Point out that the Lord and His prophets have always emphasized the importance of learning. We should continue to learn throughout our lives.
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve said: “Because of our sacred regard for each human intellect, we consider the obtaining of an education to be a religious responsibility. … Our Creator expects His children everywhere to educate themselves” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 5; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 6).
Read the following scripture passages with class members. Have class members look for answers to the questions on the chalkboard. Write their answers below the appropriate questions.
Why do you think we are commanded to learn about so many different things?
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught young people the value of education: “It is so important that you young men and you young women get all of the education that you can. The Lord has said very plainly that His people are to gain knowledge of countries and kingdoms and of things of the world through the process of education, even by study and by faith. Education is the key which will unlock the door of opportunity for you. It is worth sacrificing for. It is worth working at, and if you educate your mind and your hands, you will be able to make a great contribution to the society of which you are a part, and you will be able to reflect honorably on the Church of which you are a member. My dear young brothers and sisters, take advantage of every educational opportunity that you can possibly afford, and you fathers and mothers, encourage your sons and daughters to gain an education which will bless their lives” (“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, June 1999, 4).
What opportunities do we have for formal education? (Answers may include secondary schools, trade schools, and colleges and universities.) How does formal education benefit our lives? What can we do to make better use of our opportunities for formal education?
President Brigham Young taught, “Our education should be such as to improve our minds and fit us for increased usefulness; to make us of greater service to the human family” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe , 255). How can education help us serve our families? How can education help us serve others? How can education help us in our efforts to help build the kingdom of God? Invite class members to share experiences in which their education has helped them in their efforts to serve.
Read D&C 90:15 with class members. How has your life been enriched by the study of good books?
What are parents’ responsibilities with regard to teaching their children? (See D&C 68:25–28. Emphasize that parents have a solemn responsibility to help their children learn the gospel. Parents should also teach practical skills such as how to maintain good health, work diligently, get along with others, manage money, and get a good education.)
How can parents encourage children to develop a love of learning that will last throughout their lives?
While serving in the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley emphasized the importance of encouraging children to read: “You know that your children will read. They will read books and they will read magazines and newspapers. Cultivate within them a taste for the best. While they are very young, read to them the great stories which have become immortal because of the virtues they teach. Expose them to good books. Let there be a corner somewhere in your house, be it ever so small, where they will see at least a few books of the kind upon which great minds have been nourished” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1975, 57; or Ensign, Nov. 1975, 39).
President Thomas S. Monson reminded us that little children can understand the teachings in the scriptures: “A … hallmark of a happy home is discovered when home is a library of learning. … The Lord counseled, ‘Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith’ (D&C 88:118). The standard works offer the library of learning of which I speak. We must be careful not to underestimate the capacity of children to read and to understand the word of God” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1988, 81–82; or Ensign, Nov. 1988, 70).
If you want to discuss the subject of teaching children in more detail, you may want to refer to pages 127–43 in the 1999 edition of Teaching, No Greater Call (36123). Lesson 45 in this manual also discusses parents’ responsibility to teach their children.
What kinds of reading should we avoid?
President Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve taught: “Today, with the abundance of books available, it is the mark of a truly educated man to know what not to read. … Feed only on the best. As John Wesley’s mother counseled him: ‘Avoid whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, … increases the authority of the body over the mind’” (“In His Steps,” in 1979 Devotional Speeches of the Year , 61).
In addition to obtaining a formal education and reading good books, what can we do to continue learning throughout our lives?