“As a home teacher, what can I do to encourage and involve my junior companion?” Ensign, Oct. 1984, 30
H. Kent Rappleye, Institute director, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. If Aaronic Priesthood home teaching companions are taught well, they will grow up looking forward to the home teaching experience. To be sure this happens, experienced Melchizedek Priesthood holders need to help junior companions become an important and effective part of the home teaching program.
Here are some suggestions on how to help Aaronic Priesthood holders grow through meaningful participation. In the process of helping your junior companion, you may find that relationships with the families you teach have improved measurably.
1. Ask your junior companion to give part of the presentation. Of course, you can’t just toss the Ensign at him when he gets in the car and say, “It’s your turn to give the message.” Make the presentation a partnership in which you both participate. Since no two families are alike, talk about the ways you will adapt your message to each situation. Then ask the Lord for assistance in presenting it.
2. Ask your junior companion to be in charge of birthdays and other special occasions, such as holidays, graduations, and anniversaries. The possibilities here are limitless: cards, treats, inexpensive gifts, etc. Perhaps the two of you could take the birthday child to the park, a game, or a movie. For a single parent or an elderly person, perhaps coupons promising your help with specific tasks would be most meaningful.
3. Of course, special occasions aren’t the only times to render assistance to home teaching families. Show your junior companion how to help in meaningful ways. For example, no widow or single parent should have to pay for yard work they cannot do for themselves. Together, the home teachers could mow a lawn weekly or shovel a driveway after a storm. You could also offer to help inside the house or apartment; for large jobs, your junior companion could involve his priesthood quorum in a service project. If he has a driver’s license, perhaps he could take a widow or elderly couple to the grocery store on Saturday.
4. Many young men have had good training at home caring for younger brothers and sisters. If you home teach a family with small children, perhaps your junior companion could offer to tend the youngsters (at no charge, of course) while Mom and Dad go to the temple or to do genealogy or missionary work. This may even be something he would like to do on a monthly basis to help the family attend the temple regularly or achieve some other goal.
5. Encourage your junior companion to share his talents and hobbies with the families. Perhaps he likes woodworking and could help a family member learn to make a piece of furniture. Perhaps he loves sports or music or art and could help the children develop skills and self-confidence.
6. When you are asked to administer to a member of one of your families, sometimes you may want to call your junior companion and take him along with you. If he holds the Aaronic Priesthood, he won’t be able to take part in the actual ordinance. But he could be asked to offer a prayer before the anointing takes place, if this is appropriate. He can learn much from the experience by observing the faith and prayers of others, and by having the opportunity to develop his own faith. (Be careful, however, not to put him on the spot without warning.) He may also gain great spiritual growth through fasting and praying with you when your home teaching families, or individuals in them, have specific needs.
7. Help your junior companion see the importance of his example for the children of the families you visit. By his appearance and actions, he can show the benefits of maintaining proper grooming, avoiding fads and peer pressures, and selecting appropriate movies and other entertainment.