The information included here is meant to clarify what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints teaches about families. It's presented in a concrete way that might make more sense for the teen population. This information is geared toward teens, typical and those that struggle with some social skills, and has a weekly challenge included with each topic. Have fun and apply the principles to your life each day and you will feel joy.
It would be helpful to have a journal handy as you read so you can record your thoughts and feelings.
The ABC's of Dating
A. Acquaintance with another
B. Buildup of the relationship
C. Continue or commit
D. Deterioration or Decline
E. Ending of the relationship
Be respectful. Respect yourself and the person you are dating.
In high school, don't date seriously. Date for fun. Date different people so you can practice getting to know many different types of personalities. Learning to communicate with all types of individuals will prepare you to communicate with your spouse!
Dating prepares you for a long lasting, committed and eternal relationship. Treat is as a training course. Some times it's hard, but the one you marry will be worth the trouble.
As you approach adulthood, remember that what you are doing now is preparing you for marriage. Keep that a high priority!
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Planned, Paid for, Paired off
The church suggests waiting until you are 16 to date. But after that, make it intentional. Call on the phone, use great manners, and show respect.
Group dates are suggested through high school. But you can still be "paired" with someone.
When you are looking for a spouse, date like it. "Hanging out" is too casual and won't give you the opportunities to get to know someone on a "marriage" level.
Good Social Skills are easy to remember when thinking about having the FEVER! (don't worry, it's a good kind of fever)
Face the person
Express yourself: good communication skills are necessary
Voice: not too loud or too soft
Eye Contact: people feel respected when you look at them
Relax: don't be nervous! Be you!
Use the FEVER anytime you need to talk to someone!
Make a short list of qualities you hope for in a spouse. Don't read on in the challenge until that list is complete.
I said don't read on!
Seriously.....write it down first.
Now, write this at the top of that list: Things I Need To Develop in Myself
The point of this challenge is for you to see that you will attract what you are. You need to be the type of person you want to marry.
The best complete picture of your future spouse can be found in a mirror!
Some suggestions may be:
honest, hard-working, a good communicator, loving, kind, service oriented, Christ-centered life, respectful
Marriage is ordained of God
Cohabitation is not okay (couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce later)
The ordinance of the temple sealing is the only way to be with your spouse after you die.
Temple marriages further God's Plan of Salvation, which is centered on the family.
Marriage is an "equal partnership between a man and a woman'
Equal doesn't mean the same! It means together!
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An Eternal Marriage is what God wants for all of his children. One that will last after we die. It will bring the greatest lasting happiness and it's the only way to be able to accomplish what you need to do after you die. You need a spouse. One you are sealed to for all eternity. It's just the way God set it up. When you are dating, think about how you are looking at marriage. There are two options:
1- consumer marriage. (What's in it for me!)
2- covenant marriage: (intentional, purposeful and forever)
What is a covenant? It's an agreement between you and God. God sets conditions of that agreement and you promise to do your part. Just like you might make an agreement with your parents you will keep your room clean. Your parents might say they will give you an allowance if your room is clean. It can be hard to keep your room clean but you need money so buy something you want so it makes the hard work worth it. God has promised that making and keeping covenants is worth it, not only while we are on earth, but after we die.
"The Prophet Joseph Smith promised that “when a seal is put upon the father and mother, it secures their posterity, so that they cannot be lost, but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father and mother” * That seal he is talking about are the covenants you make in the temple.
What an amazing promise! We need to make temple covenants to protect our children. Is there any better reason than that?
Making and keeping covenants in the temple gives your family the opportunity to choose to live with God again after we die. They don't have to if they don't want to, everyone has their agency to choose.
*Successful Marriages and Families, Hawkins, pg 169
Keeping your covenants in marriage means being faithful to your spouse.
"Wise Walls For Preventing Infidelity"
(Broderick, 1991; Glass, 1999; Goddard, 2007)•
Resist the desire to rescue an unhappy soul who pours his or her heart out to you.
• Don’t share the most painful things of your soul with an attractive alternative. This develops deep levels of intimacy.
• If a conversation makes light of marriage (or dating), respond with something positive about your own marriage (or dating experience).
• Discuss marital issues with your spouse. Work on the problems at home. If you do need to talk to someone else about your marriage, be sure he or she is a friend of the marriage.
• Don’t have lunch or take work breaks with the same person all the time
• Don’t have lunch alone with an old flame.
• If an old boyfriend or girlfriend is going to be at a class reunion, make sure you bring your spouse along.
• When you travel with a coworker, meet only in public places.
• Don’t flirt with anyone other than your spouse.
• Don’t travel together with someone of the opposite sex when going to meetings for work, church, or in other circumstances."
*Successful Marriages and Families, Hawkins page 64
Look up in the scriptures, General Conference talks or Ensign articles and make a list of the covenants you will make to your spouse. Write them in your journal.
No really, do it!
You will be glad you have this journal someday.
Who knows! You might be asked to speak in church and you'll already have most of it written!
What is a trial?
A trial is something that is really hard for you. It can be something like being nice to people, eating healthy, having someone you love die, your parents losing a job, being bullied at school, struggling with a class at school, fighting with a sibling, or dealing with health issues or many other things.
It's best to expect trials. We go through hard things so we can learn. We can learn to be patient, work hard, help others, be self-less, to have positive thoughts, to communicate with our family or to love those around us through trials. The important thing is to make sure we have good behavior and make good choices when we or someone close to us is going through a trial.
Many married people admit they have had a hard time at some point in the marriage. But it could be helpful to know the following as you are dating for fun (in high school) and dating to get married (after your mission):
1- expect trials in relationships
2- have a "we can work it out attitude" instead of a "get me out" attitude.
3- Your attitude determines your altitude
4- expect to learn something from every trial
5- for most relationship problem, the remedy is repentance
6- be humble, always give 100%
In your journal, jot down a few coping skills you think you use when going through something really hard.
Are they helpful?
Do you want different ones?
If so, try these for the week and see if you like them better.
1- Pray to be shown how to cope
2- Keep a feelings journal
3- Communicate with your parents or leaders about your stresses
4- Be physically active. Exercise helps reduce stress.
5- Eat healthy meals
6- Get enough sleep
Parents bringing kids into this world and then raising them with love is essential to God Plan of Salvation! But, since you are not ready to be a parent now, it's important to learn the skills you need to be a parent.
Some of those skills include:
Being a hard worker
being a good communicator
controlling your temper
having a strong testimony
being temple worthy
learning to go without things
Learning to be a good communicator is really important for your life now, and once you are married with kids.
Mother's are great at nurturing their kids and teaching their kids skills to nurture others.
Knowing how to communicate will help you be the best parent and spouse. Here are a few techniques:
1- Listen wanting to understand, not respond.
2- When listening, repeat back to the other person what you hear them say. If you are correct, then reply. If not, they can re-state what they meant.
3- When speaking, use statements that begin with "I". This will help make sure you aren't blaming other people for things you should be taking responsibility for and will help others understand how you feel.
4- Always have the FEVER! (outlined Week 1: Lesson 2)
Spend some time this week with kids in the following age categories.
Birth- 12 months
13 months- 18 months
19 months- 3 years
3 years -6 years
Be the perfect play partner! How? I'm so glad you asked! Ask them what they want to play (if they can tell you). Pretend they are directing a movie and you are the main character, but you haven't read a script. Ask questions you don't know the answer to and let them tell you. Examples may include: "What do I do now?" "How should I do this?" And when they tell you, restate it like you are narrating a story. This will help them learn to relate to other people which is a vital skills for success as a human.
"President Boyd K. Packer (2003) taught: “We must teach our youth to draw close to the elderly grandpas and grandmas.”
Grandparents can have a positive affect on their grand kids. Studies show that teens who have a good relationship with their grandparents are less likely to drink alcohol, have sex before marriage, do drugs and do better in school. Teens can learn positive social skills from their grandparents. They can learn to care for other people and appreciate what they have (chances are good you have more that your grandparents did as a teen)!
President Ezra Taft Benson (1989) said, "We encourage families to give their elderly parents and grandparents the love, care, and attention they deserve. Let us remember the scriptural command that we must care for those of our own house lest we be found “worse than an infidel”
(1 Timothy 5:8). . . . If they become less able to live independently, then family, Church, and community resources may be needed to help them. When the elderly become unable to care for themselves, even with supplemental aid, care can be provided in the home of a family member when possible"
(page 180 of Successful Marriage and Families)
Interview a grandparent. It can be yours, your friends or your neighbor. Any grandparent. Ask them about what life was like when they were a child. Ask them what they wish someone your age knew. You can even ask them about life now! It could be as simple as "tell me about your typical day"!
Take a grandparent out on a date. A play, ice cream, lunch or just a drive.
Make a list of things you want to be able to do as a grandparent in your journal.
What is meant by the term "role"?
In the proclamation, it states that parents each have different roles. This could be explained as each parent having the job of setting different examples for their kids. Dad's have the opportunity to be worthy priesthood holders and should do so. They need to be available to offer priesthood blessings when their kids are in need. Mom's can teach their kids to be nurturing of others, which is a very important skill to have as a parent.
Watch your parents the next couple days. What roles do you see each of them accept?
What is meant by the term "responsibility"?
A responsibility is something your family can expect you will do. Kids can expect their parents will provide them a place to live, food to eat and a safe environment in which to play and learn.
A mom and dad are equal partners is raising their kids. Equal doesn't mean identical. Each parent will have different roles and responsibilities but as a couple works together, they can discuss the ways that work for their family. It's like looking at a chair. There are 4 legs, a seat and a back. Each member of the family is a part of the chair which makes it functional and comfortable.
Your parents both have roles and responsibilities. Identify what you see in your family. Are these similar to the proclamation or does your family adjust a little to make it work?
Try to figure out the difference between a role and responsibility as you watch your family.
Record your answer in your journal.
Being spiritually self-reliant will help your through this life. If your faith and knowledge of the gospel is strong, it can help you through trials and others will look to you as an example. You will also be in a position to help others who are struggling.
Always have a prayer in your heart that you will be able to share your testimony with those around you who need your support
Things to ponder:
Who has inspired you?
What did they do to be inspiring?
How can you help someone else feel that way?
Pray about how someone in your family might need to be inspired by you. It could be by example, or by something you say to them as you use great conversation skills. It could also be by you sharing your journal from these lessons with them.
Sometimes it's hard to know how you feel about religious topics. They don't always make sense, right? If you hear something you aren't sure about, ask yourself what you think about it instead of how you feel. If you think about it first, your feelings might make more sense later.
The covenants we make in the temple are the ones we need after we die. As we attend the temple on a regular basis, we are preparing for eternal life and the time when we meet God again.
We need temple ordinances to be able to reach our celestial potential and receive all the blessings associated with eternity.
Temple work needs to be done on earth because you need a body to do it! That's why we do work for people who have died that didn't have a chance to do it on earth.
The Plan of Salvation is also called the Plan of Love or the Eternal Plan of Happiness. It teaches that we lived with God before we were on earth and that we will live with Him again after we die. If we are part of the temple covenants, we can live with our family after we die.
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Life is hard. Relationships are hard. Remember to connect with people around you. Talk face to face. When that isn't possible, call on the phone! When you just need to get information to someone, texting is a great option. Remember, you can't build a relationship though a text or email. You build relationships by connecting with people through conversations.
Do your part to stand up to the world in not accepting violence as a part of life. That can be through video games, TV, social media and "joking around". It's not OK! Violence and abuse, physical, emotional, sexual) in any situation is not acceptable. It's not a joking matter.
Robyn has worked with kids with autism since 1995. She has seen kids in the private sector, the pubic school system and doing in-home tutoring which gives her many perspectives. She appreciates the difficulty typical teens have as they process what is important in life as the world presents confusing information. She tries to connect the sensitive time period (teen years) that is sometimes compounded by autism, PDD, ADD or a variety of other challenges.