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Maybe I'm paying more attention this year but every time I go to prepare one of these study guides for Ezra Taft Benson I keep thinking, "This is the perfect lesson for this month!" Ezra Taft Benson Chapter 14: Marriage and Family- Ordained of God doesn't disappoint. With the Supreme Court ruling, it is more important than ever to sustain the family and home. Not just sustain it but actively defend it. President Benson declared,
That is a very active statement. We must be going about strengthening families and preserving their very nature. This lesson would make a great Family Home Evening lesson for our children as that's a great place to start instilling these important values. Our homes can be sacred places where our children learn truths, gain testimonies, and figure out who they really are. It is our duty to make the homes a place where the Spirit can dwell and truths can radiate to the hearts of its members.
As I was researching articles to include in this week's study guide, I came across 2 great articles with a slightly different twists- one about being single and one about being afraid of marriage. These are both great articles that deserve some attention before you teach as each one of our situations is different. I personally grew up with divorced parents but have been happily married for almost 13 years. Understanding how we all come from different points of views, however, makes a big difference in the way we start to teach this lesson.
I love this marriage quote. It's the perfect reminder for our world today. I'm printing it out and hanging it in my room. It's good to remember that our marriage covenant wasn't just with our spouse but with God. That's why we don't just give up when everything seems so incredibly hard. We still work on fixing things and press forward. There are, of course, situations that are no longer good to live in and we do need to be sensitive to those as well. I do think, however, that too many think if marriage is not just hard but really gut wrenching hard that means it's okay to throw in the towel. With the perspective of having God in our marriage as well, prayer becomes a key part of deciding what to do next as well as when and how to fight for a good marriage.
- The recent Supreme Court ruling on the definition of marriage make this lesson quite timely. It's a great time to discuss this topic- not politically but from a religious standpoint.
- Print out copies of The Family Study Journal find the Market. Give one day to a each group. Let them discuss the questions for a bit and even bring a highlighted version of the talks for them to review. Then take time to share some key points of each group. Walk around the room as they discuss so you can know some things to pull out of the group if they are hesitant.
- Watch some video clips about family (several listed in the Family Study Journal or a couple below)
- Have a few children of all ages come in and say something nice about their families. You could have them think of something to say beforehand or have a question jar they draw from.
- Have people list on one half of the board things that drive them crazy when it comes to family. On another board have them write things they love. You could have one half hidden or written yourself (ask on Facebook and jot down the answers). Talk about even though family can drive us crazy, the blessings far outweigh the annoyances.
- A lot of you have mentioned the Ready Resource for Relief Society as another great reference for ideas in your lessons.
- A group of bloggers are posting about the Family in our efforts to defend it, monthly. You can find this month's starting in my post, 10 Ways to Tell If Your Husband Still Loves You.
- Hand out copies of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. You can buy beautiful prints from Etsy or print out free copies from Pinterest. Go through and highlight different sections as you go. Give a challenge to memorize the Proclamation or at least a paragraph. I'll even give the first 100 people who send me a video of them reciting the whole thing from memory a free Family Study Journal.
Click the images above to print. If you like this study guide, please like Chicken Scratch n Sniff's Facebook page too.
"For the Beauty of the Earth"- Hymn #92 (see verse 3)
"Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth"- Hymn #298
"Love One Another"- Hymn #308
"O Love That Glorifies the Son"- Hymn #295 (see verse 2)
"Oh, What Songs of the Heart"- Hymn #286
"Dearest Children, God Is Near You"- Hymn #96
Questions to Ponder
Grab our Ezra Taft Benson Chapter 14 Study Journal to help you organize your thoughts.
- How do you support your family in gaining salvation? Why is it a "family affair"?
- Why do you think happy marriages center on serving God and each other? How does this foster happiness in marriage?
- What are some daily habits you have that help strengthen your family?
- What attributes in section 3 does your family have? Which attributes do you want to focus on improving this month?
- In what ways is the family the best place to instill lasting values?
- How have you seen your family assist one another in learning the gospel? What has a specific family member taught you about a gospel principle?
- How does knowing that you family is eternal affect your feelings about them? How does it influence your relationships with each other?
- What are some of your fondest family memories? What are some of your favorite family traditions?
I recommend grabbing our 3 week Family Study Journal as well. It provides a more in depth study of the family and why it's so essential to God's plan.
Watch: Blessings of the Priesthood in Every Home: The Home Is a Divine Institution (about 1 1/2 minutes)
Watch: Finding Peace and Building Eternal Families (about 1 1/2 minutes)
"Strengthening Families: Our Sacred Duty" by Elder Robert D. Hales
"What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest" by Elder M. Russell Ballard
"Having Faith in God's Timeline" by Sister Catherine Edwards
Or "Confidence to Marry" by Sister Melissa Howell
"Nurturing Marriage" by Elder Russell M. Nelson
"Parents: The Prime Gospel Teachers of Their Children" by President Tad R. Callister
Still looking for ideas? Join us over on the Private Chicken Scratch n Sniff's Facebook page the week before you teach to collaborate with other teachers! You may also be interested in The Family Study Journal.