Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Why Do the Choices I Make Matter?" Lesson and Handout


I am a very kinesthetic learner, so when I teach I like to employ  a variety of different methods of teaching to increase the likelihood that the lesson will actually connect with each of the students.   I often create a simple worksheet to go along with the lesson--not to make it feel like school, but to give them a place to jot down answers and ideas throughout the lesson.  I have found that employing this simple idea has made our discussions more meaningful and made it easier for every person to be involved in the discussion.   Since they've already taken a few moments to write down their ideas, they're less likely to have been caught off-guard or feel put on the spot. 

For an attention getter at the beginning of the class, I taped a large 'V' onto the floor and told them to try to walk down both "paths" at the same time.   They could for a little bit, but eventually the "paths" got far enough apart that they could no longer keep a foot on each path.   They had to choose one or the other.   Then I asked them to go back to the beginning and pick the correct path, without telling them which one was correct.  They acted confused and each picked their own correct way…one of them even walking down the middle of the two.    

We then read this  quote from President Monson:  
Let us not find ourselves as indecisive as is Alice in Lewis Carroll’s classic "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland."  You will remember that she comes to a crossroads with two paths before her, each stretching onward but in opposite directions. She is confronted by the Cheshire cat, of whom Alice asks, “Which path shall I follow?”
The cat answers, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.”7Unlike Alice, we all know where we want to go, and itdoes matter which way we go, for by choosing our path, we choose our destination.
And read this scripture (Matthew 6:24):   
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
We talked about the importance of knowing our path before embarking on it and that while each individual's path in life will vary from the next person's, but  that in the end we should all have the final goal the same--eternal life.

Then they each filled out on the worksheet, some of the goals they had for their lives.

We then read Proverbs 3:5-6:
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall directthy paths."
 

We talked in more details about how to make choices and discussed President Monson's three "R"s of choice.

If you have time, you could have the girls write on the illustrated part of the worksheet things that they can do better at to help them reach their ultimate goal of eternal life.

Lastly we talked about the importance for making time to feel God's help and direction in our lives.  I showed them this picture and quote and talked about how easy it is fill our lives with things--not necessarily bad, but in the long run that are completely meaningless.   I encouraged them to allow themselves time to "Be still" and allow God's influence into their lives.  

I ended by bearing testimony of the importance of looking at the big picture, to not getting caught up in the day-to-day fluff and lose sight of what our end goal really is.  I encouraged them to go home and write some of their goals into their journals and what they would do to reach them.

I also emphasized that if we ever were to find ourselves on a wrong path in life, that  through Christ's atonement and the gift of repentance, that we can get back on the right path again.   It's easier to stay on the right path in the first place, but it's NEVER too late to change direction, and that God is always there with his arms outstretched to help us to find our way back again.







QUOTES ABOUT MAKING CHOICES:  

#1As I’ve contemplated the various aspects of choice, I’ve put them into three categories: first, the right of choice; second, the responsibility of choice; and third, the results of choice. I call these the three Rs of choice.  President David O. McKay, ninth President of the Church, said, “Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is God’s greatest gift to man.”1  We know that we had our agency before this world was and that Lucifer attempted to take it from us.
Next, with the right of choice comes the responsibility to choose. We cannot be neutral; there is no middle ground. The Lord knows this; Lucifer knows this. As long as we live upon this earth, Lucifer and his hosts will never abandon the hope of claiming our souls.
I speak of the results of choice. All of our choices have consequences, some of which have little or nothing to do with our eternal salvation and others of which have everything to do with it.   Whether you wear a green T-shirt or a blue one makes no difference in the long run. However, whether you decide to push a key on your computer which will take you to pornography can make all the difference in your life.”  Thomas S Monson


#2  “How do we make correct choices? A choice involves making a conscious decision. To make an intelligent decision we need to evaluate all available facts on both sides of an issue. But that isn’t enough. Making correct decisions involves prayer and inspiration.” 1  James E Faust

#3  And lastly, we must examine our motives. A good check and balance in decision making is to look at our motives for making our decisions. We should ask ourselves, “Are my motives selfish, or is there charity in the decision I am about to make? Is this decision in keeping with the commandments, both in the spirit and the letter of the law? Is my decision basically right, honorable, and compatible with the golden rule? Have I considered the impact of my decision on others?””  Robert D. Hales


#4  “And we do not need to achieve some minimum level of capacity or goodness before God will help—divine aid can be ours every hour of every day, no matter where we are in the path of obedience….
...beyond desiring His help {though}, we must exert ourselves, repent, and choose God for Him to be able to act in our lives consistent with justice and moral agency. My plea is simply to take responsibility and go to work so that there is something for God to help us with.”   Elder Todd Christofferson

#5  “The Lord has given us a spiritual safety net that can strengthen decision making. That support may come through many means, including a patriarchal blessing, counsel from parents, a father’s blessing, a bishop’s counsel, prayer, temple worship, scripture study, and conversation with faithful friends. However such support comes, it is usually accompanied by the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.”

Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Why should I treat my body like a temple?" lesson helps




Why should I treat my body like a temple?:
#1--    ”The primary blessing that comes from obedience to the Word of Wisdom is spiritual in nature, not necessarily physical.   Certainly, we all recognize the physical benefits of adhering to the lifestyles and dietary guidelines contained in the Word of Wisdom.  But please notice how {it is} emphasized that the link between what we take into our bodies and our ability to receive spiritual communication.  And secondarily the Word of Wisdom also produces physical benefits.  Just as only worthy persons are permitted to enter into the house of the Lord, so we should likewise be careful to take into our bodies only those things that will positively affect us both spiritually and physically. “   Elder David A. Bednar


#2--  “The body that has been given to us was for the purpose of allowing the spirit to exalt itself to a nobler condition. The lightning that is seen flashing from cloud to cloud, from mountain top to mountain top, is an electrical force that may tear down buildings, set fire to property, and destroy life. Conduct electricity through the dynamo wire, and motor, and behold its wonderful results working for the service of man, accomplishing something under the control of a physical instrument, it thus becomes a power for good. So with steam, if allowed to evaporate freely it does little good, but restrain it in the boiler, send it through the engine, and under its power you may travel across the continent or sail from shore to shore. And so, too, with this highest, most potent of all spiritual forces, the intelligence that is in man; enshrine it in a spiritual body, that it may have the experiences of spiritual life; and then give it a physical body, that it may enter into and obtain the joy and experiences of physical life, and you have enlarged its powers immeasurably” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1912, 107).


#3-- “Satan learned these same eternal truths about the body, and yet his punishment is that he does not have one. Therefore he tries to do everything he can to get us to abuse or misuse this precious gift. He has filled the world with lies and deceptions about the body. He tempts many to defile this great gift of the body through unchastity, immodesty, self-indulgence, and addictions. He seduces some to despise their bodies; others he tempts to worship their bodies. In either case, he entices the world to regard the body merely as an object. In the face of so many satanic falsehoods about the body, I want to raise my voice today in support of the sanctity of the body. I testify that the body is a gift to be treated with gratitude and respect.”   Susan W.  Tanner


#4--  "When we become other-oriented, or selfless, we develop an inner beauty of spirit that glows in our outward appearance. This is how we make ourselves in the Lord’s image rather than the world’s and receive His image in our countenances. President Hinckley spoke of this very kind of beauty that comes as we learn to respect body, mind, and spirit. He said:
“Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth” (“Understanding Our Divine Nature,” Liahona, Feb. 2002, 24; “Our Responsibility to Our Young Women,” Ensign,Sept. 1988, 11).
#5--  “We are not less, but more like Heavenly Father because we are embodied. I testify that we are His children, made in His image, with the potential to become like Him.   Let us treat this divine gift of the body with great care.”     Susan Tanner



Saturday, January 24, 2015

"Who Am I, and Who Can I Become?" YW Lesson



 PREPARATION:  
Gather actual seeds (or pictures of seeds and pictures of what they'll grow to be)--see below
Gather baby pictures of as many of the girls as you can. 
Gather a list of each girls' divine qualities and be prepared to share it with them during the lesson (either verbally or typed out as a list)
Be ready to play or sing, "I am a Child of God" and "My Heavenly Father Loves Me"

LESSON:

Intro: Ask the girls if they remember anything about nursery or if they’ve ever had a chance to help on a Sunday?

Talk about what it's like teaching nursery.
(Lessons are short, simple, and have lots of pictures and music!)    

Today’s lesson will be modeled on a nursery lesson.

SEED ACTIVITY:
Show seeds and have them guess what they will grow to be. Show them pictures of what they will be like when they are fully grown.
 



SHOW THEM BABY PICTURES (ideally of themselves): 
Ask what they will grow to be. 

Ask them some characteristics that they’ve INHERITED from their parents.  

Ask what similarities and differences there are from person to person in this world.

What is the same?

Sing, “I am a Child of God

If you are a child of God, doesn’t it stand to reason that they’ve also inherited characteristics from our Heavenly parents, just as we’ve inherited qualities from our earthly parents.

Discuss CHARACTERISTICS we’ve inherited from Heavenly Father. If you have prepared in advance, this would be a great time to present to them a list of divine characteristics that you've noticed in each of them. If you had a mature group of girls who would take the task seriously, you could also have them share divine characteristics they've noticed in each of their classmates.


IDENTITY THEFT:
Ask someone to summarize what identity theft is.

I don’t know if you all you knew this, but did you know that Satan is in the identity theft business?   He’s not stealing credit card numbers and trying to Relate to Satan’s task to have us forget who we are and what our potential is.  

How does Satan try to steal our identity?  

Ask for ideas...    (people who bring us down, media influences, etc.)

Read QUOTE.

"We  know that Satan is totally dedicated to thwarting and derailing this marvelous plan-of-happiness knowledge and process. We know that one of his primary tools is to entice us to forget who we really are—to fail to realize or to forget our divine potential. This is the cruelest form of identity theft.
How does Satan do it? He is quite straightforward and predictable. First, he attempts to prompt doubts in our minds about our divine potential. He even cultivates doctrine in the world implying we are much less than we really are. He undermines our faith—and thus our confidence—in our ability to achieve our potential. He strives to bring us to a mind-set in which we believe that we, individually, are not good enough to ever achieve our celestial goals."  Elder Robert C. Oaks

HOW DOES NOT UNDERSTANDING WHO WE ARE AFFECT OUR LIVES?

SHOW BABY pictures again.  

Who of these is a child of God?  WAIT FOR ANSWERS

You are.  And so am I. And so are your parents, and so is that annoying girl from your math class, and that mean guy on the bus, etc.  

Ask them to imagine a world where everyone truly understood that concept.  It would affect not only how we view ourselves, but also how we view and treat others.   Truly this world would be a totally different place.   I believe that it would be the cure to all of life’s ills.


STRUGGLES:
 Have you ever noticed that when you read a book or watch a movie, that they all have some problem they have to overcome. It got me to thinking and I realized that ALL stories, whether they be fairy tales, modern stories, or REAL LIFE have trials.  We all have struggles in life.  

When I was young I didn’t realize this fact.  I had this notion that all you had to do was live righteously and God would bless you with a relatively easy and blessed life.  haha.  I am living proof that just because you’re living the gospel, doesn’t mean that life will be easy or without struggle.  He doesn’t bless us with an easy life, but rather with strength and the tools to overcome and find joy in the journey.  

Elder Uchtdorf said, “It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.”  

Sing, “My Heavenly Father Loves Me.”
Closing prayer:









 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thoughts on Motherhood

It was over nineteen years ago, but I still remember well those first exhausted moments after the birth of my first child.   I snuggled him in my arms, so excited to meet him finally, and my heart was filled with a mixture of joy, awe, and  pure panic.  Mostly though I daydreamed about the future of our little family and I couldn’t wait to get to the bedtime stories, sloppy toddler kisses,  and the cookie baking.

 It didn't take too long though before motherhood started to get a little more complicated.  There were still the joys of sleepy snuggles, contagious baby giggles,  and the excitement of watching them grow and progress. But with those joys also came the challenges of painful ear infections,  toddler tantrums, and juggling the needs of two, then three, then four, then five children.  

Each of the five children that has come to our family has brought with them their own unique personality and set of joys and challenges.    I expected the zits and the hormones and the homework woes as they grew older, but having a child face an aggressive form of cancer and another child with frequent seizures definitely were not things I dreamt about  when I gazed  into the eyes of each our newborn children.   

I think each of us knows deep down inside that whenever life is overwhelming, we can turn to God and He will be there.   Sometimes, though,  when life is smoother sailing we let God slip to the back burner in the busyness that consumes our  day-to-day lives.  

I’ve shared this experience with you before, but  I think back to that morning in January almost three years ago.  I  was preparing a sacrament meeting talk and spent a couple of hours that day studying the scriptures and reading general conference talks.  Sometime during that study time,  I  suddenly became  so overwhelmed with the absolute knowledge that God loved me personally and was aware of me and family.  At the time I had  no  reason to think that that day would be any different than any other.  Yet God knew.  He knew the storm that laid before us and he, in a very real way,  spiritually prepared me for the earth shattering phone call we received just a few hours later that my sixteen-year-old son had leukemia.   And the news that came just a couple days after that that Glen had been laid off from his job.    

I often think back to that day and wonder how different those next several months could have been if I had not taken the time that morning to allow myself to listen to the message that God wanted me to hear.    What if I had skipped my scripture study and prayer time, as sometimes happens on busy days, and gone straight to chores and errands instead?   I have no doubt that eventually I still would have felt that comforting message, but how grateful I am to have had that comfort in my heart  from the earliest moments of that very difficult time in our lives.   

Elder Bednar said in a recent conference:  
"We are not and never need be alone. We can press forward in our daily lives with heavenly help. Through the Savior’s Atonement we can receive capacity and “strength beyond [our] own”  1

I testify that many times in our lives we have felt that strength beyond our own that comes from the Savior’s atonement.  

Elder Bednar continued ,
“There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, “No one knows what it is like. No one understands.”   But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power. Indeed, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. 1

I write this from the perspective of a mother, but  what a powerful message to each of us.  Whether we be a woman, man, teenager, or child...this message is universal.  God is with us.  He wants to take your burdens upon him.  We have but to find the quiet moments in our lives that we can turn our hearts to him and truly listen.   And as mothers (and fathers) we have a very real opportunity to help create those moments for our families.  

This quote from Sister Beck that illustrates this point perfectly:  

Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power. 2
How is easy it is to get caught up in trying to do more, to compare ourselves with others, and to let the meaning of our lives get lost in filling the slots on the calendar….when truly all we really need is less!   

A study at Harvard followed subjects for 75-years and found that future success and fulfillment  in life is not predictable based on income, intelligence, or education level, but rather on the positive connections an individual has with their families.  We would do better to eat dinner together as a family daily than to sign our kids up for yet another “enriching” activity that takes them away from home and will likely bear no impact on their future lives .  3

I will close today by inviting each of  us to remember the example of  Mary--the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.  She knew from the beginning that her son was the son of God and had a glorious mission to fulfill and yet she did not allow that knowledge to overwhelm her into complacency.  She embraced her role as mother and loved him and taught him and helped raise him to be the Savior of the World.  

Even in the final moments of Christ’s life he spoke of his mother.  He never forgot, even in His anguish, the woman who cared for Him even before she could hold Him in her arms—the earthly mother who had prepared Him for a divine mission. 4



*******************************************************
Resources

1.  Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease by David A. Bednar

2.  Mothers Who Know by Julie Beck

3. The 75-year study that found the secrets to a fulfilling life:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/11/how-this-harvard-psycholo_n_3727229.html

4.  Motherhood

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Teaching the Character Trait of Perseverance / Determination / Grit

In our homeschool this year, we are spotlighting a character trait each month. A couple days a week for an entire month we will read a story or watch a video and discuss that character trait in greater detail. The idea is that by talking about it, seeing it in action, and reinforcing it all month, that the concepts will really start to sink into their souls.  

One of the first character traits we are talking about this year is that of determination, which is something that I very much would like for my kids to develop. We live in a world where getting distracted and making excuses for our shortcomings is all too easily accepted and I think it is a valuable skill in life to be able to face challenges head-on instead of allowing ourselves to quit at the first sign of challenge or difficulty. Below you will find some of the resources I've gathered to help teach this trait during the month. I would love to hear any ideas or resources you would recommend as well, so feel free to leave those in the comments.



VIDEOS:

*Mormon Messages: about how hard work and determination can make a difference



*Short video about persevering:



SHORT STORIES:

*Aesop's Fables:The Hare and the Tortoise (online version)--about the value of pushing forward, even when the odds are stacked against you

*Aesop's Fables: The Crow and the Pitcher (online version)--about continuing to try, even when it seems hopeless and also about sometimes having to think outside the box and searching for less obvious solutions

*Nephi getting the plates (the first section of this seminary lesson is perfect to tie it all together)

Here's a short video about Nephi getting the plates


BOOKS:

*The Value of Determination: The Story of Helen Keller

*Story of Abraham Lincoln and the incredible odds he overcame to become president of the US (Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln is a good book)


ENRICHMENT ACTIVITY:  

visit a ropes course together as a family
A good ropes course will have different levels of challenges that can get progressively more difficult as children gain confidence and experience. Additionally many ropes course employees are willing to work in inspirational thoughts or scriptures to their activities and/or create situations where cooperation and perseverance is required.


PARENT RESOURCES 

*A book that is a  good resource for parents: How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character


*This is a  short TED talk about the importance of grit in students' success in school.  I really liked the recommendation to teach kids about how the brain is not a stagnant organ, but that its capacity actually grows  as we use and challenge it.  

QUOTES

“Perseverance means to continue in a given course until we have reached a goal or objective, regardless of obstacles, opposition, and other counterinfluences...Perseverance is a positive, active characteristic...It gives us hope by helping us realize that the righteous suffer no failure except in giving up and no longer trying.”
― Joseph B. Wirthlin


“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saing, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”
--Mary Anne Radmacher


Friday, June 13, 2014

Women and the Priesthood: Quotes and Resources

With all the controversy that's been going on with women and priesthood recently, I had been a little concerned about the difficult questions that the YW might have as we taught the lessons about the priesthood through the month of June.    Then with everything coming to a head this past week, and our ward being the very epicenter of it all (since the founder of OW has lived in our ward for a number of years), I knew that there was no way to avoid facing the controversy head-on.      This study guide, with quotes and resources, was created by a member of my presidency to be a guide for us to use as we prepare our lessons over the next few weeks.    Click here to see resource pages for other potentially difficult topics (with more to come).

Quotes
"A man may open the drapes so the warm sunlight comes into the room, but the man does not own the sun or the light or the warmth it brings." 
Elder Neil L. Andersen, Oct. 2013 General Conference  (This one is my favorite!!)

"Elder Dallin H. Oaks cautions us in our references to the priesthood: 'While we sometimes refer to priesthood holders as "the priesthood," we must never forget that the priesthood is not owned by or embodied in those who hold it. It is held in a sacred trust to be used for the benefit of men, women, and children alike.' 
[Daughters in My Kingdom]" Sister Linda K. Burton, "Priesthood: 'A Sacred Trust to Be Used for the Benefit of Men, Women, and Children,'" 2013 BYU Women's Conference

"Priesthood authority functions in both the family and the Church. The priesthood is the power of God used to bless all of His children, male and female. Some of our abbreviated expressions, like “the women and the priesthood,” convey an erroneous idea. Men are not 'the priesthood.' Priesthood meeting is a meeting of those who hold and exercise the priesthood. The blessings of the priesthood, such as baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, the temple endowment, and eternal marriage, are available to men and women alike." 
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "Priesthood Authority in the Family and the Church," Oct. 2005 General Conference

"Can you imagine how dark and empty mortality would be if there were no priesthood? If the power of the priesthood were not upon the earth, the adversary would have freedom to roam and reign without restraint. There would be no gift of the Holy Ghost to direct and enlighten us; no prophets to speak in the name of the Lord; no temples where we could make sacred, eternal covenants; no authority to bless or baptize, to heal or comfort…. There would be no light, no hope—only darkness." 
Elder Robert D. Hales, "Blessings of the Priesthood," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 32–34

"In our Heavenly Father’s great priesthood-endowed plan, men have the unique responsibility to administer the priesthood, but they are not the priesthood. Men and women have different but equally valued roles. Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman. In other words, in the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by husband and wife. And as husband and wife, a man and a woman should strive to follow our Heavenly Father." 
Elder M. Russell Ballard, "'This Is My Work and My Glory,'" Apr. 2013 General Conference 
   
"Do not spend time trying to overhaul or adjust God’s plan. We do not have time for such. It is a pointless exercise to try and determine how to organize the Lord’s Church differently. The Lord is at the head of this Church, and we all follow His direction. Both men and women need increased faith and testimony of the life and the Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ and increased knowledge of His teachings and doctrine. We need clear minds so that the Holy Ghost can teach us what to do and what to say. We need to think straight in this world of confusion and disregard for the things of God." 
Elder M. Russell Ballard, "Let Us Think Straight," Campus Education Week Devotional, Aug. 2013

"We know so little...about the reasons for the division of duties between womanhood and manhood as well as between motherhood and priesthood. These were divinely determined in another time and another place. We are accustomed to focusing on the men of God because theirs is the priesthood and leadership line. But paralleling that authority line is a stream of righteous influence reflecting the remarkable women of God who have existed in all ages and dispensations, including our own." 
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, "The Women of God," Apr. 1978 General Conference



“It is the unique responsibility of men to act as God’s agents or legal administrators in representing him on earth. … It is this authority which a woman cannot ‘hold.’ Her ‘priesthood’ callings are not elder, bishop, seventy or apostle—but wife, mother, teacher and comforter. These are at least as important and demanding as any of those exercised by men. In honoring these callings, she becomes a true ‘helpmeet’ of ‘Adam’ in his labors in the field." 
Rodney Turner, Woman and the Priesthood, Deseret Book 1973 

"Wives and mothers possess ‘a function as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the Priesthood itself." 
Pres. J. Reuben Clark, as quoted in Rodney Turner, Woman and the Priesthood

“Do they [women] hold the priesthood? Yes, in connection with their husbands and they are one with their husbands, but the husband is the head.”


Pres. John Taylor, as quoted in Rodney Turner,Woman and the Priesthood

By divine design, Heavenly Father gave men and women different gifts and abilities to help them fulfill complementary roles as husband and wife. “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. … Fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129).

As stated in the proclamation, fathers and mothers are equal partners, each with different responsibilities and roles. Therefore “equal” does not mean “same” in this sense. Think of an old fashioned balancing scale, where you place items on either side of the scale until each side is balanced and equal. You could for example put a pound of gold on one side and a pound of jelly beans on the other side. They are equal in weight, but still very different from each other. Such are the God given roles of men and women, equal, but different.


Full and equal partnerships. Men and women joined together in marriage need to work together as a full partnership. However, a full and equal partnership between men and women does not imply the roles played by the two sexes are the same in God’s grand design for His children. As the proclamation clearly states, men and women, though spiritually equal, are entrusted with different but equally significant roles. These roles complement each other. Men are given stewardship over the sacred ordinances of the priesthood. To women, God gives stewardship over bestowing and nurturing mortal life, including providing physical bodies for God’s spirit children and guiding those children toward a knowledge of gospel truths. These stewardships, equally sacred and important, do not involve any false ideas about domination or subordination. Each stewardship is essential for the spiritual progression of all family members, parents and children alike.
Elder M. Russel Ballard


Something to Remember


When in doubt, teach doctrine, bear testimony: "A few years ago, my husband and I were invited to a gathering of many experienced Church leaders. A new presiding officer had recently been called, and at the end of the meeting a very difficult and contentious question was asked. Realizing the difficulty of answering the question, my husband and I immediately offered up our sincere prayers to Heavenly Father for this new leader. As he came to the pulpit to respond to the question, I witnessed a visible change in his countenance as he stood majestically, squared his shoulders and spoke with the power of the Lord. His response was something like this: "Brother, I do not know the answer to your question. But I will tell you what I do know. I know that God is our Eternal Father. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and was the instrument through which the power of the priesthood was restored to the earth. I know the Book of Mormon is true and contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know we have a living prophet today who speaks for the Lord to bless our lives." He then continued, "No, I do not know the answer to your question, but these things I know. The rest I take on faith. I try to live this simple statement of faith I learned years ago from Sister Marjorie Hinckley, who said, ‘First I obey, then I understand.’"
  Linda K. Burton, "Priesthood: 'A Sacred Trust to Be Used for the Benefit of Men, Women, and Children,'" 2013 BYU Women's Conference

Object Lesson  
Bring two objects that are used together to accomplish a common goal (like a pencil and paper or hammer and nail). Invite the young women to explain the differences between the objects and how they are used together. Explain that men and women are given different responsibilities that complement (or “complete”) each other to bring about God’s purposes. Invite the young women to describe some of the ways men and women complement each other.


Links
Blessings of the Priesthood/Priesthood Power and Authority
"Blessings of the Priesthood," Elder Robert D. Hales, Oct. 1995 General Conference,https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1995/10/blessings-of-the-priesthood?lang=eng

"'This Is My Work and My Glory,'" Elder M. Russell Ballard, Apr. 2013 General Conference,https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/this-is-my-work-and-glory?lang=eng

"Power in the Priesthood," Elder Neal L. Andersen, Oct. 2013 General Conference,https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/power-in-the-priesthood?lang=eng

Priesthood: "A Sacred Trust to Be Used for the Benefit of Men, Women, and Children," Sister Linda K. Burton, 2013 BYU Women's Conference,http://ce.byu.edu/cw/womensconference/pdf/archive/2013/lindaBurtonTalk.pdf

"The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood," Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Apr. 2014 General Conference,https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/the-keys-and-authority-of-the-priesthood?lang=eng

2013 Worldwide Leadership Training: Strengthening the Family and the Church through the Priesthood, https://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/the-power-of-the-priesthood-in-the-family/priesthood-power-and-priesthood-authority?lang=eng

Women and the Priesthood
"Let Us Think Straight," Elder M. Russell Ballard, Campus Education Week Devotional, Aug. 2013,http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=2133&cid=NEApr14

"Young Women and the Blessings of the Priesthood," Diane L. Mangum, New Era, May 1993,https://www.lds.org/new-era/1993/05/young-women-and-the-blessings-of-the-priesthood?lang=eng

"Why don’t women hold the priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? How do Mormon women lead in the Church?" Mormon.org question forum,http://www.mormon.org/faq/women-in-the-church

Lesson 13: "Women and the Priesthood," The Latter-Day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part Ahttps://www.lds.org/manual/the-latter-day-saint-woman-basic-manual-for-women-part-a/women-in-the-church/lesson-13-women-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng

Roles of Women
"The Moral Force of Women," Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Oct. 2013 General Conference,https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/the-moral-force-of-women?lang=eng

"The Women of God," Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Apr. 1978 General Conference,https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1978/04/the-women-of-god?lang=eng

"To the Women of the Church," Pres. Howard W. Hunter, Oct. 1992 General Conference,https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1992/10/to-the-women-of-the-church?lang=eng

"A Woman's Perspective on the Priesthood," Sister Patricia T. Holland, 1980 BYU Women's Conference, https://www.lds.org/ensign/1980/07/a-womans-perspective-on-the-priesthood?lang=eng