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Jesus Is My Example
I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. [John 8:12]
Help family members follow Jesus' example when they make their daily decisions.
FOR THE PARENT
In this lesson you will review some of the attributes possessed by Jesus that you and your family would want to acquire to become more like him and our Heavenly Father. You can teach each other the habit of asking "What would the Lord have me do?" as you make your daily decisions.
1. Prepare for the activity that will take place in the darkness or with the use of a blindfold.
2. Prepare the chart entitled "What Would the Lord Have Me Do?"
SUGGESTED HYMN AND SONG
"Come, Follow Me".
"Teach Me to Walk in the Light" [Hymns, no. 304 or The Childrens Songbook, p. 177].
"I Am the Light of the World"
Turn out all the lights in the house, or use a blindfold if it is still light. Ask one of the family members to perform a difficult task, such as writing a sentence on a piece of paper or finding several household items and putting them in one place. Then turn on the lights or remove the blindfold, and show how easily the same task can be done in the light.
Have a family member read aloud John 8:12.
- How is Jesus the Light of the World? (He is the one who lights our way.)
- How does he give us light? (He gave us his example and teachings.)
- Why is it easier to make the right decisions with the aid of Jesus' light? (His examples and teachings light the way for us. We can see the paths we should take more clearly. )
Memorize John 8:12 together as a family. Then sing "Teach Me to Walk in the Light."
Jesus Gave Us His Example
- What are some of the things for which Jesus has given us his example, things that apply to our own lives?
Direct your discussion according to the needs of your family. Following are some examples:
1. He showed us the way to be baptized (Matthew 3:13-17).
2. He loved little children (Mark 10:13-16).
3. He helped the sick and the handicapped (Mark 6:53-56, 7:31-35).
4. He was kind (John 4:6-10).
5. He did not get angry with those who offended him (Matthew 27:29-31).
6. He forgave those who were cruel to him (Luke 23:34).
7. He showed us how to pray (Matthew 6:5-13).
8. He taught the importance of truth (John 8:32).
9. He resisted all temptation (Matthew 4:2-10).
In your discussion, show how Jesus always chose to do the will of the Father. He exemplified the principle of love toward others.
Tell the following story, and ask family members to listen for ways Kaye could use Jesus' example:
Ten-year-old Kaye stayed home while her mother went to buy food for the family. Her mother had asked her to clean up her room and to practice her violin.
Kaye quickly cleaned up her room. Then without thinking, she turned on the television. The program that was on interested her very much.
"I am supposed to practice my violin," thought Kaye. "But I don't like to practice. Besides, I want to watch this show."
She was tempted to watch the front yard to see when her mother would arrive home. Then when her mother came, Kaye could quickly turn off the television, take out the violin, and make it look like she was practicing.
- How would the example of Jesus' resisting Satan's temptations help Kaye with her temptation?
- What would the Lord want Kaye to do now?
What Would Jesus Have Me Do?
Bring up some positive examples in your home during the day or the week when stopping to think helped a family member make a better decision. If family members bring up some negative examples, be careful not to accuse or embarrass anyone. Keep the discussion positive.
For decisions between right and wrong, we should ask ourselves, "What would the Lord have me do?"
- How could you be reminded to ask yourselves this important question during the week?
To help family members follow Jesus' example, have them keep a record of their decisions during the coming week. Make a simple chart like the following for each family member. Have them place a happy face on the chart when they choose to do what Jesus would have them do. The parents should do this also. By their example the children can better learn how to follow Jesus.
What Would the Lord Have Me Do?
Followed the Savior
During the week, compliment each family member on how well he is doing.
ADAPTING FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN
Use the introductory activity from the regular lesson, and sing "Teach Me to Walk in the Light." In your own words, tell how Jesus was always loving, kind, and truthful. Explain to your children in simple terms the idea of asking yourself, "What would the Lord have me do?" Then read the following story about John:
John Was Happy
John was on his way to school. He was hurrying because he wanted to have fun playing before school began. He passed Jenny. She was on her tricycle. But she was not riding. She was just sitting there. Jenny was only three, and John was six.
John said, "Hello Jenny." Then he saw that Jenny was crying. John stopped. "What is the matter, Jenny?" he asked.
"I can't find my house," Jenny cried. John knew where Jenny's house was, but if he stopped to take her home, he wouldn't get to school in time to play.
- What would you do if you were John?
- What would the Lord want John to do?
John didn't want to stop, but when he saw the tears on Jenny's face, he couldn't leave her there lost. He said, "Don't cry anymore, Jenny. I'll take you home." He helped her turn her tricycle in the right direction and walked beside her. Jenny stopped crying. When she saw her house, she looked happy.
- How do you think John felt?
- How do you think he would have felt if he had left Jenny crying and had gone to school in time to play?
You may wish to display a picture of Jesus on a chart. Below it, down the left side, write the name of each child. Draw a line across the paper separating each name.
When a child does something to make someone happy, let him paste or tape a happy face in his space.
Let the children make the happy faces during the home evening. The outline can be made by tracing around a coin or button.
ADAPTING FOR TEENAGERS AND ADULTS
After holding the activity involving darkness, singing the hymn, and studying the appropriate scriptures, have someone read the following story:
"Inasmuch As Ye Have Done It unto One of the Least of These"
Roger sat at the dinner table, tired but happy. It was Saturday, and he had spent eight hours at the university library studying for three midterm examinations he was scheduled to take on Monday. He had wanted to play tennis and go to the football game, but had studied instead. He was glad he had not done those things, confident that he was prepared for his tests. Roger wanted to maintain his high grade point average because he would be applying for graduate school in the spring. But he still wondered, "Why do professors seem to schedule tests on the same day?"
Roger's roommates had all gone on dates that evening. Roger was preparing his Gospel Doctrine lesson on following the example of Jesus for the next morning. He was glad to be alone with his thoughts.
When the doorbell rang, Roger reacted with a frown. "Who would be coming here on a Saturday night?" he muttered.
Still frowning he let the lesson manual fall shut and pushed his chair from the table. When he opened the door he found an unshaven, scraggly dressed man about forty years old. The man's breath smelled of tobacco and liquor.
"I just drove into town," the man said, "and my car stopped right here in the middle of your street." The man explained how he hadn't eaten all day and that his friend had a son attending the university whom he wanted to find. "Could you spare me a bite to eat, and then help me find out what's wrong with the car? You could probably help me find my friend's son, too, couldn't you?"
Roger tried to think of an excuse. After all, there were several other houses on the street, in which families, not students, lived. They probably had more food. They probably wouldn't have to worry about teaching Sunday School and were not as tired as he was tonight. Besides, he thought, this man might even ask to stay overnight.
On the other hand, Roger did know something about cars. If he used his school directory, he could probably find the person this man was looking for. But what if he couldn't? What would his roommates think if they saw this unkempt man in the apartment? And he still hadn't prepared his Sunday School lesson.
- What do you think you would do if you were Roger?
- What would the Lord have you do? Why?
Read Matthew 25:31-46.
- Who is Jesus talking about when he says, "Ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren" (Matthew 25:46)?
- Why are the hardest commandments to keep, such as showing love to everyone, the ones that bring us the most personal growth?
Discuss how Roger's decision would make a difference in the lesson he would give on following Jesus' example. Bring out the idea that when we follow Jesus, our faith in him grows, and we find it easier to follow him.
SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE HOME EVENINGS
What Is an Example?
These suggestions work best with young children.
Play "Do as I Do." Each member of the family takes a turn as leader. The leader stands in front of the others and performs some action like clapping, touching his nose, winking or saying something. The rest of the group then imitates his actions. Parents or the one conducting the family home evening may want to be leader after the others have had a turn so they can introduce a few examples of reverent behavior for the others to follow, such as folding arms or kneeling as if for prayer.
Discuss the idea of using Jesus as our example.
Developing a More Christlike Life
These suggestions work best with teenagers and adults.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell has given twelve guidelines that will tell us how well we are progressing toward a more Christlike life. You may wish to devote several family home evenings to a discussion of one or more of them. They are
1. Achieving the right balance between self-contentment and ambition.
2. Following counsel as Moses followed Jethro's counsel (Exodus 18:17-24).
3. Not being too absorbed in one aspect of life, like Martha (Luke 10:41-42).
4. Praying for right things.
5. Having right reasons for our good behavior.
6. Taking gratefully what life brings.
7. Loving our enemies.
8. Being free from envy of those who do better than we.
9. Forgiving and forgetting.
10. Using our adversities as tools to grow.
11. Becoming more patient.
12. Becoming more willing to follow the Lord wherever he may lead us. (See "The Christ-Centered Life," Ensign, Aug. 1981, pp. 13-17.) You may wish to simplify these guidelines to make a twelve-item self-evaluation test. Have family members spend fifteen or twenty minutes responding silently to the items to evaluate their own progress. Family members should not be required to reveal their responses.
(See Daily Living home page; Family Home Evening home page; Family Home Evening Lessons home page)
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