Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How can I find solutions to my challenges and problems?

I created this lesson and worksheet for a YW lesson, but easily adapted it to a Family Home Evening lesson for my family as well. It ended up being a very meaningful lesson for both groups.    

How can I find solutions to my challenges and problems?  
( from the Come, Follow Me YW curriculum)

Purpose: to teach us to turn to God when we face challenges and problems in our lives

*read through 1 Nephi 16 (the story of Nephi and the broken bow) and refamiliarize yourself with the details
*prayerfully study one or all of the following talks: Like a Broken Vessel (Elder Holland), Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority (Elder Scott), We Never Walk Alone (Pres. Monson), Of Things That Matters Most (Pres. Uchtdorf)
*make copies of one or more of those talks
*think of a story from your own life when you faced a problem. Be prepared to tell about the problem and some of the process you went through to resolve it. (Remember that you're looking to engage the student and help them to see themselves in that situation, so take care not to make the story too long or or too grandiose. I recommend about 3-5 minutes for this.)

Opening Song: "I Need Thee Every Hour," Hymns, page 98

Opening Prayer:  

Share a personal story about when you faced a difficult challenge and what you did to overcome it. I shared about when I was so poor as a college student I didn't know if I could continue going to school.

Ask the students (or your family) to each think of difficulty or challenge they've faced in their life and write it down on the worksheet.

Tell them that you're going to look at the story of Nephi and the broken bow in a minute, but ask them if they can think of any other examples from the scriptures where someone was faced with a difficulty. Take a few minutes and discuss their answers, which may include Joseph in Egypt, Moses, Nephi and his brothers going back for the brass plates, Abinadi, Joseph Smith, Samuel the Lamanite, Moroni, etc. In the discussion, focus on the process they went through to solve their problem. For example, if they say Abinadi as their answer. Ask what was the problem he faced? What did he do to solve it? (he went to the Lord and fulfilled what he was asked to do, then knew that beyond that it didn't matter what became of him)  

Review the story of Nephi and the broken bow (or have a student retell it), then have them list and share with the class first the things they can learn NOT to do when facing difficulties, then have them list the things the story teaches them they should do. Expound on answers as you feel inspired.  

1. Ask for help from trusted sources--like Nephi went to his father for guidance, sometimes we need to turn to trusted people in our lives to help us
2. Pray for answers 
3.  Be prepared to ACT on those answers 
4. Do something  productive (facing difficulties requires action) 
5. Be faithful

1. Let discouragement overwhelm you into not doing anything
2. Complain
3. Blame others
4. Harden your heart and get angry at God and others
5. Give up or run away from the problem

Have someone read QUOTE #4
  “Being self-reliant does not mean that I am alone as I try to finish and endure. It means that I have studied, prayed, and pondered as I work to gain confidence in my ability to gain wisdom (both spiritual and temporal) and that I use that wisdom to know when to rely on my own strength and testimony and when I turn to resources outside of myself to continue to grow and progress"

Share this story from Pres. Uchtdorf about ballpoint pens not working without gravity:  

"For example, it wasn’t long after astronauts and cosmonauts orbited the earth that they realized ballpoint pens would not work in space. And so some very smart people went to work solving the problem. It took thousands of hours and millions of dollars, but in the end, they developed a pen that could write anywhere, in any temperature, and on nearly any surface. But how did the astronauts and cosmonauts get along until the problem was solved? They simply used a pencil." (Pres. Uchtdorf)

Ask: Do we look too hard for complicated solutions or getting paralyzed by things that don’t matter? 

Have someone read QUOTE #3: “Solutions often come at us sideways. We don't often find solutions. They find us while we are doing some other task. If we are living the Sunday school answers, scripture study, prayer, service... (and allowing others to serve us) change happens. Your burdens can become manageable, as long as you don't wallow in a pity party. When in doubt serve others.” paraphrased from Jeffrey R. Holland
If you have time, pass out copies of some of the talks you read in preparation to teach this lesson.  
Have them briefly skim the talks for answers of what our church leaders teach us about facing our problems--prayer, scripture study, attend the temple, have FHE, go to church, etc. (have them write the answers on the worksheet)
(NOTE: If you don't have time to complete this exercise, summarize it for them. Tell them how all those talks, from all those church leaders essentially had the same simple guidance for us.)

Conclude: (DON'T SKIP) Just as a newborn baby recognizes the sound of its mother’s voice, because of its proximity to her while in the womb, we should be living our lives in such a way that God's voice is familiar to us. We gain this familiarity when we live those simple "PENCIL answers" we've known our whole lives. We don't need expensive, fancy answers, we simply need to draw near to God and listen.

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