Youth Menu

    Goals, Growth, and Family Time

    Janet Thomas

    Spencer’s Duty to God goals strengthened his family and drew them closer to words of living prophets.

    One day last summer, Spencer J. was riding home from a summer vacation with his parents and family when he decided that the time in the car was perfect for planning some of his goals for the upcoming year. He and his family came up with a great list of goals that would help him plan for school, work on getting in better shape, and fulfill his duty to God.

    Individual Goals

    Spencer's goals for school included working hard to get straight A’s, befriending people at school who seem lonely, and tutoring a student who was struggling in classes. He also wanted to run for a state student government position (to which he was later elected). That goal could have been intimidating because he had to give a speech in front of 2,000 people. But, as Spencer says, “It would be an awesome experience to talk to other states about what they are doing with their student governments.”

    Spencer wanted to get in better physical shape. He decided to make a goal to ride his bike at least four miles about three days a week to prepare for a mission. He also decided to run two miles at least once a week. He also would participate on track and tennis teams.

    As a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood, Spencer worked with his quorum leaders to set a goal to help make the sacrament more meaningful by being prepared to bless the sacrament, saying the prayers with more feeling, and inviting others who don’t often participate in the blessing of the sacrament to bless it with him.

    Carrying out these personal goals has made Spencer happier, healthier, and more prepared for the challenges and opportunities he will face in the future.

    Carrying out these personal goals has made Spencer happier, healthier, and more prepared for the challenges and opportunities he will face in the future.

    A Family Goal

    After Spencer set his individual goals, he and his parents came up with a great plan. As a family, they already studied the scriptures together, but they also wanted to discuss talks given at general conference. His parents offered him the chance lead those discussions. He would choose a talk from the most recent conference, and every Sunday the family would spend about 20 minutes talking about it. Spencer says, “I read the selected article in the Ensign beforehand. Then I prepare questions for people to answer. It gives me the opportunity to lead in the family, sort of practice for becoming a dad. It’s kind of cool.”

    This family study fulfills his Duty to God goal for pray and study the scriptures during the priest year. He follows the Duty to God pattern:

    • Learn: He arranges for time on Sunday afternoon to lead the discussion. He gathers information to support the talk he has chosen to present.
    • Act: He reads the talk from the Ensign or watches video of the talks online and prepares discussion questions.
    • Share: He presents his discussion and questions to his family.

    This effort to fulfill his duty to God goal has helped Spencer stay on track. He says, “The project has affected us a lot. Now that it is a Duty to God goal, I’m more motivated to do it. My family has been more persistent.” 

    For the family’s part, they have also been strengthened by Spencer’s goal. The plan they made together while driving in the car has proven to be a move forward for them all. 

    Learn More

    To learn more about Duty to God, and to read and watch the experiences of other young men, visit

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