“Reverence Begins at Home,” Ensign, Mar. 2002, 73
While serving as a stake Sunday School president, I visited classrooms to observe the instruction and class participation. Most of the classes were well taught and well received. Yet in some cases I noticed that student conversation caused interruptions or that some students were reluctant to participate in class discussions. To help remedy these problems, I felt that family home evening might be a good place to start. Years ago I counseled one of my own sons to serve as a silent aid to improve the conduct of his peers in one of his classes. It was so successful that years later I prepared a lesson for my extended family and subsequently shared it with other ward Sunday School presidents. Following are ideas for creating your own family home evening lesson about showing reverence in Sunday School as well as other Church classes.
Role-play a distracting classroom situation. Choose two family members to read two different passages of the scriptures simultaneously. After the family has observed the confusion, ask if anyone has noticed similar background conversation during a lesson. What happens to our ability to learn and to feel the Spirit when an irreverent class situation occurs? Talk about appropriate behavior and what we hope to gain from attending a reverent, insightful class.
List ways to improve classroom experiences. Ask your children how they can be good examples and help others to participate appropriately in class. Emphasize that they can help their friends contribute positively to a spiritual classroom experience. Write down everyone’s suggestions for improving classroom experiences. Our family discussed these ideas:
Encourage individual learning and self-improvement from every class.
Take scriptures and suggested study materials to class.
Show respect and kindness for the teacher and classmates.
Ask for meanings of difficult words.
Encourage others to participate meaningfully in class discussions.
Reverent participation in all Church classes is important for our spiritual edification. Above all, we can pray that the classroom situation will invite the Spirit, that the teacher will have the class’s cooperation, and that the students will increase their understanding of the gospel and desire to live by righteous principles.—Ronald L. Petersen, Valley View Fifth Ward, Layton Utah Valley View Stake