Saturday, December 19, 2015

December 20 - Preview

I'm taking a huge leap of faith that you'll take time out of your busy weekend to even glance at the blog ... but here goes!

Tomorrow will be another of those wrapping-two-lessons-into-one since these two go together so very well ... and you all usually let me get through most of the material. ;)

The lessons we'll be covering will be the Christmas lesson of "How can I share my testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?" and "What are effective ways to share the gospel with others?"

So, if you could take a few minutes to glance over the lessons and think about how you can share your testimony of Christ's divinity and how the gospel is true and ways that it's changed your life, that'd be amazing. Please think of how you can share that with us in class.

Also, can we think of ways to reach out to the other classmates who haven't been coming to church/class? Because, well, it'd be a really good thing if we let them know that we miss them, that we think about them/are concerned about them, and that we love them ... and, even more importantly, that Jesus and Heavenly Father love them.

Have a wonderful Saturday! I'm looking forward to hearing your ideas and your reports about your experiences leading and serving during this last week!

Make me proud! (But not in a pride-is-a-sin kind of way. Ha ha ha.)
     Sister Cox

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!!
    WE SHOULD LOOK TO THE SAVIOR AS OUR PERFECT EXAMPLE.
    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

Sunday, December 13, 2015

December 6, 2015 - Building the Kingdom of God in the Latter Days: How Can I Become a Better Teacher?

Yes, yes, I KNOW it's already NEXT Sunday. Whoops.

But, well, better late than never, right?

This was in interesting lesson in that ... well, like all good lessons, it helps ME to learn a lot (even while teaching it).

Thank you all for your participation. Like I told you in class last week (since everyone in attendance has already turned 14), I'm really bummed that you all are going to be in someone else's class in another month. Because I LIKE you guys. (And there's also the fact that I love you all, too. Even when we're getting completely off topic and all. Because, face it, you all are very lovable. I'm keeping my hopes up that there will be some times when you new teacher needs a week off and y'all can come to my class again. Is that terribly sinful?)

So, last Sunday, we discussed how to become a better teacher ... and my one regret was that we didn't discuss more about the attributes of teachers you've loved.
(I did get to hear a lot about teachers you haven't enjoyed. And, isn't that funny ... how the bad/less-effective teachers really stick out in our memories?)

We all know that Jesus is our perfect example as a teacher.
He taught with love, with a perfect understanding of his audience. He knew how to couch his lessons in terms that would be easily understood and applied to those he taught. He understood all of the material. He was prepared. ... I mean, we could go on and on (and on and on ...).

And that's the kind of teacher we're all to emulate.

Besides going over some of the material given in the lesson, we also reviewed Brother J (our Sunday School President)'s lesson from our last combined RS/Priesthood/YM/YW lesson about having better lessons (being a better teacher/student and encouraging communication).

Here's my notes from that lesson, which we glossed over, since we'd almost run out of time!

To be a better teacher
Have students utilize scriptures moreBe more spiritually preparedStart a lesson that can be built upon in their homesGoal: strong testimoniesInvite them to return and reportInteract directly with parents, when necessaryLoveGo ye therefore and teach. Teaching comes before miracles.We are products of what we're taughtTeach and learn the gospel

To be a better student
Read the materialCome with a question in mindSpread the knowledge/Apply the knowledgeBe prepared to feel the spiritSupport the teacher/provide feedbackParticipate/Be an active listenerRespect what others have to say

To encourage communication between parents and teachers
Assign youth to report/discuss materials with their families -OR- parents actively seek for what students are learning (read the online lessons) and discuss at home.Teach curriculum as part of FHEDinner table discussion - bring church home 
Contact your youth's teachers, ask what is discussed

These are all great things that I (and you!) can work on as we are teachers and students to those around us. Just because you're not currently called to a official teaching-type calling, that doesn't mean that you're not a teacher. These skills will come in handy if/when you serve a mission (or even if you don't! "Every member a missionary!") and in your family (even if you might not have kids, you'll have family members around you. You can always be an awesome aunt or uncle, cousin, whatever). And you're not limited to teaching in those respects. You will have friends, coworkers, teachers,complete strangers, etc., around you ... and you can, through your dealings with them, bring the light of Christ into their lives.

My challenge for you all last week was to find a teaching opportunity in your life; to use that opportunity to practice being an effective teacher. Now, since I have a little more time ... I'd like to tell you about some of the most effective teachers I've had. Because they do stick in my mind.
  • I know I mention Joan, who was my main Seminary teacher when I was in high school. I've known Joan since I was three. And she is a genuinely kind and funny lady. I still keep in touch with her via Facebook. She demonstrated a love of the gospel and of her students ... even in the early-early mornings.
  • Brother Dale Kirby was my main Institute teacher. He knew his material for sure. He helped make learning very fun. He has a sly sense of humor and a wealth of knowledge at his command through a lifetime of learning. I always looked forward to his classes and (still) miss his classes very much (He's since retired from the CES. If I'm lucky, I might run into him or his wife at the temple).
  • My mom. I'd be very remiss if I didn't mention her. I mean, yes, she HAS to love me. And she really worked herself to the bone to be sure that I would be prepared for life after high school. She, as the only member of the Church in her side of the family, has been a great example to me. One of her basic lessons that's practically my life's motto is, "I love you. I won't always like what you DO, but I will always love YOU." It's really helpful and applicable to everyone in my life.
  • My high-school Theater teacher. He really helped me to learn how to more fully believe in myself (he also was a writing class teacher. That was a fun and helpful class, too). He gave me one of the best complements that I still preen over.
  • My AP English (and Photography) teacher ... not only did he teach a lot of great information, but he really let us know that he cared about his students.
  • I had two REALLY great Linguistics professors in college ... which was a WONDERFUL contrast to the first Linguistics professor that I had (as well as a Speech professor, the husband of one of those GOOD Linguistic profs. He was easily my least favorite professor. Such a contrast in teaching styles in a married couple).
  • My Shakespeare professor was an amazing lady ... as well as all of my Education Program professors. They demonstrated a love for their material and (more importantly) a love and concern for their students.
  • I'll also admit that, as a teacher's daughter, I tended to feel like nearly all my teachers from pre-school on were just honorary aunts and uncles. There were very few teachers that I haven't enjoyed (besides the two professors I mentioned above and the one Health teacher that I told you about in class. And that's because, well, none of them seemed to care about their students as much as they cared about getting their job done/getting paid. And that's just really sad).
Truth be told, I would keep in touch with nearly all my past teachers if I knew their info. Because they treated me with love and respect ... which made me love and respect them right back. And that's how I try and treat all of you. Because you deserve that love and respect as well. (And, honestly, I was nearly moved to tears last week when one of you said that you wished that I was your Seminary teacher. ... Even if I had to get up even earlier than I do now, I would do it for you guys. If I could figure out what to do with my kids during that time ... ugh. Being an adult is tough sometimes. :P) So, suffice it to say, I love you all. You're definitely worthy of being treated with love and respect. And you're definitely capable of being Christlike in how you deal with others around you. You can handle that responsibility. Okay, I'll see you later this morning/noon/whatever. Hope that you're being awesome!
Sister Cox

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Review - November 29 - Becoming Financially Self-Reliant

Last week, we talked about developing financial self-reliance ... which means, in short, we are able to take care of ourselves, (and, eventually for you) our own families, and ... after we reach that point, those around us.

We've been counseled countless times (well, you COULD count them, I'm sure ... but don't you have more important things to do?) to avoid debt whenever possible.
(Believe me, student loans aren't fun. Sometimes, they're necessary ... but they're not fun. Neither are car payments, credit card payments, mortgages ... I think I can stop here. But, suffice it to say, when the money that you're earning isn't yours to spend as you like, it's not fun. In fact, it's stressful! So, please avoid being in that situation as much as you can. I'd prefer that you not be stressed out.)

In fact, our leaders have likened being in debt to being in BONDAGE.

There's a famous quote that comes to mind:

“Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours; it never has short crops nor droughts; it never pays taxes; it buys no food; it wears no clothes; it is unhoused and without home and so has no repairs, no replacements, no shingling, plumbing, painting, or whitewashing; it has neither wife, children, father, mother, nor kinfolk to watch over and care for; it has no expense of living; it has neither weddings nor births nor deaths; it has no love, no sympathy; it is as hard and soulless as a granite cliff. Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you.” -- J. Reuben Clark

It's better to never get into debt at all. Sometimes, though, we come into it for reasons beyond our control (Emergencies, medical problems, theft, ...).

On the other side of the matter, we shouldn't work to be rich at the expense of everything else.

2 Nephi 9:30
But wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their god. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also.
 And, remember how it's stated in 1 Timothy 6:10, "The love of money is the root of all evil."

This is NOT to say that money is a bad thing. I like to think of money as a neutral thing ... we can use it for good or for bad things. ... So, if we're trying to be more like Jesus Christ, we're obligated to try and use it for better things.


Now, since this IS a church lesson, you KNOW that we will talk about tithing.
We're blessed when we pay our tithing. It is a sacrifice that we make. It brings us closer to God. And, when we choose to obey this commandment, we open ourselves up to more blessings. They won't ALWAYS be financial/temporal ones ... but they often are.

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
(Malachi 3:10-11)

We are not limited to paying tithing ... we also are blessed to have the opportunity to pay a generous fast offering and to donate to many worthy causes.

Which is another reason it's good to make sure that we are productive ... so that we have the ability to help our neighbors (nearby and on the other side of the world). If we are able to take care of the needs of ourselves and our families, we will have more opportunities to serve others.

 Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.
 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.
  (Jacob 2:17-19)
If we have sufficient for our needs, it enables us to serve others. One of my past callings was being the Compassionate Service Leader for the ward. One thing I did was help arrange meals for sisters/families in need (either due to sickness/injury or when a baby arrived in the household). Sometimes, due to financial hardship, I wasn't able to extend some of these service opportunities to some sisters. Which was sad, since I KNEW that these sisters would have been very happy to serve ... but, at the time, they just couldn't.

Of course, that helped me to have greater sympathy and love for them.
And, I'm sure it helped them to develop a greater appreciation of the opportunity to serve. So it's all good.

Please do be aware that, in your life, there will be times when you serve and times when you will need to be served. Be gracious in accepting charity from others. And, when you're able, you can pass on that charity in your generous service to others.

When we develop Christlike love and compassion for others, we will want them to be able to be self-sufficient. This way they can have the satisfaction of the joy of work. It's rather disheartening to know that you are dependant upon others for your needs. We can help those around us achieve that independence.

We talked a bit about the Church Welfare Program and how it differs from most welfare programs.
With Church Welfare, those who are provided for are encouraged to work (either immediately or to help pay things back when they're able). We don't want to give a hand-OUT, but a hand-UP. We want to enable people to gain/regain the ability to escape debt and to be able to provide for themselves and their families.

Brother O, who joined our class this week, was able to give examples of how some bishops have used fast offerings to help those in need ... as well as some times when the bishop had received revelation that this wasn't a good use of Fast Offering Funds (and so refrained).

When we are able to be provident (meaning that we're able to be self-sufficient [while maintaining humility, since we will always be dependent upon God]), we will be able to assist others in their efforts to rise out of debt, homelessness, and their other temporal trials.

Alma 1:29-30
And now, because of the steadiness of the church they began to be exceedingly rich, having abundance of all things whatsoever they stood in need—an abundance of flocks and herds, and fatlings of every kind, and also abundance of grain, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things, and abundance of silk and fine-twined linen, and all manner of good homely cloth.
And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.

What a wonderful world this would be if we were able to become self-sufficient and then, with the surplus that will arrive through the Lord's blessings, we blessed those around us, near and far ... helping them to also become self-sufficient.

When we help others, we are showing our thanks to God for His many blessings.

If you need some ideas of ways to help bless others, here are a few:

  • LDS Charities homepage has lots of wonderful information, ideas, and opportunities listed
  • Pay a fast offering (We're limited to 10% of our income for tithing. But you can always give more as a fast offering)
  • Other charitable donations (Humanitarian Service, Perpetual Education Fund, Missionary Fund, Temple Patron Fund)
  • Find volunteering opportunities
  • Create little care packages for the homeless around the community 
But, do remember, PLEASE make sure that your needs and the needs of your family are taken care of before you take on the world. The goal is to be self-sufficient, so that you CAN help others. You can't pull others out of a hole if you're down there, too (You might be able to give a boost, yes, but if the hole's too deep? It's not going to work. Everyone's just going to get frustrated. We don't want that.)

As we're in the Christmas season now, I'd like to challenge you to look for opportunities to serve and to share with those around you.

Now, go out there and be awesome!
       Sister Cox




Review - November 22 Lesson - Goals and Making Your Own Decisions



Yes, yes, I know ... it's been a while since I updated this.

HOWEVER, since none of you had read this anyways, I didn't feel TOO guilty. :p

Okay, so we were still working on Spiritual and Temporal Self-Reliance. And, with my awesome friend, Brooke, visiting class, we talked about making your own decisions and (mostly) about setting goals. (We also had Bishop drop in ... just to make sure that we're doing fine. Which, again, makes it so that we have had visitors in all but, what, two or three classes that I've taught with you all. ... If I were a less confident person, I'd wonder if they didn't trust me! :P)

A great thing is to set those big goals that you MIGHT want to do NOW.
This way, you work towards them ... even if you change your mind, you still have the basics prepared, JUST IN CASE.

Example: You might want to serve a mission. Or get married/sealed in the temple. But you're not TOTALLY sure on that.

What's the harm, then, in going forward with that goal in mind?
By preparing, just in case, you're going to be setting smaller goals/habits. And what habits will those be?
  • Daily prayer
  • Daily scripture study
  • Exercise
  • Living the Word of Wisdom
  • Avoiding pornography/living the Law of Chastity
  • Service
  • Being able to cook and clean up after yourself
  • ... I'm sure there's more, but, well, it's not even 5:20am as I'm typing this. My brain is only starting to work. Go ahead and fill in the blanks. Or ask a current or returned missionary. Or ask one of the Ward Missionaries ... they'll help you to come up with more great habits to develop.
Okay, so when you look at that list, are there any of those habits on the list that are going to be detrimental to your well-being? That will be a total waste of time?

(Truly, I'm looking at that list and just thinking, "Gosh, I need to/could strengthen, like ALL those skills. And I'm getting kinda old. And I've been married for a while ... Daaaaaaaang.)

Also, most of you are getting ready for future education or starting your careers (hey, you can totally get a summer job. Even "just" babysitting or helping with yardwork or something).
You can set yourself up for success in those fields with goals. 

You can choose NOW to decide to:
  • Be honest (because that's a GREAT skill in everyone ... and especially in an employee or boss)
  • Study hard now, so that  you'll already have some basic knowledge for college AND you'll have awesome habits that will help you perform well in college or in the workplace (a lot of professional job require that you continue to receive education or training).
  • Try new things ... an example from my life: when I WENT to college, I didn't declare a major at first. I thought about majoring in history ... but I ended up being an Education major (for early childhood and elementary grades) ... I figured, at that point, it'd be useful for when I was a mother. ... Now, it's a great major. I had lots of wonderful classes and met some really awesome people ... but I also learned (right before I graduated) that I really have no desire to teach in a classroom professionally.
    Does this mean that my education and time and effort was wasted? Oh, heck, no! I learned some great skills, read some wonderful books, and ... after being completely burnt-out at the end, discovered that I really loved volunteering and working in libraries (so, if I go to get my Masters degree, it'll be in Library Science).
  • Develop new skills ... maybe, like me, you'll find that you lose your passion for something that you've prepared for. Still, if you have some great skills, you can list those on your resume. Who knows? Maybe because you have a certain set of unique or (seemingly) unrelated skills, you will be able to get that awesome job you've applied for.
You can have overall goals, too ... just the fun types. Or the less "fun," but still really important ones:
  • Owning your own home (Equity isn't exactly glamorous ... but it's nice to have.)
  • Buying a car (Especially if you're able to pay cash for it. This way you don't have to mess with a car payment. Currently, we don't have a car payment. It's lovely to NOT be paying over $200 a month. More money for books! Or food. Or emergencies. Or whatever we CHOOSE to spend it on.)
  • Traveling
  • Experiences (I have siblings-in-law who've gone bungee-jumping or skydiving. I'm a bit tamer than that. I want to swim with dolphins. Or manatees! Or sea turtles! Or get my SCUBA license! ... I also want to see the Northern Lights. And cosplay at a ComicCon [Doesn't have to be SDCC, since I'm not wild about crowds] ...)
It's important to have some goals of things that are what YOU are choosing to do. That you have a desire to accomplish or work towards. It'll help keep you motivated.

And, as Brooke pointed out, it's not enough to have just that one BIG goal. You need to break it up, make plans, work towards smaller goals that will lead you there ... if you just have a goal, but no deadlines/plans, it's just a wish.

Part of making goals that isn't always discussed is turning to the Lord in this.
Pray about things, especially when you're not sure WHAT you want to do.

Ask for ideas. Listen for inspiration. Act. (Alma 37:37)
Make a plan, pray about it ... and follow the impressions that you receive. (Doctrine and Covenants 9:7-9)
Be sure to conduct your life so that you CAN have the Holy Ghost with you, so you can receive his guidance.
Be proactive. Develop a desire to do good things. You don't have to be commanded about every single, little thing. If you know that you're going to be helping people and drawing closer to the Lord, it's a good thing. (Doctrine and Covenants 58:26-29)

As we develop Christlike attributes, we'll WANT to do good things WITHOUT being commanded to do them. We'll WANT to help those around us. We'll WANT to establish Zion. We'll WANT to let those around us KNOW that they are children of a loving Heavenly Father and how to return to His presence. We'll WANT to do all that we can to help ourselves, our family, our friends, and those friends we haven't made yet (or haven't remade) to prepare ourselves/themselves to be able to return to our Heavenly Father's presence.

When we get to that point, we're going to be really awesome people. Some of us have farther to go to reach that goal ... like your poor teacher, here (:P), but we're all in this together.