Our Thoughts!Can you think of anything harder to control or more important? The trouble with our thoughts is the fact that no one else sees them or hear them...so we can go quite a ways without feeling we need to fix them.
My mission president once taught us missionaries that learning to control our thought was HUGE, probably more important than even reading our scriptures everyday. " If you can control your thoughts", he told us, "you have conquered everything."
We are all familiar with the quotes about thoughts:
"As a Man Thinketh in His Heart So is He"
The youth today have so much to fight against. You know that thoughts are one of them.
We focused our lesson on this scripture:
We talked about what a garnish was. I was shocked that these cute 16-18 year old young women(two of them my daughters) did not know what a garnish was. They gave me several elusive ideas, but no one really knew what it meant to garnish.
Doctrine and Covenants 121:45 "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God"
We talked about what a garnish is with food, and how virtue can be the garnish for our thoughts- not forgetting the principle of the scripture. : "then shall they confidence wax strong in the presence of God"
Then the questions come to mind...how would be the best way to teach the principles of this lesson? What questions do they have? What do they worry about? Where do they feel most vulnerable? What do they struggle with? Where are their strengths when it comes to thought control?
Only the Lord knows the answer to these questions as the nature of thoughts are so private and really only between us and God. He knows these youth individually, and He knows what they think about. So I left it to Him, for guidance.
I bumped into something [aka tender mercy] that seemed perfect for the Laurel age girls: A talk on CD from Brad Wilcox: Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts Unceasingly. I found this in our CD shelf. Who knows where it came from or why we have it. It was perfect for this lesson.
On this CD Brad Wilcox is very animated and interesting to listen to. He lists 4 questions that youth have about their thoughts, and several ways they can control their thoughts.
I gave all of the young women a worksheet/list/hand-out paper that numbered the questions and the several points. I asked them to listen for these questions and points, and to write them down along with their own thoughts.
Brad Wilcox has lots of examples and stories to illustrate these points. These principles would also make a good youth fireside.
4 Questions youth may have about their thoughts:
- Am I normal if I have bad thoughts?
- Where do bad thoughts come from?
- Are my thoughts sins?
- How do I control my thoughts?
Tips on Controlling unwanted thoughts?
- Replace wrong thoughts with right thoughts. [this is a good place to intercede some points from President Boyd K. Packer's talk Worthy Thoughts, Worthy Music]
- Remove Stumbling Blocks [get rid of what is causing you the problem]
- Change environments [get out when needed]
- "Sunday School answers" pray, read your scriptures, go to church,etc.
- Move your body...[there is a direct relation to moving our body and changing our thoughts]
- Celebrate private victories
- Be with others doing good things