Monday, December 14, 2015

December 13 - Building the Kingdom of God in the Latter Days: How Can I Become a Better Leader?/How Can I Serve More Effectively?

Yes, it's another of those "These lessons are SO GOOD that I want to teach ALL of them ... but there are more lessons than there are weeks in the month! What can I do? COMBINE THE LESSONS!"-type lessons.

We started class by reviewing a little of what we had covered last week ... principally by reiterating that being a good teacher mainly comes down to a few, simple concepts:

  • Show love, kindness, and concern for those you teach. They'll feel that.
    (Just like in the talk that [Student] gave that morning, when he talked about how we should strive to "serve the Lord with love" from Thomas S. Monson's conference address, "Come, All Ye Sons of God." -- And [Student], regardless of how you feel, you really DID deliver a very good talk. ... If it makes you feel any better, my favorite part of when I'm assigned a talk is when it's over. I can handle talking in front of small groups, or even performing in a play for larger groups ... but giving a talk? That's more challenging. I totally get it.)
  • Make sure that you're familiar with the material. The Holy Ghost IS the teacher, yes, but it's best if we prepare ourselves so that we are able to be open to and recognize that inspiration as it comes. (And, like you mentioned about some of your lesser-enjoyed teachers, when an instructor hasn't prepared, it's rather obvious. And students will get the feeling that they're not important enough for you to put that time in. Which is totally untrue -- you all are AMAZEBALLS and totally worth it. ... It goes hand-in-hand with loving those you teach and showing that love for them.)
  • This point should probably have gone first ... hm. BUT!!
    Jesus Christ was a perfect teacher. He KNEW his audience. He KNEW what they needed to learn. He KNEW how to best reach each individual. We can strive to, with our Heavenly Father's help and the aid of the Holy Spirit, become teachers like Him.
For this week's lesson, we focused (or made the attempt to, right?) on attributes of effective leaders ... the leaders we aspire to be as member missionaries, Visiting/Home Teachers, future full-time missionaries, future parents, future employees/employers, and ... well ... as good citizens, too.
  • Like you could have guessed (even if you weren't in class ... and we missed a few of you!), Jesus Christ is a perfect example of a good leader. See the attributes listed below:
  • Good leaders show love.
    Even when someone really screws stuff up, as soon as we reprimand/correct him or her, we need to show an outpouring of love for that person. So that (1) the sting of being corrected is lessened and (2) they know that they are loved -- that you're not just being a jerk and picking on them. (Doctrine and Covenants 121:43 ... though, really, verses 34-46 are awesome as far as learning to be a good, Christlike leader.) 
  • Good leaders delegate.
    We can't do EVERYTHING that needs to get done on our own.
    And, when we delegate, we need to trust and assist those we delegate to.
    Allowing them to fulfill their assigned duties (even if it's not PRECISELY how we'd like things to get done) allows them to grow and develop talents. 
  • Good leaders serve those they lead.
    Again, think about Jesus's example. Most of his mortal ministry was spent teaching and serving those He led. We should do the same ... since, as we serve, we are developing charity and compassion more fully ... which will help us to be better disciples of our Lord and Savior. (Which will help us be better people and make the world a better place. So it's a totally win-win scenario.)
  • Good leaders serve in righteousness.
    Back to Doctrine and Covenants 121: 34-46. Like you didn't foresee that coming up (Well, maybe you didn't. If so, then, SURPRISE!).
    Good leaders lead gently. They do not force people to do what's right. They allow everyone in their stewardship/care their own moral agency.
    Just because you are ordained to the Priesthood/a member of The Church/have a highly-visible calling/are related to someone in a "big" calling ... none of that really matters. Remember, God loves everyone equally. We need to be patient with others, to learn alongside them.
    Let us lead and serve because we WANT to do what's right ... not because we want to be able to boss folks around. ... That's why the primary song says "lead me, guide me ..." and not "boss me." :P
We also discussed, since it does very much go along with Christlike leadership, serving more effectively.

We talked about how, especially as parents ... but also as friends, family members, and missionaries, we have a responsibility to be an example, to serve, and to teach those around us ... just like Jacob and Joseph (Nephi, Sam, Laman, and Lemuel's little brothers), because we don't want them to make bad choices out of ignorance.
Especially in the case of our children, if we do not fulfill our duties as parents, their sins will be upon us. (And, I don't know about YOU, but I'm far too aware that I screw up enough that I don't need anyone else's transgressions and sins on me. I have too many of my own. Trust me on this.)

We discussed how, of course, Christ is our perfect example ... but King Benjamin is also an awesome leader/servant for his people. He was aware that he was chosen by the Lord to be a king and a ruler. He was also VERY aware that he was called to "serve you with all the might, mind and strength which the Lord hath granted unto me."
He knew that it wasn't going to be easy. He worked, right along with his people. They weren't expected to support him financially at all. And he made sure to make righteous choices (both for himself and those he was entrusted to rule over).

When we choose to lead by serving those we're called to care for, we're following in the footsteps of the Savior. 

There are a lot of other really great things you can read, that we didn't have time to fully discuss in class.

"Here to Serve a Righteous Cause" - Carol F. McConkie

"The Savior's Call to Serve" - Thomas S. Monson

Doctrine and Covenants Section 4 - You'll be memorizing this as missionaries. Might as well get a jump on it now. For a chapter/section, it's not very long.
If you want, you can ask Brother Cox to recite it for you. It's been a few years since his mission, but he STILL KNOWS it. (It's pretty cool, actually. He's a much better scriptorian than I am. THAT'S what happens when you study the scriptures, though. See? I have lots to work on! Be better/smarter than I was. PLEASE.)

Also, please be aware that when you're acting on the Lord's errand (whether it's missionary work, Home or Visiting Teaching, a Church calling, leading your family, or just serving those around you), you WILL be led by the Lord. You WILL receive what you need to know/do. He's on your side. He loves you. He wants you to succeed.

I loved hearing how, last week, you all had some opportunity (that you chose to take) to help be a good teacher to friends or family members. When you share your time, talents, and energy with them, they can feel your love for them. And that makes them feel important. It helps them know that they matter. And I'm very proud of your efforts, of YOU as individuals.
Truly, you make it very easy and fun to be your teacher. I'm very blessed (and aware of it!) that I have a class full of teachable, intelligent, kind, and caring students who are willing to participate ... and who are taking it upon themselves to learn NOW very important lessons that will make you better people, better citizens, who will be prepared to make the world a better place for yourselves and those who are blessed to come in contact with you.

If you can't tell, I love you, my class, very much.
And I'm not allowing myself to think about how in a few more weeks, I won't have most of you in my class. Because that's just too sad. (But I'll still get to see you at church. And most of you are on Facebook or Google+. So it's not like I won't get to see you at all. And,if your teacher doesn't show up any Sundays, you're more than welcome to come to my class.)

Have a wonderful week! Go and be awesome! Look for opportunities to lead others and to serve others!
       Sister Cox

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