Sunday, October 28, 2012
The young teacher studies the faces of her three students, certain that they are bored with the material and are only being quiet due to the promise of a treat at the end of the lesson. She recites the principles of the lesson she has studied from the manual, asking questions of the children, trying to read in their eyes if they're getting it.
This isn't working, she thinks quietly, I'm not saying the right thing.
And so she lets go of the plan -- the manual no longer matters. Her topic no longer matches the outline, and the tie-in to the lesson plan is a stretch.
But it works.
She bears her testimony of the Holy Ghost, sharing stories of when she has been protected, guided, comforted, even corrected -- that "if we keep the commandments, and promise to remember the Savior, we will always have the Spirit to be with us."
She watches as each child smiles, saying nothing. They look at each other, and back at her.
"Does that make sense?" the teacher asks the children, praying that something clicked.
"Yes," the three children say together.
To demonstrate her understanding, one of the children brings up a time when her parents where helped by the Holy Ghost to make a decision.
"Exactly!" the teacher responds, "That's exactly right."
They got it, she thinks, ecstatic, they got something.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the little girl in the class clears her throat.
"You shouldn't get married yet, teacher."
The teacher is surprised at the out of nowhere statement, and asks, "Oh? Why not?"
The children look at each other for a moment, and one of the little boys answers, "Because you need to go on your mission first." As he speaks, the other two children nod in agreement, silently but emphatically seconding his reason.
Still surprised and wondering how this came about, the teacher asks a second question, "A mission? Really?"
All three students say, "YES," together, firm and clear.
She is puzzled -- her students telling her she needs to go on a mission. Why would they think that? she wonders quietly. And in her curiosity, she timidly asks a third question, bracing herself for whatever response will be given.
"Do you think I'd be a good missionary?"
Again, the children look to each other before answering. The little boy who spoke before shrugs and says, "That depends."
The teacher laughs a little, "Depends on what?"
She is met with three solemn stares, gazes serious and sincere. Her eyes are caught by the little girl, who studies her face before speaking.
"Depends on why you're going."