I was terrified when I first received the assignment to teach these young women. I was used to teaching five year olds who thought I was hilarious. I didn’t really know how to present information to teenagers without using visual aids, songs, and drawing names of participants out of a jar. I’m not like my husband either when it comes to preparing lessons. He can read about a topic in 15 minutes, think of some good thought provoking and discussion building questions, and present an amazing inspired lesson. I, on the other hand, pour over the lessons for hours, and still feel inadequate to present the material. I also am always trying to add an extra touch. I get so worried that my lessons won’t be interesting, so I like to add attention grabbers, handouts, activities, opportunities for everyone to participate, and multimedia clips. This takes time to plan of course, but I remember that when I was in the young women’s shoes, I really appreciated the extra “spark” that the teachers put into their lessons.
For the last year or so I have had the responsibility of teaching the young women at our church. The girls ages 12-18 and a few other leaders meet for an hour every Sunday to be instructed and uplifted. The topics that I teach vary from topics such as sacrifice, communication, family history, prayer, scripture study, physical health, developing talents, and missionary work.
The first month that I taught the young women, the lessons just hung over my head and I felt a pit in my stomach all morning on Sundays until the lessons were finally over. Happily, I really enjoy teaching now and I don’t get so nervous. The lessons still hang over my head a little bit as I struggle to find adequate time to prepare them each week, but I really love teaching these amazing young women! I look forward to our Sunday discussions instead of dreading that hour where I stand in front of them. They are so strong and courageous and have taught me so much more than I have taught them. These sparkly girls like to have fun and are such great examples to their siblings and their friends. They have become my friends and my babysitters. Since Troy has his own responsibilities while I’m teaching the lessons, the girls are so sweet to pass Nash around and allow me to focus without a baby in my arms. I am so glad that I can trust my children with these wonderful girls (with the added perk of them being my neighbors).
I am so glad for callings that stretch me out of my comfort zone. I am happy that I live and serve within a context that causes me to use attributes that I wouldn’t otherwise. I am glad to serve, rather than to be served. As I study the lesson material, I am reminded of good habits that I want to employ. As I develop teaching attributes, they become a more powerful part of me and spill over into other areas of my life.
I couldn’t attend all of the young women’s girls camp this week due to the logistics of putting babies in tents, but I am so glad that I got to join them on their final night. They had so much fun spending undivided, non-electronic time together and strengthening their testimonies. They each shared how they had grown, the goals they had for the future, and the love they had for each other and for the gospel. Now are those some stellar young ladies or what? If Blake and Nash were a few years older, I would definitely turn into a matchmaker. I am so proud of these girls and I’m so glad that we get to learn together each week.