My 3 Favorite Quotes from Come, Follow Me, March 2016

This month’s Come, Follow Me theme is my personal favorite! The atonement means so much to me. It’s taken on a new meaning, as I’ve been studying the lessons to prepare to teach. Three weeks ago, I had knee surgery. I was expecting it to be a fairly small deal. We were fixing one, maybe two things and I was told I would be able to walk right after my surgery. I woke up from surgery, facing a completely new set of circumstances.

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The surgeon came in to update me on how the surgery went. He held up three pages of pictures of the inside of my knee and said, “Well, I found about five things to fix in your knee.” He proceeded to walk me through the pictures and explain everything he had done. Bottom line, one of the procedures would take 6 months to heal and I would be going home on crutches with instructions to bear 50% of my weight on my bad leg. It was way worse than I had expected and planned for.

I’ve found a great deal of personal peace and comfort studying about the atonement, especially how it can bring us peace during our trials. The quote from Sister Marriott stands out to me the most. “Yielded and still” has become a mantra for my recovery, as my pace has slowed both literally and figuratively. Slowing down is not easy for me. I don’t know yet what the Lord is trying to tell me, but I know there’s much to be learned from this experience. I know that I’ve been showered with tender mercies, like being in almost no pain. I’ve been healing and recovering quickly. My physical therapists say I’m ahead of schedule in my recovery. I’ve been blessed with friends and neighbors who brought me meals, visited me, checked on me and have given more than I needed.

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As tough as it has been, and will be for a little longer, I already see that I will look back and see some really beautiful moments where I have felt the love of God, especially through my friends, family and neighbors.

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How has the atonement strengthened you? 

8 Reasons Every Church Instructor Should Learn How to Teach Come, Follow Me

I’m in the beginning of my fourth year teaching Come, Follow Me and I’ve never regretted the changes the Church has made to the new youth curriculum. It’s completely changed how I see teaching in the Church and has helped me to serve my young women better. I find myself wishing that more people taught Come, Follow Me- style lessons. Here are some of the reasons I wish we taught this way church wide.

8 Reasons Every Church Instructor Should Learn How to Teach Come, Follow Me

  1. It helps the instructor focus on the needs of the students. We have the opportunity every month to get feedback from our class or quorum presidencies and parents about which lesson outlines are needed the most. If we are meeting needs, the students are more likely to be engaged in the lesson and not checked out on their phones.
  2. I learn more when I teach this way. Seriously, the answers that come from my young women teach me.
  3. It’s a great way to truly teach by the Spirit.
  4. You will be more focused on spiritual preparation. It’s the spiritual preparation that helps us gain the influence of the Spirit to help us teach. This is what helps us teach effectively and truly meet needs. It also helps us know how to handle questions and concerns that are raised in the course of the lesson by our students. You do not have to be a gospel scholar to be a great teacher.
  5. The discussions can be so much deeper. Have you ever walked away from a lesson wishing the instructor hadn’t ended the discussion so they could move on?
  6. You are free to cover as little or as much material as you feel is right for the lesson. It may not make sense to cover all of the Plan of Salvation in one lesson. It may make more sense to split it over two lessons and discuss it with more depth.
  7. The lessons always end with an invitation to act. We should be doers of the Word, not just hearers!
  8. Come, Follow Me is coming to all church organizations. The change could happen as soon as 2017. Wouldn’t it be easier to start learning this now?

Do you wish every church instructor taught this way? Why? 

6 Easy, No-Fail Ways to Release Control to the Youth

Many of us are control freaks. We’ve done all of this before and we know how to do it. We think it would be easier if we did it ourselves. It’s so much more work when the youth are in charge. What if they don’t follow through?

6 Easy, No-Fail Ways to Release Control to the Youth

Any of that sound familiar to you? Did you hear yourself in any of those statements?

If you did, you’re not alone and it’s not to late to make some changes. Here’s my list of easy, no-fail ways to release control of the youth programs to the youth.

  • Let them choose the themes for youth conference, camps, New Beginnings, Young Women in Excellence and anything else that requires a theme.
  • Pair a youth up with a leader to plan meals for camps and youth conference. They plan the menu and the leader takes them shopping for the food.
  • Ask your class or quorum presidency for feedback on which Come, Follow Me lessons they feel are needed the most.
  • Have the youth fill out the schedule for camps and youth conference. The worst that can happen is you will either run out of time to do the planned activities or you will run out of activities. These problems are easily solved by having the group vote on which activities are most important to them or by giving them some free time. You can also review the schedule with them before the event and ask them to add more activities or cut some activities out.
  • At the end of your Come, Follow Me lessons ask your class if they would like to spend another week on the same topic or move on to another one.
  • Have the youth start choosing the activities. You can start by giving them 3 or 4 options that are acceptable to you and then eventually move to purpose-based planning.

If this is something that is hard for you to do. I encourage you to choose one and try it out for a month.

What easy, no-fail ways have you used to release control to the youth?

 

How to Prepare a Come, Follow Me Lesson Outline in 5 Minutes

One of the things I love about Come, Follow Me is how quickly my lesson plan comes together once I’ve finished studying. Most weeks, I’m able to put together a lesson outline in about 5 minutes. I think the reason that it works that way is that studying the lesson materials and praying about them and for the young women I teach is the most important preparation that I do.
With that in mind, I will share with you how I put my lesson outlines together so quickly.
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First, I start studying for next week’s lesson at least a week before I’m going to teach. I pace myself so that I finish all of the lesson materials by the Saturday before my lesson. If you want some tips on how to study, take a look at my post How I Study for a Come, Follow Me lesson.
Second, I pay attention to which lesson materials cause you me to feel the Spirit the most. What thoughts go through my mind as I am studying? It might be good to write these down.
Third, after I have studied all the lesson materials, I review the lesson outline. I pay close attention to teaching suggestions that involve the materials that caused me to feel the Spirit the most. If none of the suggestions work for me, I use the link for more teaching ideas in the left sidebar. I’ve found those very helpful at times when I’ve been stuck with how to teach!
Fourth, I write my lesson outline. I always follow the same pattern: follow up on last week’s assignment, introduce the lesson, teach the body of the lesson, find out what other questions they have, ask if they would like to spend another week on this lesson or move on, and finally select an assignment for them to work on during the week.
That’s it, folks! I keep it really simple. I think it’s also important to remember that if you’re feeling unsure about how to teach or what materials to teach from that it isn’t possible to choose wrong! There are only good, better or best choices with these lesson outlines.
Now, I would love to hear from you. What is your process for preparing a lesson outline?

5 Steps to Teaching Young Women about Pornography

This month with Come, Follow Me, I felt strongly impressed that I needed to spend some time talking about pornography with the young women I teach. Not an easy task and especially sensitive with Beehives. I cared a great deal about getting this lesson right. I also felt that the best way to protect them is to teach them skills that help them to protect themselves. Sheltering them from this has the potential to do more damage than talking about it.

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My goal was to empower them. Here’s what I did:

  • Contacted the parents of the girls I teach and told them I was planning on teaching a lesson that would cover the topic of pornography.
  • Asked for their thoughts and feelings on what their daughter might need to know about this.
  • Invited parents to be there for the lesson.
  • Taught the lesson with a focus on empowerment and that the atonement covers any sin we could commit or mistakes we can make. Repentance is always possible!
  • Followed up with a letter to the parents, letting them know what resources I used for the lesson and what resources are available to help them talk to their children about pornography.

What could have been an uncomfortable lesson turned out to be a very sweet experience. I think the thing that made the difference was the focus I placed on helping them to help themselves and how the atonement can help us, no matter what we’ve done.

Resources I used for my lesson:

True to the Faith: Pornography

Video: Pornography Addiction: Is there hope?

Video: What Should I do if I See Pornography?

Is this a topic you have discussed with your youth? How did it go? What did you find worked?

Would you like a copy of the letter I gave to parents? Please enter your first name and email in my sidebar and get it as part of my resource library.

 

 

 

5 Reasons I Love Come, Follow Me

Since the very beginning, I’ve been a huge fan of Come, Follow Me. It’s given me an opportunity to grow as a teacher in the gospel. This is my third year teaching it and it still hasn’t gotten old. Here are some of my reasons why:

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  1. It’s completely adaptable to the youth you teach. You are free to choose the lesson outlines that are the most needed and spend as much time as you need to on each one.
  2. It helps create a sense of group.
  3. It empowers youth to find answers to their questions.
  4. Youth start teaching the way they’re being taught, with open-ended questions and lots of participation.
  5. Youth feel more comfortable sharing opinions and thoughts in class and quorum presidency meetings because they see that their adult leaders listen to them.

What do you love about Come, Follow Me?

 

How I Study for a Come, Follow Me Lesson

how i study for a come, follow me lesson

When I started teaching Come, Follow Me, I discovered I had to change how I prepared for a lesson. I made this short video to show you how I study and my favorite tool I use. If you prefer to read the steps I take, scroll on past the video.

 

  1. I study all of the materials before looking at the rest of the lesson outline. It usually takes me about a week.
  2. I use Evernote to clip conference talks and other resources. I save them to a notebook titled Come, Follow Me and tag it with the lesson outline title.
  3. While in Evernote, I can highlight important parts and add in my own notes.
  4. All of my notes are saved for another time when I prepare a lesson or talk.

How do you study for a Come, Follow Me lesson? What tools do you use to help you?

Why and How to Get Feedback from Youth for Come, Follow Me

One of the things we are asked to do as Come, Follow Me instructors is to get feedback from the youth that we teach on which lessons are most needed each month. I think there are a few reasons for this:

  1. It helps class/quorum presidency members develop leadership skills.
  2. We get to use their right to revelation and inspiration for the needs of the class/quorum in unison with ours.
  3. It helps us develop an atmosphere where the opinions of youth matter.
  4. It helps us to better understand them and where they are in understanding the gospel.

Why and How to Get Feedback from Youth

I’ve had the opportunity to have two callings with the young women since we first started teaching Come, Follow Me. I was a young women president first and now I’m the second counselor in the young women presidency. Each calling has given me unique insights into how to collect feedback for the lessons and teach them. Here are a few of the ways I collect feedback to make sure we’re on track for what the youth want and need for lessons.

  1. Print out the list of lesson outlines for the month and take it to class presidency. I make one copy for each person who will be at the meeting and then I ask them to mark the four (or however many lessons you plan to teach that month)  outlines they feel will help them the most. When I was young women president, I let my secretary provide the copies and manage the lesson schedule.
  2. Take 5 minutes after class to review the lesson outlines with your class presidency, if you forget to do it in class presidency meeting.
  3. Ask at the end of every lesson if they would like to continue that day’s lesson or move on to the next lesson you were planning. Make sure you name which lesson outline is next. It can make a difference in how they answer you.
  4. At the end of every lesson, ask them what other questions they have about the topic you’ve discussed. This can also help you know what to teach the next week.

 

3 Ways to Contact Parents about Come Follow Me

When Come Follow Me first came out, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. In our discussions as a presidency, my secretary suggested that instead of trying to do it all at once, we do it in stages. One of the very last things I started to do is contact parents and get their feedback on which lesson outlines would help their daughters the most.

It took me almost two years to really get with the program, but I finally did. I now see what I’ve been missing. If nothing else, this is an opportunity to connect with the parents and treat them like the experts on their child and develop a trusting relationship with them. Parents can be a valuable partner in teaching the youth. They will have insights into their children that you won’t. You may also have insights into their child that they don’t. If you aren’t already, I strongly recommend you just try reaching out to one parent. There’s no right or wrong way, but here a few ways I’ve tried and what I’ve learned.

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Good– Contact the parents via email or social media and include the link and ask for which lessons their child needs the most. This is quick and easy, but doesn’t provide much connection.

Better– Print out the lesson outlines for the month and ask the parents to take a quick look at them while at church and tell you what they think. This is almost as quick and easy, but provides better connection than doing it electronically. The downside of this is that they have to be at church for you to do this.

Best- Print out the lesson outlines for the month and go visit them. It takes more time than the other two, but provides the best connection with the parents. It’s an opportunity to ask them what kind of questions their child asks about the gospel at home and tell them how their child is a strength to their class.

I honestly use all of these. I have one family that always seems to miss church when I want their feedback and some families that don’t have internet. Sometimes I ask via email or social media when I need a quick win.

What have you tried with contacting parents about Come Follow Me that has worked?