Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lesson 2-5 "Home Environment"

Love the preparation suggestion #3 for this lesson - be sure, ladies, to "Make your classroom as attractive as possible for this lesson. Cover the table with a cloth and place a centerpiece on it." Giggle.

I think maybe I'll shoot for realism instead. I'll dump a basket of unsorted socks on the floor, scatter some cracker crumbs and potato chip wrappers, and place a pile of backpacks, shoes, coats, and homework folders right in front of the door to make it feel more like my home. Just kidding. Maybe.

For this lesson - "Each young woman will strive to create a home environment where the Spirit of the Lord can dwell" - a pretty straightforward goal, wouldn't you agree?

Yet there are so many ways to get there with a lesson like this!

You could go all practical - home organization, "House of Order" and similar scriptures, homemaking skills - because the Spirit recoils from messy houses (or something like that). Last year's Homemaking lesson might be a good place to begin if you feel you need to go that way. Just be aware that the next lesson has a VERY similar theme - #6 "Sharing Work in the Home" and right after that there is a four-lesson unit coming up called "Contributing to Family Life."

You could stay on the spiritual plane - perhaps using President Tanner's and Sister Cook's talks on how YW can nurture and spiritually strengthen their homes right now, and/or bringing in some of the material from Elder Bednar's Oct 09 talk on being more diligent and concerned at home - especially if you have a lot of girls who are from part-member families or who are the only member in their families. There's a lot they can do to be witnesses of God and strengths within their families. Just also be aware that #9 is a lot the same, "A Young Woman as a Peacemaker in Her Home."

You can blend the two - that there are spiritual dimensions to even the most mundane tasks of homemaking, and that spiritually nurturing homes have recognizable physical characteristics, the temple being the best model for this. Elder Stevenson's talk from May 09, "Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples" might be a good resource.

I think the end of this lesson would be a good time for a short brainstorm session about what life/home skills your girls are interested in learning, and calendaring some upcoming class activity to teach or learn those skills. You might be surprised what they don't know or what they are dying to learn how to do.

You also might be surprised that one person who can teach that skill is one of the girls themselves. A couple of weeks ago, sadly, we had a funeral in our ward for a young man in his mid-20s who died in a motorcycle accident. Our current bishop had been one of his quorum leaders when he was Priest-age and even back then this young man was really into cars, engines, motorcycles and was always fixing something up. One time when they were planning activities, the class wanted to learn about car maintenance. Well, the leader brushed this idea aside at first - since it wasn't something he knew anything about, he's not into getting under the hood of his car - but this young man spoke up: "Hey, I think that would be good. And I'll teach it." And he did. And it brought the quorum closer together and it gave this young man a chance to shine at the things he was good at and the other guys at the activity paid way more attention because it was someone their age teaching it. I've been thinking a lot about that story since then. I'm betting there are experts among our youth right under our noses, and kids who may need a chance to shine.


  1. "I'm betting there are experts among our youth right under our noses, and kids who may need a chance to shine."

    In my mind, isn't that the point of the entire youth program? That's why there are adult advisers, but they are the presidents. That's why youth committees have advisers.

    I really like the brainstorming activity. I think we might work on that for our boys.

  2. I am SOOOO going to do the "messy room" to start my lesson! What a great object lesson, then have them do a quick 2 minute clean up before we really get going on it. I kind of think (oops, Mormon Woman, thinking for herself, oh no! wink wink) they'll remember that longer than they'll remember a "tablecloth and centerpiece" (eyeroll here)

  3. I'm teaching this tomorrow and I think I'll use the case studies in the manual, plus a few I wrote myself, e.g. --

    Lindsey shares a room with her little sister, Whitney. They keep very different schedules and have totally different tastes and levels of cleanliness. It’s very frustrating to both of them.
    • What problems might these sisters be having?
    • Are there specific skills they could apply to make things better?
    • What could Lindsey do to set an example for her younger sister?

    Alyssa’s parents both work full time and she comes home before they do, fixes herself a snack and watches her favorite show before starting her homework. She has noticed that it gets very hectic at dinnertime, and sometimes there’s shouting and bickering about whose turn it is to set the table, help with dinner, or clean up the kitchen. Sometimes they even forget to say a prayer before eating and rushing off to evening activities.
    • How could Alyssa’s family solve this everyday stress?
    • What could Alyssa do differently, even without being asked?

    Lauren just got to college and she’s in a suite with 4 other women. Some of them pick up after themselves, some don’t, and there are usually dishes in the sink and dried food crusted on the stove. The inside of the fridge is a scary science lab. One of her roommates says, “No guys are allowed in the suite anyway, so who cares?”
    • What do you think is the spiritual atmosphere in that apartment?
    • What could Lauren do to improve the situation?

    Becca and Cody just got married and moved into their first apartment. Since they’re renting, they can’t change the awful wallpaper, shag carpet or dreary kitchen cupboards. But still, they want to make their home inviting to the Spirit and welcoming for themselves and their friends.
    • What strategies might work for Becca and Cody?
    • What skills do you think Becca and Cody might need to have, or develop, to make the kind of home they want?

  4. PS, I also altered the "Anna" story because I wanted to get across the point that home environment is not just a girl's responsibility.

    Ann’s brother often leaves the bathroom untidy and unclean. She complains daily of having to clean the dirty shower, of picking up his sweaty clothes, and of not being able to find what she needs. He seems to think cleaning is a girl’s responsibility.
    • How does the spiritual atmosphere in the home suffer because of her brother’s neglect of basic homemaking responsibilities?
    • What can Ann do in this situation?

  5. We just had ward conference and so we are already behind - I will be teaching this lesson tomorrow. Thanks for all the helps. I agree that each YW has something to teach/share, it is sometimes hard to draw it out of them. But when you do, everyone is rewarded.


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