Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blessed by Mormon Teenagers

This is my tenth year teaching Seminary for the LDS Church. No, I am not one of those truly celestial teachers who arises before daybreak during the school year and, without compensation, teaches sleep-deprived teenagers the doctrines of the Bible, Book of Mormon and Latter-day scripture. I have a cushy job: I teach three classes daily to students who walk across the street from the high school to my small modular-classroom Seminary building and yes, I am paid for my efforts. So it's not been much of a sacrifice for either me or my students.

The real blessing in this has not been the pay. The real blessing has been teaching and testifying to young people, as well as having them teach and testify to me, about eternal truths.

Teenagers can be remarkably wonderful. For instance:

When the high school history teacher was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, the students prayed for him in every opening and closing prayer for the rest of the school year.

This year, one young man runs over to the building every day in order to arrive first and hold the door for each student as they enter, smiling and greeting each one out of love, not assignment.

A current freshman comes up to me after class every day to shake my hand, thank me for the lesson, and wish me a great day.

Last year a young lady shared a scripture from the Apostle Paul as part of a devotional the year we studied the New Testament and told how she had read it the night before and it pricked her heart, teaching her she must do better. When I asked if that was how far she was in reading the New Testament for our course of study, she said, "Well, actually it's where I am on my second time through." And she lives in a home where no parental example leads the way in spiritual living.

Not all Mormon teenagers are celestial--probably because their parents aren't. But the great majority I have taught respond to things of the Spirit, desire to be more Christlike, and are much, much better than I was as a teenager.

And I am blessed by them.


Becky and Todd said...

Thank you for sharing. Sometimes we forget what a blessing these teens are.

Margaret said...

Some of the kids I taught years ago I now consider good friends. I have loved watching their lives and seeing how their dedication to the Lord has borne beautiful fruit! I also had the wonderful blessing of teaching all of our kids in seminary at least some of their seminary years and I cherish the experiences we had together. Our two sweet daughters-in-law made enormous sacrifices to attend seminary, sometimes with not much real parental support. I have a fervent testimony of the value of seminary!