FHE Lesson #13

August 23, 2009 | 16 comments
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Lesson #13: Faith in Jesus Christ

Write the following on separate strips of paper: Noah builds a boat, Moses parts the Red Sea, Joshua marches around Jericho and the walls fall down, the widow of Zarephath gives Elijah her last bit of food but finds more, a sick woman touches Jesus’ hem and is healed, the woman at the well learns from Jesus and becomes a missionary herself. Let each family member (or: team) draw one and act it out and see if the rest of the family can guess the story. (Give hints as needed!)

Ask: What do all of these stories have in common? Point out that in each one, the person had faith.

For each story, discuss: how did they show their faith? (For example, Noah built the boat before the rains came, Moses and the Hebrews walked through the Red Sea with walls of water on either side, etc.)

Discuss: Where does faith come from? How do you get it? What is it good for?

16 Responses to FHE Lesson #13

  1. Matt W. on August 23, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    We’ll probably do this tomorrow, but I also want to talk about what doubt is and how it counteracts faith. any thoughts?

  2. Julie M. Smith on August 23, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Interesting, Matt W.

    Can’t remember exactly how old your kids are, but with mine, I’d probably talk about 1 Nephi 11:16-17. Nephi didn’t know what was being thrown at him (“condescension”–perfect, since my kids probably don’t know what that means either!), but it didn’t stress him out . . . he just decided to focus on what he -did- know: “I know that he loveth his children.” I think this is a model for us–we don’t have to know everything to know some things.

    Maybe you could give the kids a TV remote and explain that they don’t have to understand the electronics behind how it works in order to know how to turn on the TV. Similarly, we don’t need to understand everything to understand some things.

    On the other hand, if you refused to use the remote until you understood enough about how it works to make your own, you’d miss out on a lot of TV. ;) We shouldn’t let doubt paralyze us from acting.

  3. Matt W. on August 23, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Very cool. My oldest is six and has been asking a lot of questions lately about whether God and Jesus are real or not. I’ll return and report.

  4. Julie M. Smith on August 23, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    My report is that charades was a huge hit, even if we did have to explain that Noah most likely did not curse after hitting his thumb with a hammer. :)

  5. Zack on August 24, 2009 at 10:50 am

    It seems important to emphasize that while “faith” is important, it is not one of the first principles of the gospel. That would be “faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ” which is the only kind of faith that leads to salvation and eternal life. I imagine that faith Jesus Christ was an operative element in all those stories, but I’ve always found it somewhat problematic that we conflate all types of faith while faith is a rather compartmentalized concept in much of strict Mormon theology.

  6. Julie M. Smith on August 24, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Zack, I had given that very issue some thought while preparing this lesson, so I appreciate your thoughts. The issue was complicated for me by the fact that most of the easiest (=most concrete) stories to share and discuss with children are OT stories, although I did, obviously, try to work some NT stories about Jesus into the lesson.

    The next level of complication is the idea that the Jehovah of the OT is really Jesus Christ, which means that when Noah had faith in the person telling him to build the boat, he was in fact (according to this line of thinking) having faith in Jesus Christ.

    And I’m sure I’ll need to duck tomatoes for saying this, but the ubiquitous and currently very orthodox “Jehovah=Jesus Christ” teaching seems a little complicated to me by the record of the OT and early LDS teaching on the topic. I’m not entirely sure what I think of this issue, and would probably need to give it much more thought and study before commenting on it any more.

  7. Matt W. on August 25, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Julie- Here’s how it went.

    For some reason, I was trying to pick one story from each set of scriptures, so I went OT,NT, BOM (then stopped because I was losing them to the zaniness of it all) and did Moses Parting the Red Sea, The Women touching Christ’s Robe, and Nephi retrieving the plates/chopping off Laban’s head. Then I had to put my two year old in time out because she kept trying to knock me over and cut my head off more. That was a bad call on my part. So we moved on and I asked what these stories had in Common, the 6 year old answer, BTW, is that they are good stories. We then talked about Faith a little, but I wish I’d remembered to ask “What is Faith good for”. Instead, I had my wife talk about How her Faith has benefited her, but we were a little distracted by the time out, so I thought we’d move on to the remote control idea. My 6yo daughter paid attention,but mainly looked at me like I was an idiot while the two year old acted loopy (no nap). She explained that the remote works by electricity. (duh dad), and so I asked how electricity works and that was ok. I asked her if she had any questions. She did. She asked (I think) If she could go swimming this week. I asked if she had any questions about Faith. Nope.

    So then we ate cookies (with pink icing) and played Monopoly Jr and Candy land.

    Thus ended FHE.
    Then we ate cookies

  8. Julie M. Smith on August 25, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Matt, I think it would be fun to put up youtube videos of FHEs–the real kind, not the Ensign kind–with the pile of dirty clothes in the background, and the toddler upside down for most of it, and the time out in the middle of the lesson.

    P.S.–The single smartest thing I have ever done in my entire life was to *not* ever begin having treats for FHE.

  9. Hunter on August 25, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Julie M. Smith: Please explain the “no-treats” comment.

  10. Julie M. Smith on August 25, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Hunter,

    When we started having FHE as a family, there were no treats involved. There never has been. My children therefore have no expectation that there will be treats involved. I’m pretty sure that if I had to come up with a treat in addition to a lesson, we’d never actually get around to having FHE. My hat is off to those of you who can pull that off.

  11. Hunter on August 25, 2009 at 10:57 am

    P.S. Forgive a tardy report, but the lesson on prophets, with the choose-your-own adventure component was pretty successful. I liked that it made us mix it up a little and move around. I think the kids liked it, too; from their perspective, it certainly beat sitting there listening to mom or dad lecture at them. Oh, and I really liked how the destinations applied to the subject matter (i.e., the homework area for “education,” the TV area for “media,” etc.). This was good. Thanks.

  12. Hunter on August 25, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I’m intrigued by the no-treats thing. In principle, I could easily get on board with this idea (in practice, it’s probably too late for us, though). What about the admonition to make FHE an enjoyable time? What things do you do to keep FHE from being just another lesson from mom and dad? How do you make it pleasant?

    Again, I like the no-treats thing. Kids shouldn’t have to always be bribed to be well-behaved.

  13. Matt W. on August 25, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Treats are not a bribe, they are just part of the program. We invite other families over a lot for FHE, and they started bringing treats, so there you go. Now I have treats for everything. I bring food for the Young Men at church every week.

  14. Hunter on August 25, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Ha! We have treats all the time, too. And I almost always, always bring treat for the Young Men in our Ward, too. [laughing]

  15. Julie M. Smith on August 25, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I never thought of the FHE treat as a bribe. (Although I am all about bribes and frequently bribe my kids.) It just seems like a lot of work, so I don’t do it. I’m lazy.

    I try to make it pleasant with fun lessons/activities. My kids are interested in discussing gospel topics (read: challenging us with tough questions) and we keep it very brief.

  16. Mike on August 26, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Probably not appropriate for smaller children, but one of the things I was told, as a rather overzealous, arrogant and 100% certain young teenager was a quote attributed to B.H. Roberts:

    “Faith without doubt is no faith at all.”

    Most small children pretty much believe everything they are told by those who care for them. Everything is a matter of faith for them. They ask why, but they believe. As we mature it is normal to explore and question and verify or doubt many of the things we previously believed.

    In my opinion too much of the LDS correlated material interfers rather than augments this process. We end up with adults who have child-like faith in gospel principles (and even perhaps with advanced degrees in other fields) but who are a perfect set-up for the “Journey of Discovery” that leads them too often right out the front door of the church. How and when to teach children critical thinking skills so that they acquire the full benefit of the “Innoculation Effect” without undermining their faith is a difficult challenge.

    PS: On the subject of treats (a skirmish I lost), our ward tradition is to give children treats at church during/after almost every meeting. So even if the Julies of the church manage to prevent that expectation from forming in connection with FHE, if they lived in my ward, the sunday meetings will eventually undermine this nonexpectation of any activity at home that resembles church.