So, today the question is: Do I have to teach every lesson in the manual in the order they are printed?
At first, you would think so. In Relief Society, there is a set plan for which lessons are taught which weeks. And generally speaking, the ideal is that "anywhere you go in the church, the same lessons are taught every week" in Primary, Sunday School, Relief Society, and Priesthood quorums.
But what about the youth programs? Are we expected to hold to that ideal as well?
Actually, we are not. In the Introduction to Manual 3, it says:
Notice also that all topics should be covered at some time, but not every single lesson. The topics in the manual are the guidelines of what we need to be focusing on with our girls. Notice also these words:Lessons do not need to be taught in the order they appear in the manual, but all topics should be covered at some time during the year.
and also:Remember that you are teaching young women, not just teaching lessons. Pray for inspiration to help them reach their full potential as daughters of God.
Notice that the manual instructs you to "determine which lessons" will be best for your girls. You are not actually expected, or required, to teach every lesson. Nor are you required to teach them in order. These lesson "titles and objectives" are available for you to pick and choose from, a sort of lesson a-la-carte meal so you can pick those things which will most nourish your Young Women.When you have carefully considered the needs of your young women, study the lesson titles and objectives of each lesson to determine which lessons will best meet those needs. By planning well in advance, you can be sure that the young women will receive lessons in all units and that you will provide a complete, balanced curriculum.
I realize that for most of you, this decision is really up to your Young Women president. I feel like this is a great way to see the lesson manual, and allows us to work with the Spirit to determine what we teach the Young Women. If you feel the same, and if you feel comfortable, then perhaps you could point out that you "happened to notice this one part of the Manual Introduction..." and see what she says.
(Of course there are many people out there who simply appreciate knowing just what is expected of them, and to teach any other way than right through the lessons without much change to each lesson outline would completely rock their boats and throw off their routines. So it probably depends on your presidency whether or not you could bring this up. And if not, then of course you can do a lot of good with any lesson, no matter when it is taught!)
If you are in a position to plan, I just wanted to pass along one other thought I had. Looking at the stake calendar ahead of time would allow you to have several lessons together on the same topic without interruptions of stake conference or ward conference. You could also choose which lessons to have with all the YW together, and plan which Sunday would work well for that. (In many wards, all the YW meet together on Fast Sundays.)
Any thoughts from our readers? Have any of you ever taken this route with the manual before? Advice and suggestions for the rest of us that had never even noticed these lines in the Introduction?