Wednesday, April 2, 2008
We are rededicating ourselves to these programs
“I love the name of Personal Progress because it’s exactly what it says it is,” Sister Tanner says. “Heavenly Father’s plan is for each of us to progress throughout our lives.”
Like Primary’s Faith in God program, Personal Progress is a way to “develop a closeness to Father in Heaven. You can practice keeping commitments and learn to keep covenants,” Sister Tanner says. But Personal Progress is different from Faith in God because the goals are listed by seven categories—the seven values.
Sister Dalton points out, “As you work on Personal Progress you’ll use your scriptures, and they’ll help you feel the Spirit.” You’ll begin to better understand the scriptures, your own great worth, and your baptismal covenants. Then you’ll be prepared to make temple covenants.
“That’s why the Personal Progress book has a temple on the cover,” Sister Tanner says. “It reminds you that Personal Progress is a way to prepare.”
Parents and youth leaders now have several newly inspired tools to guide young men and women to come unto Christ.
We are their parents and Church leaders. They are the youth of Zion, a royal generation (see 1 Pet. 2:9). They rely on us to teach and lead them in the ways of righteousness. We are anxious that they will be true to the faith and lead their generation in preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We can be a powerful team for good in their lives. Several new resources are now available to assist us: Aaronic Priesthood Duty to God, Young Women Personal Progress, the Guidebook for Parents and Leaders of Youth, and For the Strength of Youth.
Aaronic Priesthood Duty to God
“In years to come, as young men advance in the Aaronic Priesthood and are ordained elders,” says Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “I see them coming to their elders quorum president with their Duty to God certificates in hand, saying, ‘I’m ready to serve the Lord.’ ”
“We want to help young men come to Christ,” adds Elder F. Melvin Hammond, Young Men general president. “The main emphasis is to develop their spirituality. It is not simply an activity program. We hope that every young man will come to appreciate the true depth of the priesthood.”
The prophet Alma’s words reinforce the new emphasis: “And now my beloved brethren, I have said these things unto you that I might awaken you to a sense of your duty to God, that ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk after the holy order of God” (Alma 7:22).
The Duty to God award requirements have been designed to help young men prepare for the Melchizedek Priesthood, the temple endowment, a full-time mission, marriage, and fatherhood. The new emphasis replaces the Duty to God program the Church has sponsored for almost 50 years and is separate from the On My Honor award.
The priesthood duties consist of such personal spiritual habits as prayer, scripture reading, meeting attendance, tithing payment, and fulfilling basic priesthood responsibilities such as sacrament assignments and home teaching. Living these standards helps young men be worthy of priesthood advancement and temple attendance.
The family activities have been organized to strongly encourage young men to serve in the home and thus prepare for fatherhood. For example, deacons are to prepare two family meals, teachers are to prepare and use a simplified budget, and priests are to submit the name of an ancestor for temple work. “We’ve tried to develop the requirements based on the maturity of the young men,” says Elder Hammond.
Young Women Personal Progress
Elder Ballard has also said: “Young women who earn their Young Womanhood Recognition award will be better prepared to serve in the Relief Society. It will help them prepare for their future roles as a faithful woman, wife, mother, and leader in God’s kingdom.”
Parents and Youth Leaders Working Together
Parental participation in these programs is now being stressed. “If parents will get involved in Duty to God with their sons, it will mean a great deal to their development,” says Elder Hammond.
“We are putting more emphasis on parental involvement,” says Sister Nadauld. “Young Women leaders understand that we’re here to assist parents, to be another voice for truth.”
We as parents can play a crucial role in helping them succeed by:
• Reading and pondering the Guidebook for Parents and Leaders of Youth.
• Obtaining and studying the Aaronic Priesthood Duty to God and Young Women Personal Progress materials.
• Meeting with Aaronic Priesthood or Young Women leaders, when invited, accompanied by our children.
• Working with our children in selecting the goals or value experience and projects they want to accomplish.
• Encouraging our children ages 14–18 to enroll in seminary.
• Holding regular discussions with each of our children.
• Showing love, trust, and confidence in them.
• Offering help and encouragement by asking about their goals.
• Acknowledging their work by signing our initials in the appropriate places each time a goal is completed.
• Attending events when our children are recognized.
Elder Hales reminds us: “It is important that the youth know who they are—sons and daughters of God. It is important that they know what they are trying to achieve in life—that is, to return back into the presence of their Heavenly Father with their families. Because the youth are so blessed, it is also important that they learn and do their duty to God.”
“You have nothing in this world more precious than your children,” President Gordon B. Hinckley has told us. “When you grow old, when your hair turns white and your body grows weary, when you are prone to sit in a rocker and meditate on the things of your life, nothing will be so important as the question of how your children have turned out.” 2 As parents and youth leaders, we can make a tremendous difference in the lives of our youth. “They are our sons and daughters,” says President Hinckley. “I hope, I pray, I plead that they will continue on the [right] path.”
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said: “I hope parents and leaders will understand that the young men and young women for whom they have responsibility have been prepared to come to earth at this particular time for a sacred and glorious purpose. I hope they will do what they need to do to help the youth accomplish that purpose.”
Posted by Adrienne at 12:39 PM