The Seminary Teacher!!
I am floored! I cannot even tell you how excited I am to teach seminary! Overwhelmed, sure. Terrified? Not really. I LOVE teaching the youth!
I love teaching them because they are right at the cusp of deciding who they are and which direction their life is going to go. During adolescence they are determining if they believe the framework with which they have been brought up. They are questioning everything in their search for knowledge and identity. They are honest, most of the time. And most of the time, when they are searching for something, they do so with real intent! The trick is to motivate them to search and seek for the things of God, that they establish their testimonies solidly and early.
Teenagers are my favorite group to teach! I think it is because they have adult questions and can converse and think on adult levels, but they still want to play like a child. It is totally awesome because they are fun!
Teenagers are really only a problem if you feel the need to get into a power struggle with them. Then watch out, because most of them won't back down, and they are seriously creative and sneaky about how to get to you. But if you can, as Steve Martin says in Cheaper By the Dozen, 'harness that ingenuity, bottle that energy', if you can shape and mold it without stepping on it, that is when you can perform miracles, miracles in their lives, and in your own.
My own experience as a youth was significantly colored by my family circumstances. My parents had a terrible relationship, my brother struggled with drug addiction, I had a horrible relationship with my father, and my house didn't feel warm and happy. I loved how I felt when I went to church and hung out with church people. Girls' camp for me was a huge turning point in my life. I had adults who not only showed interest in me, but also taught me, and helped me to frame life in terms of the gospel, something my parents could not do.
But the big kicker for me? Junior year, my seminary teacher. We were studying the Book of Mormon that year. She told us that she expected us to read the book. She told us that if we didn't read it, she would fail us in seminary. I took her at her word, even though it was news to me that we received letter grades for seminary. Really?! Well, I had never failed a class and I wasn't about to fail an optional (at that time it was), early morning, religion class. So I read the book. Somewhere in April or so, I had finished it. I decided to follow Moroni's counsel and advice:
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
I prayed to my Father in Heaven to know if the book was true. I told Him that I believed it, I had been taught about it, and now I had read it and I really wanted to know. I was sincere in my desire. And just like Moroni promises, I received a witness from the Holy Ghost. From within my heart, a warmth radiated out and filled my entire soul. I recognized the witness from the Holy Ghost as truth. I knew for myself that the book was true.
From girls' camp, I knew I was a daughter of God, who loved me, knew me, and cared about me, which is why I kept coming back. From seminary, I gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I had an innate desire to please God and follow His commandments, later I would learn that was a gift He had given me. With those three pieces of information and character, I left home and went to Brigham Young University (BYU) where I learned first hand about the Atonement and how to apply that to my life. I really wasn't any farther along than that when I left home, at 18.
Twenty-six years later, here I am with the opportunity to help those youth in our seminary class solidify those testimonies for themselves. Do I remember how I felt about seminary? Yes. Was it my favorite class? No. Did I love my seminary teachers? Not really. But they certainly helped me find my gospel footing.
Anyway, I am excited to learn together. And I am excited to work with the youth!I love teenagers!