Saturday, March 1, 2008

Borders- Set Your Own

Today I taught a class at a church conference for 12- 13 year old girls in the Buffalo area. The whole conference had a mall theme. The classes were named after store names. Mine was Borders (media). Then they also had American Eagle (clothes, style, modesty), Dick's Sporting Goods (health, fitness), Bath & Body Works (skin care), and Bed, Bath, & Beyond (organization- clean and decorated bedrooms). Each of the girls got a shopping bag (with their class schedule for the day on it) to hold all of their handouts. Their lunch was even served in the "Food Court" where they had pizza, egg rolls, Subway sandwiches, chips, pop, and cupcakes. It was very cute.
After I got all set up I thought- oops! Should've had the camera! If I didn't already take plenty of pictures- now with blogging I feel like I need to capture every moment! Oh well.

Anyhow, my class was on media- the different forms of entertainment we all enjoy. I started out by playing a pretty inappropriate song as they came in- and then changed it to "I am a Child of God"... an example to refer back to later on. Then I passed out brownies to everyone and as they ate I asked them if they were good. I'd made them from a new recipe that had an ingredient that I'd never used before but figured it was just a teaspoon of this "secret" ingredient- shouldn't make a big difference. They all told me how good the brownies were, and so I showed them my "secret ingredient"- 1 teaspoon of manure. Frozen faces- eating stopped- stares of disbelief. I said, It's OK- they are so good...there's just a little bad part in it...
I eventually let them off the hook and reassured them that no, there was no manure in it, but have they ever heard that before about a movie or song, etc... "It's so good! There's only one bad part, but it is so good!"

I handed out this New Era poster card to everyone with some suggestions on the back for choosing good entertainment. Obviously we have some guidance from Articles of Faith 1:13, "... If there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy we seek after these things.
In the For the Strength of Youth it advises:
Whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Therefore,
choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment
will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices.
It will allow you to enjoy yourself without losing the Spirit of the Lord.

We are encouraged to enjoy these forms of entertainment, we just need to know how to pick through the good and the bad. We discussed each form of media- music, TV, movies, literature, internet, and video games. I feel like music is the most persuasive of them all. I reminded them of the song that I played as they came in and how different that felt compared to I am a Child of God. I noticed a big difference. I honestly could feel the Spirit coming back when I put on the church song when it hadn't been there during the inappropriate song. Sometimes we think that we didn't even pay attention to the words so it didn't offend us. Music is so powerful though that it reaches your spirit even when you consciously don't recognize it. Like wise it can offend your spirit even when "you don't listen to the words".
Regarding music For the Strength of Youth says in part:
Music is an important and powerful part of life. It can be an influence for good that helps you draw closer to Heavenly Father. However, it can also be used for wicked purposes. Unworthy music may seem harmless, but it can have evil effects on your mind and spirit.
Choose carefully the music you listen to. Pay attention to how you feel when you are listening. Don’t listen to music that drives away the Spirit, encourages immorality, glorifies violence, uses foul or offensive language, or promotes Satanism or other evil practices.

We had an interesting discussion about how society's version of what is acceptable has changed so much over the years. From "I Love Lucy" days when even a couple that was married in real life could not be shown in the same bed together... to today when almost everyone is in bed together! I can think of 3 words that even in the 80's were absolutely not allowed on TV- but today are used constantly! Just because we've become desensitized to bad things doesn't make them right all of a sudden. It doesn't seem like the 80's were that long ago, but look how much has changed- and how much more will by the time my kids are adults?! Crazy!
I just feel for these young ladies... and Jillie will be joining their ranks this summer!! So far choices have been pretty easy. But 12-13 year olds are at that point where they have to be really brave. Some of their friends may not make good choices anymore and they will have to choose new friends. They have to brave enough to stand up for what they know is right- to turn it off, to walk away, to put it down. They need to trust their own judgement now, not assume that everyone is on the same page anymore. I hope my kids will stay close and look to us for guidance when these hard decisions come up. I hope we've taught them well enough.


Pam said...

Nice job, Nik. These girls have been very fortunate to have you in their lives to help guide them. How is it you were teaching them since you have been released from that calling? Nice play on "it only has a little bad stuff" with the brownies. These kinds of classes stay with youth for a long time.

Nikki said...

2 years ago I was asked to teach this class- then I was the RS chorister. They do the same conference every 2 years, so I was asked to come back and do it again.

Sunny said...

Excellent Nik! Love it1 It reminds me of the lesson Mom did in RS awhile ago. We're doing A Walk with Christ in two weeks just before Easter. I'll have to remember to take pictures and blog about it. ;)

Angie said...

This makes me miss your lessons. You always do such a fantastic job and I'm sure the girls all loved it. I'm stealing this idea for any future lesson I have to give!