Saturday, February 14, 2015

Why my family reads "For the Strength of Youth" every year

Here is how and why our family reads For the Strength of Youth booklet once a year. This is a small and simple habit that has brought big blessings to my family. 

You could add this to your daily scripture study, FHE, or a Sunday afternoon discussion. I invite you to try it too! This powerful little booklet isn't just for teens - it is God's will for kids and adults too. Here are some tips for reading, discussing, and marking to help your family get God's standards into their hearts.

HOW we do it 

We make it part of our morning scripture study. Another idea is to study a topic each week as part of family home evening or on Sunday afternoons. In our family, the person in charge of conducting that day chooses which topic we'll read. We invite everyone to bring their copy of For the Strength of Youth, along with their scriptures, so they can mark their own book and follow along.  We like taking turns reading the paragraphs. Once that topic has been read, each person shares something that stood out to them and we discuss it. Sometimes we ask questions to get them thinking and preparing for making the right decisions in a situation even if nobody else does. There are 18 topics or standards, plus an introduction from the First Presidency and an appendix. 

WHY does our family study this booklet every year?  

  • Because these are God's standards for us today, not just for youth, but for children and adults alike. 
  • Because we need repetition of God's standards, just like we need repetition of the scriptures and gospel doctrines and principles. Each year we get more out of it, just like we do every time we study the Book of Mormon. 
  • This is an official publication from the First Presidency, so it is doctrine. It is truth. We will be blessed by learning and living it. 
  • Because each year, each family member is in a new place with his or her own testimony, stage of life, circumstances, experiences, temptations, and friends. So people pull different things from it each time we read it. The Spirit can teach each person what they need right now. 
  • If we aren't studying the doctrine on a regular basis about issues and temptations that are part of our modern daily life, how can we know and do God's will in each of these areas? 
  • Because our kids (and adults, let's be honest) will deal with peer pressure from friends and the media virtually every day of their lives. I think the peer pressure is the hardest to resist when it comes from fellow Church members whom we like. Some good LDS girls wear tight jeans or strapless prom dresses. Many church-going people watch movies or play video games that don't fit the Lord's standards. Most active LDS people in my area watch the Super Bowl on the Sabbath. Teens sometimes gossip or leave someone out at a youth activity. When most people around us are doing a certain thing, it's easy to think it's the right thing, and to start doing it ourselves. We all need repeated invitations to learn God's will in these areas and then to raise our actions to a higher standard. 
  • Satan has hastened his work and is trying his darnedest to pull good people down, and the standards in this booklet teach us how to protect our families from Satan's attacks, and how to stay more fully on God's side of the line.

If you want to mark your copy, here are some fun ideas: 
  • Underline the DO'S and DON'TS for a given topic, and mark those in the margin. 
  • Use another color to mark the BLESSINGS for obeying God's standard, and write "blessings" in the margin. 
  • If a good story or analogy or quote comes up in your family discussion, jot a note about that at the end of that topic. 
  • If you choose to look up the scriptures at the end of each section, you could jot a note about the gist of each scripture.
  • You could look for "if...then..." principles. At a training for young women leaders years ago at Temple Square, they gave each of us a new copy of the booklet and invited us to mark it in several ways, including this one. They even had us cross out words and write "If I...then I..." in sentences to help us see the cause and effect of our choices. 
  • I have enjoyed writing the date that we study each topic.

I invite you to study For the Strength of Youth with your family too! I promise you'll be blessed by studying and living these standards. 


Shirley said...

Becky, I totally concurr with what you have shared above! It is right-on and well-thought out. I love and admire you so much; just wish we lived closer so that we could interact more.

Becky Edwards said...

Thank you! Is this Aunt Shirley Niemann? If so, hello and I wish we lived closer too.