"Parents and Children" by President Dallin H. Oaks Discussion Helps

Intro “Parents and Children” by President Dallin H. Oaks. It’s interesting to compare both of President Oaks’ talks this General Conference. In his first talk to the general audience of the Church, he talked about finding truth and the plan of salvation. In this talk he mentions The Family: A Proclamation to the World and the plan of salvation.

 
 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recommends the following for this talk:

“As you prepare to teach, consider which section of President Oaks’s message is most relevant to the people in your quorum or Relief Society. Here are possible questions you could ask to encourage discussion about his message: How do the modern trends mentioned in President Oaks’s message in section I work against Heavenly Father’s plan? What examples of faithful women can we share that exemplify the statements about women in section II? How can we encourage the young women we know to follow President Oaks’s specific counsel to them in section III?“


Questions to Ponder

  • How have children (yours and others) blessed your life?

  • How has being a parent or parent figure brought joy to your life?

  • Why is parenting a high priority for you? What difference does it make in your life? Why do you think we should strive to nourish children even if we don’t have our own?

  • Who has made a difference in your life as a parent or parent figure?

  • What have you learned from the examples of other parents that you want to apply to your life?

  • How does the plan of salvation give you strength to deal with life’s challenges?

  • How else does the plan of salvation support or comfort you?

  • How has knowing the plan of salvation helped you throughout your life?

  • How does Heavenly Father’s love affect the way you think of yourself and your family?

  • In what ways have you been blessed when you have chosen the right?

  • When have you seen someone else be kind even when they were going through their own trials?

  • How have you learned to be kind to others even when they don’t seem to deserve it?

  • What can we do to encourage the youth to be more kind?

  • How has understanding who you are, where you came from, and where you are going been an anchor in your life?

  • In what ways can we be more kind? What do you feel like you could improve? How can we be more kind as a group?

  • What can we do to continue to support families and the rearing of children?


Discussion Ideas

These are my ideas. My hope is reading my thoughts will be a springboard to finding the right plans for your class.

  • Read The Family: A Proclamation to the World individually or as a class. Make note of what stands out to you as the roles of mothers, fathers and children. Discuss the roles of each and how we can follow this counsel (including when we’re not in those ideal situations). How does this Proclamation fit into the Plan of Salvation?

  • Give class members a moment to think about a behavior they wish to correct. Ask them to think of a plan for how they will overcome their weakness. Discuss as a class ways that others have succeeded in overcoming weaknesses.

  • Read about parents in the scriptures (Lehi and Sariah, Abraham, parents of the Stripling Warriors). Discuss how these parents taught their children. What can we learn from their examples? What comfort can we gain from their examples?

  • Besides the obvious reason of bringing more of God’s children to the earth, discuss what we might have to gain from interacting or rearing children. Why do you think God allows us to be children first? Why not adults always? What is it that we learn from being a child ourselves as well as being around children? What is a lesson a child has taught you?

  • As you discuss being a mother (or father), refer to President Russell M. Nelson’s talk which came right after this one. In it, President Nelson stated, “Please note that anytime I use the word mother, I am not talking only about women who have given birth or adopted children in this life. I am speaking about all of our Heavenly Parents’ adult daughters. Every woman is a mother by virtue of her eternal divine destiny.” The same goes for men and fathers. I know it’s not much comfort for those that struggle with not being able to have children or finding the right person to marry but it is an important part of our divine nature to remember.

  • President Oaks quotes President Nelson and President Hinckley in the second section of his talk referencing the importance of women and the great work they have to do. Have two people read the quotes then discuss what they mean for the women in your life. How can you apply these principles more fully into your life? How can you support the women in your life do these things? What do those quotes mean in the context of raising children?

  • In this talk, President Oaks discusses the need for decreased cell phone usage. Discuss ways in which cell phones can be a benefit as well as a distraction. What are some things we can do to cut back our addiction to our phones? How can we teach our youth (and ourselves) to use their phones wisely without being preoccupied with it? You may want to discuss specific ways people may be putting this into practice already but the main focus shouldn’t be on whether or not specific rules are right or wrong but rather why we may need to break away from our phones more. Print my cellphone guidelines handouts included below to give people time to contemplate what rules they want to follow for themselves. We so often set them for our children or judge others for how they use theirs but forget to actually set our own rules.

  • President Oaks second counsel is to simply be kind. Discuss ways where we might need to implement this more in our lives. I don’t consider myself to be a mean person but I could certainly be more kind at times and choose to rise up to be kind more often. Discuss why that might be important to recognize as well. You may want to send a challenge to your class the week before you teach this lesson asking them to focus on being kind more often. Encourage them to pray for more kindness and see where they might need to be more kind. Then discuss the results on Sunday. You might also want to reference scripture examples of kindness and the resulting blessings. One such example is Rebekah in Genesis 24.

  • The challenge to the youth battalion was mentioned a number of times throughout General Conference including this talk. You may want to take the time to review what President Nelson told the youth and challenged them to do. If you know of youth that haven’t accepted his challenge or completed it yet, discuss ways you can help them accomplish it and why it’s important to do so.

  • Create a case study of a parent trying to help a child for class members to read individually or have it read aloud. A case study is a story as simple or as complex as you would like. In your story have the class discuss what they think the parent and child are going through and how they could respond if they were the individuals in the case study. Example: Julia is a mother who has three children. A 15 year old girl, an 8 year old boy and a toddler. Julia is continually striving to be a better mother and parent. She is having a tough time connecting with her 13 year old, Alexa. Alexa feels that her mother is overbearing and nosy. She wants to make her own choices, but often feels that her mother hovers over her constantly. Plus, Alexa feels like she always has to help out with the children. She likes to play with her siblings, but also wants some time to herself to find out who she is. Julia wants Alexa to make correct choices, but doesn’t know how to trust her to do what is right. Julia is always checking up on Alexa and asking about every little detail of her day. How can Julia be more sensitive to how Alexa is feeling? What would you do if you were Julia? How can Alexa and Julia work together to solve their differences?

  • Give sections I. and II. to half of the class. Ask them to read the two sections and ponder on the role of parents. Give section III. to the other half of the class and ask them to read and ponder the role of children. Ask each section to discuss the importance of their role in the plan of salvation and then have a spokesperson share how their role is important to the plan of salvation.