Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Four Ways to Get More from General Conference Afterward!

Listening to conference is good. Feeling the Spirit bear witness that what you learned is true is even better. And doing something to act on what you learned is best.

Elder Hales said: "The greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over. Remember the pattern recorded frequently in scripture: we gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes to live them" ("General Conference: Strengthening Faith and Testimony," Ensign, Nov. 2013). 

President Monson said, 
"The aim is to inspire the individual to THINK about, FEEL about, and then DO something about living gospel principles" ("Thou Art a Teacher Come From God," Conference Report, Oct. 1970).

Here are four ideas that can help you with the DO part after General Conference. 

1. Make a commitment to study the talks for the next six months.

Click here for the printable checkoff chart above that's just the right size for a bookmark or vision board goal. (Note: When I created the chart the only topics listed were from the women's meeting. If you check back in a few days I may have an updated version with topics by all the talks.)

There is power and protection in studying words of the living prophets and apostles, especially the most current words. My friend's motto is "A Conference talk a day!" It's easier than EVER to make General Conference part of our daily lives! The talks are already online to watch, listen, print, or download!  

We can listen while driving, exercising, cooking, cleaning, getting ready in the morning, or read online or on various phone apps. We can even read the actual paper Ensign when it comes in the mail, or purchase one from Deseret Book. Also, feel free to use this printable notes chart to help you gather your thoughts and favorite parts of each talk as you study them over the next six months. 

2. Set simple goals as a family of what you'll DO from what you learned. 

We like to have a follow-up family discussion after conference where we brainstorm what each person's take-aways were, and what they feel the Lord wants them to DO from what they learned. We did this Sunday night at the dinner table. You could also do it during family home evening. 

I like to start this process by reviewing my own notes with a highlighter, and jotting a list of possible goals for me and my family on a separate page. Then during our FHE discussion on this, I use my notes to jog our kids' memories and helps them start saying things they liked about certain talks. 

As people throw out ideas of what they may want to DO from what they learned, I write this brainstorm list on my journal, along with an initial next to each idea to note who said what. A dry erase board would be a great tool for this too. I add my own ideas from my summary chart that I want to act on soon. Then I read the list aloud, seeing if anyone wants to add more ideas, and invite each person to choose one or two goals they feel to work on the most. I highlight those. (It would be good to make some kind of reminder for each person's bedroom...we'll work on that.)  

This simple tool helps us follow up with the "do" part by reviewing, setting goals, and having each person choose one or two main things to focus on. I never can stick to only one or two. Maybe I would keep my goals better each time if I did! 

3. Have family home evening lessons from General Conference talks for the next six months. 

We don't use these every week, just some weeks. We like to buy a conference Ensign for each family member so we can use them during FHE lessons about conference talks, encouraging people to read and mark up their own copies. The printable summary above would be a great way to help family members choose which talk they want to study and teach when it's their turn to teach. 

If your kids are older (maybe ten and older) here is an easy way to teach FHE from a conference talk. 

  1. Have everyone bring their copy of the conference Ensign and a highlighter, or their mobile device. Encourage everyone to mark what stands out to them. 
  2. Have family members take turns reading several paragraphs at a time. After each person's turn, have them give a summary of what they read (makes them THINK about), and if they can, find a principle (truth)  we can use in life. 
  3. Once the whole talk is read, ask people to share their take-aways. What stood out? What do they think God wants them to DO with what they learned?  Invite the family to set a goal for that week/month, or individuals to set their own goals. Write them down on something to post where people can see it. 
  4. A great way to end each lesson is to encourage family members to bear their testimony of what they know about the topic. Bearing testimony invites the Spirit to testify to everyone that what they said is true. That's the FEEL part of President Monson's counsel above. 

4. Each family member can choose favorite quote memes from conference. 

These memes will be all over social media for the next while. You can already find some here and here. Let each family member choose one or more of their favorite quotes, and print them to place them wherever people choose in the home. Dollar store frames are great for this. This makes a great visiting teaching gift each month, using a dollar store frame where the pictures are easily removed and replaced each month. 

What works for you to follow up and act on what you learned at General Conference? 

1 comment:

Tracy Christensen said...

Thanks for sharing your great ideas! I love them!