Saturday, July 19, 2014

Destiny Class

Odd moment...I was asked to teach one of the Destiny classes for Girls Camp this year.  I really thought I was too old to be asked for this venue but I agreed.  )My friends in and out of church laughed when they tried to picture me in the out of doors) When they gave me the theme (all Seuss books) AND my assigned book, The Cat in the Hat...well, frankly I was quite worried. This is not a book I have ever liked.  I don't even remember reading it to my kids altho I might have.  I set about to figure out how to present this and then, clear as a bell, the answer was right in front of me.  I had to teach this class 3 times on Wednesday morning (July 16).  And oddly, actually enjoyed it.  Hopefully the girls did as well.

Today, Jocelyn called from her Christensen Family Reunion/Vacation in Utah (aka Stepfordville), and she asked how it went.  I had told her about it and she gave me some bullet points of what this story told her, some of which I was able to use in the class.  Then she asked me to send her the class. But I don't write everything out.  I only ever have the briefest of notes.  I don't or can't bear to listen to anyone who just READS their talks so why would I expect someone to listen to me read.  Always felt that way. But Jocelyn said she wanted a copy.  This afternoon as I was making bread (Nila Eddington's bread which is always better when Nila makes it!), I attempted to assemble some sort of remembrance.  When it was all done, I figured I might as well post it here, in case I ever need it again.  Or perhaps when I might need to remind myself that I can do something like this again. Despite my age. Despite the venue.  And always I am grateful that the Lord puts things smack dab in front of me when I need an example.  Always!

Welcome to this day’s Destiny Class.  Honestly I was at first surprised at the book I was assigned because it’s never been a book I’ve liked.  I’ve gone so far as to say I hated this book and its message.  You are all familiar with Ted Geisel’s style of writing…great to learn words that rhyme, add the rhythm and then the repetition and you have the perfect book for children. 

Sister Stencil (your stake leader, you all know her?) told me I could ask to switch with someone else but I actually like to talk about things I feel so firmly about.  So today’s Destiny class is Dr. Seuss (properly pronounced with a Z and rhyming with voice…ZOICE…now you’ve at least learned one new thing today) is from his Cat in the Hat book.   As I prepared for today I took another look at this book and altho I don’t like it any better I see that it is a reflection of life and the realities we must all deal with.  So let’s begin….
Do any of you watch a TV program called Perception?  I am always amazed at how the Lord seems to send me into directions which I have an assignment like this, and gives me more info.  In this show, Daniel is a college professor with some mental health issues. But on this day, he has greeted his students with a pop quiz.  He passes out the test booklet and the camera pans the class and the students flip through the pages.  But the last page, the camera shows us, has the answer sheet attached in everyone’s booklet.  The students are looking at each other and as a viewer you can guess what each one is thinking. But only one girl raises her hand and tells Daniel that there must be some mistake…that he’s included the answers.  AHA! Daniel says.  It’s no mistake.  I did it on purpose. 

From the next part I learned that fixed into our brains that Heavenly Father has given us (since He’s given us our wonderful bodies) is something called A COGNITIVE CONTROL MECHANISM.  This thing stops us from cheating.  There is something we know as IMPULSE and something else we know as SELF-CONTROL…and these two things together is called TEMPTATION.   When we exercise self control, we end up with stronger relationships, great success at work and at school, and better mental health.

(Now remember this today.  I never answer my own question so when I ask, I’m really expecting an answer).  SO…If it is better to resist temptation why do we always find it SO easy to give in?  Discussion.

Temptation is a huge thing!  CS Lewis, who is always being quoted by our church leaders altho he was not LDS, told us that we can only find the strength of a wind by walking against it, not by lying down.  So that is in part what I hope you learn to do today and every future today.

The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat I the house
All that cold, cold, wet day.
I sat there with Sally,
We sat there, we two.
And I said, “How I wish
We had something to do.”
Too wet to go out
And too cold to play ball.
So we sat in the house,
We did nothing at all.
So all we could do was to
Sit!  Sit!  Sit! Sit!
And we did not like it.
Not one little bit.

Here’s the first big piece of information we need.  Be careful of how you use your alone time.  Have you ever noticed that when you are alone, doing nothing , that somehow you seem to get into more trouble, more difficulty?  My daughter commented to me (when I asked her about her thoughts on this book) this:  Temptation will find you at home when you are alone, guard against it.  And that’s pretty good advice.  This is not to say that every time you are alone I am saying you should be reading your scriptures or watching LDS videos. I AM saying that you need to keep finding things to do, to create, to work on, to keep busy.  Discussion

And then
Something went BUMP!
How that bump made us jump!
We looked!
Then we saw him step in on the mat!
We looked!~
And we saw him!
The Cat in the Hat!
And he said to us,
“Why do you sit there like that?”
“I know it is wet
And the sun is not sunny
But we can have
Lots of good fun that is funny!
I know some good games we could play…
 “I know some new tricks…
A lot of good  tricks.
I will show them to you.
Your mother will not mind at all if I do?
Then Sally and I
Did not know what to say.
Our mother was out of the house
For the day.”

And here we are…two kids alone, bored, doing nothing but staring out the window and no parent home.  But remember this: When Temptation knocks don’t answer the door.

Let’s discuss the War in Heaven.  Who can repeat the story?  Discussion and development of the story from what the girls might have left out.
In our premortal life, Lucifer had a grand position.  Does anyone know what his name meant?  It meant Light Bringer, or Light Carrier. But when he fell he became Satan.  In the Hebrew Satan means ADVERSARY.  So we learn a lot about this brother of ours.

So what did Satan promise? That no soul would be lost.
Did he love you enough to die for you?

But if all of us were there, and we all perfectly understood the Father’s plan, then why did some of those people , one third of the host of heaven we are told but 1/3 is only a way the Hebrews would express a vast quantity.  It’s not literal…so why did 1/3 of the host choose to follow Satan?

And again…do you see that is it EASY to cheat, to take the easy way.

So Satan promised us a fun life, promised us we could ALL return to Father.  He promised us bodies.  But how could he give us bodies when he didn’t have one himself? Whose body would he give his followers?  He could only give them OUR bodies when we give them the power to do so by choosing wrongly.  For all intents and purposes Satan and his legion are SQUATTERS.    I know about squatters.  We sold our home to a young couple who have since left the house and honest to goodness squatters live there. They don’t pay rent, they don’t pay for utilities.  And Satan and his legion are doing the same when you follow him.

Who remembers the story of the poor man during Christ’s time on earth, who was being besieged by evil spirits?  Discussion.  When Christ casts out the evil spirits, out from the man’s body, the spirits of those evil people went into a herd of swine and then where did they go?  Over the cliff!  ANOTHER THING TO REMEMBER ABOUT SATAN’S NAME AND HIS MISSION IS THAT HE IS THE DESTROYER!

James E. Faust:  Being acted upon means somebody else is pulling the strings.  As in a puppet. Show a marionette, pull the strings.  Watch out for people who try and pull your strings against the Lord’s wishes. Satan wants everyone to pull your strings, EXCEPT YOU!

Our First Presidency has said that Satan works under a perfect disguise and few recognize him.  It’s your job to start to recognize the things that come to you…if they be good or evil.
 But our fish said, “No! No!
Make that cat go away!
Tell that Cat in the Hat
You do NOT want to play.
He should not be here.
He should not be about,
He should not be here
When your mother is out!”

“Now! Now! Have no fear.
Have no fear!” said the cat.
“My tricks are not bad”
Said the Cat in the Hat.
“Why, we can have
Lots of good fun, if you wish,
With a game that I cal
Up-Up-Up with a fish.”

Show the pictures.  See how the cat is balancing the fish on the umbrella. Then he’s holding a book on his finger all the while balancing on a ball.

Who has ever tried to roll or sit on one of those large exercise ball?  How steady is that?  How many have fallen off that ball?

Satan’s kingdom is like that. That is not  a true foundation. 

Has any of your friends ever told you, “EVERYONE DOES IT…IF IT FEELS GOOD, OR LOOKS FUN THEN IT’S OK!"

Who knows that the word entice means?  Discussion.  The word entice means to lure.  How many have ever gone fishing?  Why do you bait the hook … (bait the fishing hook with a gummy worm).  Yes, if you’ve ever played fishing on a Wii, you know you gently move the pole back and forth til you feel a tug on the controller and hear a slight hum which tells you it’s time to pull out the rod with the fish for points.  But why don’t you want to go after this gummy worm? It is, after all, just a piece of candy?  Because it’s attached to the hook that has sharp points on it to entice and then ensnare the fish.  Some fish can get away but very few do.  Once hooked they become dinner.  That hook, small as it is, dangling from a nearly invisible line, is pretty powerful and is just like Satan is when we give him power.

Remove the gummy worm and attach a $20 bill to the hook.  Is this more tempting that a piece of candy?  Discussion of money and its uses, overtime, skipping church to work.

(Put the pole away)  But you aren’t just being tempted by one worm, or one $20.  (Take out the hat on which has been hung all the things that tempt us …money, gold, jewelry, music, DVDs, anything that glitters, skimpy clothes, a cigarette ad, etc…..YOU ARE BEING TEMPTED FROM ALL SIDES.


“look at me!
Look at me now! Said the cat.
With a cup and a cake
On the top of my hat!
I can hold up TWO books!
I can hold up the fish!
And a little toy Ship
And some milk on a dish!
I can hop up and down on the ball!
But that is not all

Discuss what each of those objects could represent in your life:  scriptures not read nor heeded, food not good for the body (Who is…lactose intolerate ones, gluton free, pnut allergies…  Why don’t you partake of these?  Discussion…make you ill.  These are your own person Word of Wisdom.  Boat=entertainment
It is fun to have fun
But you have to know how.
I can hold up the cup
And the milk and the cake!
I can hold up these books!
And the fish on the rake!
I can hold the toy ship
And a little toy man!
And look! With my tail
I can hold a red ran!
I can fan with the fan
As I hop on the ball!
But this is not all.
Oh, no.
That is not all.

So what do these new objects represent to you?  Discussion.  Food, beverages, could the rake be work and work ethics?  Little man=your friends.  Fan=leisure.  Still all the while balancing on that unsteady ball

That is what the cat said…
Then he fell on head!
He came down with a bump
From up there on the ball.
And Sally and I,
We saw ALL the things fall.
And that is what happens with Satan.  He will not sustain you nor support you.  How many of you have cats. Do they like to lie next to you, snuggle up to you when they want something?  And when they are done with you, what do they do?  Discussion.  They get up and leave you.

And all the while the fish is pointing out what he’s done and telling him to get out.  And just when we think the Cat is through, he arrives with something else.

But I like to be here.
Oh, I llike it a lot!
Sid the Cat in the Hat
To the fish in the pot.
I will NOT go away.
I do NOT wish to go!
And so, said the Cat in the hat,
So, So, so…
I will show you
Another good game that I know!

And what does he come in with next?  In the big red bos and came he calls Fun In a Box?
Discussion.  Thing one and Thing two.

Then, out of the box
Came Thing Two and Thing One!
And they ran to us fast.
They said, How do you do?
Would you like to shake hands
With Thing One and Thing Two.

Who remembers what the Lord tells us in Doctrine and Covenants about being able to tell the difference between the kinds of spirits?  Discussion  D&C 129:4–7. What Is the Significance of Shaking Hands?  If the messenger is a resurrected personage whose flesh one feels when shaking hands, the messenger is an angel from God. But spirits cannot clasp hands, since they do not have flesh and bones with which to do it. For spirits to pretend to an ability they do not possess would be deceit, and one who would attempt it would not be a “just man.” Therefore, the spirits of just men made perfect will not move when a hand is extended toward them.  If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him. These are three grand keys whereby you may know whether any administration is from God.

Now I am pretty sure that you probably won’t have to experience this sort of personal moment but you can apply it to the temptations that come into your life.  Look at the option or choice you need to make.  How does it make you feel?  Where is it leading you to think?  What will the outcome possibly be?  Are there any hangups?  Is there a worry?  Are you left feeling a bit odd, or disquieted?  Does it make you feel filled with joy and willing to share with your parents or your bishop?  This is good advice and one we all need to remember.

You know what happens then. Thing One and Thing Two have made a mess of the house flying a kite, knocking over furniture and pictures, even snagging the mom’s new polka dress.
Suddenly the fish (who by now you know represents the Holy Ghost) looks out the window and sees something that causes him to worry.

Then our fish said, Look! Look!
And our fish shook with fear.
Your mother is on her way home!
Do you hear?
Oh, what will she do to us?
What will she say?
Oh she will not like it
To find us this way!
So, DO something!  Fast! Said the fish.
Do you hear!
I saw her. Your mother!
Your mother is near!
So, as fast as you can,
Think of something to do!
You will have to get rid of
Thing One and Thing Two.

So Sally and her brother catch Thing One and Thing Two with a net but what does the Cat say?

Oh dear! Said the cat
You did not like our game…
Oh dear. What a shame!  What a shame!
What a shame!

The Cat boxes up the two Things and the kids try to figure out how in the world they are going to clean up their home that has been destroyed.  And the Cat, in this story, arrives with a huge machine to make everything right.
BUT KNOW THIS…When it comes to sin you might commit there’s no one else who can clean up the mess with some big machine.  When you need to repent and you WILL need to repent you will need to go through the process and the steps  will  often require great sorrow!  There is only one way to clean up our mistakes totally and that’s repenting as best as we can and then taking advantage of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Discussion.  Satan will tell you, Ooops, there’s no hope of forgiveness and will want to you believe you can never be whole again.  Do not listen.  Your shield against him always is the spirit of discernment through the Holy Ghost.  Make use of this gift that you received at your baptism.  There are saving forces you can call upon.  The Covenants you have made at baptism and later in the temple.  The Everlasting principles you learn…and where do you learn them?  YW, FHE, SS.

I’m glad you mentioned SS.  I am sure you have heard about the Stay family who recently was killed by an uncle in Texas.  There were 5 children, 2 parents. But the oldest girl, Cassidy , was only wounded, she didn’t die.  She lay as if dead til her uncle left the house and then she managed to call 9-1-1 and alert the police that the uncle was headed to kill the rest of her family.  Her grandfather related the rest of this saga:  “Cassidy was able to tell us how she did it.  She had learned in Sunday School that God has the power to send angels to protect his children in times of great need.  After she had been shot on Wednesday, she said it felt as though angels were there with her, putting their hands over the mouth and whispering to her to be quiet.  ‘I was quiet when I needed to be quiet.’ she has told us.  We have wondered in the course of the past few days whether those angels might have been her brothers and sisters.”

THIS is why you attend SS and YW and listen to the lessons prepared for you by your faithful teachers as well as parents and other leaders.    They are put there to guide to you.  Always!

Now how does this book end?  By far it is my least favorite page.  Sally and her brother have returned to their chairs, in front of the window watching the rain with the goldfish in his bowl beside them.

Then our mother came in
And she said to us tow, Did you have any fun?
Tell me. What did you do?
And Sally and I did not know
What to say.
Should we tell her
The things that went on there that day?
Shold we tell her about it?
Now, what SHOULD we do?
What would YOU do
If your Mother asked you?

Discussion on need to share with your parents or your leaders or your bishop troubling times or events and get an adult’s advice.

Lastly I passed out the Goldfish necklaces.  We are told to not draw or depict images of the Savior, Heavenly Father or the Holy  Ghost so I’ve chosen to use the fish from this book to remind you.  This necklace is very light and you won’t even notice it hanging around your neck.  But that will be like the Holy Ghost.  Light and close to you as long as you strive to be obedient and not give into temptations.  He will usually NOT yell at you.  His will be a quiet voice.  A steady voice that could shake you to your very core if you will listen.



Lin Floyd said...

how clever and fun-great lesson for anyone of all ages...good work or rather inspired presentation!

Dawn Barrett said...

Bar glad you were my first and always teacher! oxox

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