Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lesson on Individual Worth

I taught a lesson to the Young Women today on Individual Worth. I spent the whole morning trying not to break down because I knew I would be talking about Camille in my lesson. I had spent lots of time thinking about this lesson. The manual gave good topics to teach but the stories cited to teach them were ... well they were not as poignant as some others from my own life. 

I think the lesson went really well. I started by putting several items on the table. Some of these were the scriptures, a hand painted tea set, Lauren's monkey that she sleeps with every night, a jug of pomegranate juice, and a camera. I asked the girls what these things were worth and what made them valuable. 

We talked about the scriptures. They are only valuable to those who have read them and gained from them. They become valuable as they become familiar and loved. The camera is valuable for its function. The pomegranate juice is valuable because it is rare and difficult to extract by hand. The tea set was just some average tea set. Alone it is not very valuable. But I drew the pictures on it when I was five and then my mother hand painted those pictures when my daughter Ann Marie was born. It is therefore unique and totally irreplaceable. 

Then I held up Lauren's monkey. We guessed it might get 2 dollars if we were lucky in a yard sale. But to Lauren this monkey is her most valuable possession. The monkey is tattered and old but it is HER monkey. To her it is everything. If I bought the same monkey new she wouldn't want it. She would know it was not her monkey.

Then I transitioned to tell the kids how as a teenager I felt when I went to a party with my dad. He held a somewhat prominent position in our city. He knew EVERYBODY. Really. I told them how I felt people expected me to be a certain way and I had to act accordingly. I told them that because of who my dad was I felt important when I met someone he knew, and not like just some kid. 

Then I asked the girls if I felt that way because my dad had a well known job, how should they feel considering who their Father is. We are not daughters of politicians or presidents or even a king. We are daughters of God. Much is expected of us and our potential is great. We ought to feel important just because of who our Father is. 

We then read the scripture that says "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." I asked the girls why He would find them valuable. They said because parents love their kids. I said that was true. Just like the monkey on the table, parents do love their kids no matter how beat up or ratty they get. Then I explained how above just loving your kid because they are your kid, how parents love each kid uniquely because each child is unique. 

I told the girls about my girls flowers and why each girl reminds me of each flower. I broke down in earnest when I got to the tulip and Camille. Many of these girls are new to me and so I had to tell them who Camille is and that she passed away. I explained that even though Camille was only 1 and really didn't contribute to society yet, she was MINE and she was unique. I have three other daughters. But none of them can be Camille to me. I could hold every other baby in the world and none of them would feel like my Camille. She is irreplaceable in all the world. I loved her uniquely just as I love each of my girls uniquely. 

I then told them how Heavenly Father has the incredible ability to love all of His children this way. Each of His children are unique. He know each of us fully and better than we know ourselves. Each of us are irreplaceable in His kingdom. All the other billions of His children can not fill the place in His heart that one of us will leave if we do not return to Him. That is why the Savior said the shepherd left the 99 and went after the one. He loves the 99 but the they all cannot replace the one. The one is HIS too. 

The Spirit was strong and I feel like the girls really got it.  I pretty much cried through most of this portion. Then I had a girl who wasn't teary read a quote from Elder Holland's talk "To the Young Women" where he talks about understanding who we really are. 

Next we went on to how while we all have weaknesses, as we improve ourselves we increase further our value. I made the girls find the scripture about why we have weaknesses all by themselves to make sure they all knew how to find a scripture by themselves. This took several minutes. But I think it is WAY important that when they have questions that they know how to find the answers in the scriptures all by themselves. 

As the last two were finding it, I told them about Snowman the horse and his story as told by Elder Wirthlin in conference a couple of years ago. Then I ended with the fact that even if there are weaknesses that we are not able to make strengths in this life, we no less loved by the Lord.

I bore my testimony to them and it seemed they got all I wanted them to get out of it.

I know this was a long post folks, but I wanted to record this for myself and anyone else who may want to use my ideas from it. Also, if any of you don't feel you are of worth, KNOW that you are. You are unique in all the world to our Father and you are HIS. He loves you uniquely and no one else can take your place in His heart or His kingdom. I know this is true. Be there.