I’m a little behind on my blogging due to our family vacation this weekend. We drove up to Shenandoah National Park for our annual weekend in the mountains. Yesterday I was so sore from hiking I could barely move. Normally I teach standing, but yesterday I had to sit for the whole lesson. OUCH.
For our first hike this year, we hiked to Little Stony Man and around the ridge to Stony Man and then back down to the parking area. It was kind of a last minute decision, and the sun was setting….. not wise. While Jared went down Little Stony Man to get the car and move it up to Stony Man parking, the kids and I raced around the ridge to Stony Man to get there before the sun set. I was already sore, but the next day we decided to do a 5-6 miler down to the White Oak Canyon Falls. We didn’t go all the way down to the lower falls, but we were within a quarter mile of the bottom before we decided to turn around and go back up. That trail is A LOT and I mean ****A LOT**** of stair stepping. It was fierce.
We also visited Endless Caverns instead of Luray. We really liked it — especially the price. Luray has gotten out of control with their pricing. It costs as much to visit Luray as it did to visit DisneyWorld last time I was there. That’s bananas, girl!
I just love visiting the mountains with the kids. It’s been our family tradition since we moved to Virginia. We always stay at Skyland. We always hike Stony Man. This year I didn’t bother bringing food because I was so busy getting some last minute posters ready for our upcoming Fall Festival and Stake RS Preparedness Fair. It was kind of a nightmare, but at least they’re done. The RS one is lame, but the Autumn Festival turned out pretty well, I think:
Well, now for the real reason you’re visiting: Seminary. I guess I’ll start with yesterday and today’s lessons, and maybe catch up on last week’s lesson later.
To kick off this lesson, I used an idea from the manual, where I had the kids write down two words that best described Abraham, and two words that best described Heavenly Father as described in Genesis 18: 16–33. We went around and shared our words, which seemed to work out really well. We’ve been really focusing in on Abraham’s character over the past few lessons. I have really come to love Abraham as I’ve studied him in more depth these past few days. And we’re not even to the sacrifice of Isaac yet!
We spent about 10 minutes having the kids summarize chapter 18 from their reading. I drew names from the prayer bucket and had written up a 1-2 word per line outline on the board with the main points for them to follow. It looked something like this:
– angels visit
– Abraham negotiates
– angels visit
– Lot’s girls go bad
The kids did the first section, and as it happened my name came up first on Genesis 19. I almost put my name back, but I’m glad I didn’t. I started describing the angels visit, when one of the kids piped up: “I want to see SISTER SMITH do to ‘hospitality’ .”
So I took up the challenge and owned my summary of the scriptures. Now, my kids do a really good job summarizing the material. An exceptional job, really, especially considering their ages. But naturally, I’m better. Jaws were hanging open as I pointed out the nuances of what was happening, boldly described to them what “know them” meant, and plunged right into the Lot-throws-his-virgin-daughters-under-a-bus part. I paused here to ask who had read the footnotes for this section, (the JST appendix part). Just one. I was a little disappointed — I won’t lie. I have worked really hard to point out the footnotes, and we talk about them in every class. I even stressed really hard after Friday’s lesson that the footnotes would help them understand, and I had written “read the footnotes” on the reading chart, too. They do read the footnotes that are written in now, but they aren’t looking beyond those to cross reference. That will come, I hope.
I was just getting into the icky part of the chapter, when one of the students says to me: “That’s bananas, girl!” It helped break the tension, and we’ve been laughing about it ever since. Here’s yesterday’s FB:
Anyway, you should have seen the kids’ faces when we turned to the JST in the back. Apparently this was the first time for most of them to read that section. We went around the group to read, while I provided a little commentary. The JST version isn’t very good about helping you understand who is being referenced, and I explained some of the obscure phrasing. Then we turned back to Genesis 19 and the kids marked the footnote in their scriptures. That was probably the most eager marking we’ve ever done in class. LOL.
Then we had a good laugh imagining the blinded folks hunting for the door, but it was a little scary to imagine *why* they were still looking for the door after having been blinded.
We spend a little time contrasting Lot’s delayed obedience with Abraham’s same-day circumcision. We also read the cross reference for Genesis 19:24 c (Ezekiel 16:50). That verse explains that the people of Sodom and Gommorah were fully ripe in iniquity. Not only were they perverse sexually — violent, but they were rich and didn’t take care of the poor. They were also lazy. We contrasted this with Zion (Moses 7:18).
When I first began thinking of this lesson, I thought I might hit the homosexuality aspects of this a little harder, but didn’t when it came down to preparing the lesson. I just didn’t feel like I had to hit that very hard with this group. Friday is my free day this week, and I may spend 10 minutes or so on the Church’s statement about homosexuality: The Divine Institution of Marriage or the statement about the Church supporting non-discrimination ordinances.
If I ever cover this material again, I will separate 18 and 19 into two separate days. The manual had some good ideas for teaching patience based on Sarah’s experience that could have been a much longer lesson. We did touch on it, but more could have been even better.
In looking at my reading chart, I decided there was absolutely zero that I wanted to cover in Genesis 20. I was just telling my students to ignore the chart and read Genesis 21 instead, when my class president piped up that Gen 20 was her favorite. *blink*
Now that’s the chapter where Sarah tells Abimelech that she is Abraham’s sister and the Lord comes to Abimelech in a dream to tell him the truth. It’s interesting. But favorite? Anyway, I asked her to come ready to summarize that chapter in the morning and tell us why it was her favorite. She did do that today, and aside from getting it a little mixed up with the Pharoah/Sarah thing, she did a good job. This particular section struck her as funny, which was why it was her favorite.
I opened the lesson by doing a variation on the object lesson with the ‘v’ shaped lines in the manual. We talked first about Lot and Abraham and how behaved when the Lord gave them commands. I pointed out again how Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom, and then finally moved right into the city. Then he “lingered” when it was time to go. And his decision affected his wife and children, too, apparently. I had two kids do the walking part of the object lesson. We talked about how much easier it was to choose at the beginning to stay on one path and discussed the importance of making good choices about our paths when we are young. There were a couple of times during this discussion where I could tell the information was sinking in. I was glad I kind of back-tracked to cover it.
After reviewing Genesis 20, we summarized Genesis 21 briefly. We talked about how Abraham’s family, even Ishmael, was blessed because of his righteousness. I asked them if they thought their families would be blessed because of their righteousness — future and present. *pause* They were definitely getting it. I also showed them the cross reference to Galatians 4 that described a little more about what exactly was going on with Ishmael and Isaac — explaining the seemingly extreme punishment. They had some questions about Hagar stuffing Ishmael under the bush, so I just explained that it was hot, they were out of water, and Hagar didn’t want to watch her son die. So she put him in the shade and went away to die herself, when the well appeared.
After this I spent the last few minutes letting the kids do the name game.
Today we sang “Who’s on the Lord’s Side, Who?” for opening and closing (since most didn’t know it) and I can’t get it out of my head now. :)