February Young Women Lesson: Why Do the Choices I Make Matter?

light through the trees on a roadThis lesson lends itself to some interesting and honest discussion.

When talking about choices, we can sometimes focus on big, obvious milestones in the future. But Young Women are making choices right now and a lesson like this could help them resolve some current dilemmas.

I would try to approach this lesson as honestly as I could about my own experience, potentially sharing some choices I faced myself at their age. Depending on your relationship with your class and their relationship with each other, the young women may gain some insight they can apply immediately to a current decision.

PREPARE YOURSELF SPIRITUALLY

The lesson offers many resources to read in advance. What stands out to me is 2 Nephi 2:27.

Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

In many ways, our choices boil down to this decision: more freedom or more captivity.

I’d spend some time reflecting on which experiences in my own life had brought me greater freedom, and which had made me feel captive. I’d consider which of my experiences might be appropriate to share with my class, and at which points during the lesson.

INTRODUCE THE DOCTRINE

The lesson suggests inviting young women to list some choices they have made recently.

I would add this: Invite them to write down a choice they’re trying to make right now. They might be reconsidering a certain friendship or a class at school. Young women who are old enough to be preparing to move out on their own face many choices.

I’d let them know they won’t need to share this current choice, that what they write down is private, and that hopefully this lesson can give them some insight to make the decision they’re wrestling with. People are more invested in what you’re talking about when they think you’ll help them solve a problem, so chances are, your young women will listen more attentively.

LEARN TOGETHER

I love this quote about choice by Chieko Okazaki. It’s so hopeful and it addresses women directly. I would share and refer to it during my class.

“Oh sisters, dearest sisters, choose life even though the forces of death seem strong! Choose hope even though despair seems close! Choose to grow even though circumstances oppress you! Choose to learn even though you must struggle against your own ignorance and that of others! Choose to love, even though ours are days of violence and vengeance. Choose to forgive, to pray, to bless another’s life with simple kindness. Choose to build the sisterhood of the Relief Society by lifting and strengthening one another with love, testimony, faith, and service. I promise that you will feel the abundant love of the Savior.” Chieko Okazaki, Raised in Hope, Oct 1996

I would ask my young women:

  • Which phrases here stand out to you? Why?
  • What does that phrase mean to you?
  • How do you “choose hope”?
  • How do you think the choices she describes help you feel the Savior’s love?

I’d also connect this quote to 2 Nephi 2:27, which expresses some similar ideas.

The lesson lists several activities or discussion topics you could follow. Here are two that stood out to me:

1. Use tape or string to create a “V” on the classroom floor.

  • Invite a young woman to start where the tape or string meets and to walk down the “V” keeping one foot on each side. Eventually she will need to choose to walk on one side of the tape. Invite the young women to explain what they learn about choices from this experience.

I’d ask the young women to consider the choice they wrote down on their paper. Depending on the decision they make, which paths are no longer open to them? I’d invite them to make the choice in their mind and then ask themselves, how do I feel now?

This may also be an appropriate time to share my own experience with a choice, especially one I made around their age.

2. Invite each young woman to find an example of someone making a choice in the scriptures.

(For example, contrast the choices of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38–42). What were the consequences of these choices? How did the choices affect others?

I love the books Girls Who Choose God. They feature women from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon and each woman’s story is told in the form of a choice she needs to make.

I would select a few of the women, share the beautiful paintings in the book and the choices that those women made. Each story also asks a question of the reader, which I would use to lead to more discussion.

LIVE WHAT WE ARE LEARNING

The lesson recommends asking the young women how they will live what they have learned today.

To invite more thought before answering, I would ask my class to write for 1 minute (without stopping) about the choice they are trying to make. Are they closer to a decision? Is there anything else they need to know before they can decide? Which path leads to more freedom and experiencing the love of the Savior?

I’d invite them to share if they’d like to.

At the end of the lesson, I would express confidence in their ability to make choices that will bring them freedom, bless their lives, and bless those around them. I would bear witness of the Savior. And I would share that if they ever need insight in a decision they’re making, they’re always welcome to talk to me.

(Image by John Towner)

Kathy

Kathy is a writer living in Phoenix, AZ.

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