learn of Me“. Below is an excerpt from the article that stood out to me and was a significant portion of our discussion:
In the Church, the goal of gospel teaching is not to pour information into the minds of God’s children, whether at home, in the classroom, or in the mission field. It is not to show how much the parent, teacher, or missionary knows. Nor is it merely to increase knowledge about the Savior and His Church.
The basic goal of teaching is to help the sons and daughters of Heavenly Father return to His presence and enjoy eternal life with Him. To do this, gospel teaching must encourage them along the path of daily discipleship and sacred covenants. The aim is to inspire individuals to think about, feel about, and then do something about living gospel principles. The objective is to develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to become converted to His gospel.
One of the members of our group made the comment that when he is teaching his son, he can tell when he is “pouring too much information” into his kid’s head when his son’s eyes glaze over and roll into the back of his head. He then knows that he needs to back off because effective teaching and learning isn’t happening.
This comment reminded me of a conference talk given by one of the members of the Quorum of the Seventy, Wilford W. Andersen, called “The Music of the Gospel“. Below are some quotes from the talk:
Dancing without music is awkward and unfulfilling—even embarrassing. Have you ever tried it?
We learn the dance steps with our minds, but we hear the music with our hearts. The dance steps of the gospel are the things we do; the music of the gospel is the joyful spiritual feeling that comes from the Holy Ghost. It brings a change of heart and is the source of all righteous desires. The dance steps require discipline, but the joy of the dance will be experienced only when we come to hear the music.
I thought about the things that we (my wife and I) do to teach our kids. We pray every day, read scriptures together, have weekly Family Night where we include scriptures and Church songs, attend Church weekly. Individually, we pray, read scriptures, serve in our community and Church. However, I’m always praying that my kids learn to feel the gospel and Christ’s love in their hearts so they have that as a foundation.
President Monson goes on to say:
Teachers who emulate the Savior’s example love and serve those they teach. They inspire their listeners with eternal lessons of divine truth. They live lives worth emulating.
It is interesting to think back on my childhood memories on how my parents influenced me. What is interesting is that we had frequent prayer, attended church usually, didn’t read too many scriptures together, but did have family night regularly. I’m sure that these experiences all added up and helped me in my life more than I realize. But what stands out to me are moments that my parents taught me lessons through their examples.
One example was when I was a young man around the age of 12. My parents were recently divorced and I was a very troubled child. I had been making some poor choices and was heading down a pretty bad path at an early age.
While I was visiting my Dad, I was sitting at the kitchen table, watching him make breakfast (he was the king of home made cinnamon rolls and I think it was something good like that, that he was making). As I watched him, I felt this overwhelming feeling of peace come over me and clarity in my mind. An impression from God through the Holy Spirit that it was critical that I change my living situation and move to live with my Dad and step-mom. I knew that the environment and living situation with a stable home where both parents were living the Gospel of Christ was where I needed-and wanted to be and I made the decision then and there, with the grace of God-to move in with my Dad.
That decision altered the course of my life and were it not for the example of my Dad and the grace of God, I am sure I would have had an even tougher road (life is never a bed of roses all the time) than I’ve had.
I’m curious to learn of your experiences with teaching and learning.
What experiences do you have with people teaching you the gospel and helping you feel it in your heart?
How do you effectively help your children and friends not only learn the dance steps, but hear the music as well?