Purpose: To help family members appreciate the privilege of receiving the Holy Ghost and to recognize its holy guidance.
Possible Songs: When Jesus Christ was Baptized, Children’s Songbook page 102; I Know My Father Lives, Children’s Songbook page 5; Listen, Listen, Children’s Songbook page 107; The Still Small Voice, Children’s Songbook page 106; The Holy Ghost, Children’s Songbook 105; Search Ponder and Pray, Children’s Songbook page 109; Let the Holy Spirit Guide, hymn 143; Thy Spirit Lord Has Stirred Our Souls, hymn 157; The Spirit of God, hymn 2
Possible Materials: picture from Gospel Art Kit of girl being confirmed, wrapped up like a present; An illustration of stairs for the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel (From the Fourth Article of Faith); a picture of Christ in America; Cards discussing the ways the Holy Ghost can speak to us from the discussion.
Preparation: Begin with prayer. Ask yourself how often you have experiences with the Holy Ghost. Do you feel satisfied that these experiences come as often as they should? Do you feel that you receive personal revelation to guide your life? Read the suggested scriptures and any articles listed in Resources.
Introduction: Whisper. Quietly say things like, “if you can hear me, blink your eyes. If you can hear me cross your toes.” Etc, until you have everyone’s attention. Talk about how the Holy Ghost is like a still small voice, and if we’re not listening, it’s really hard to hear.
Then make an illustration of stairs going up with 4 steps. On the bottom step, write “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Review Faith from the previous FHE lesson. On the second step from the bottom, write “Repentance.” Remind them about the lesson on repentance. On the next step, write “Baptism by emersion for the remission of sins.” Remind them that that was last week’s lesson. Ask the family what comes next (The laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost).
Pull out the wrapped picture of the girl receiving the Holy Ghost. Ask the family to open it, and then to discuss why you wrapped it and what a gift is. Discuss that we do not have to open the gift, but that it is given to us so that we can open it and use it.
Discussion: Discuss how in a previous lesson, we talked about the Holy Ghost. Have the family talk about what they remember from that lesson. Briefly discuss who the Holy Ghost is and what is his role in the Plan of Salvation. Talk about how the Holy Ghost influences our lives if we will let him. It is by him that visions and dreams and prophecies usually become, but He doesn’t always speak to us in a loud voice, in fact he rarely does. He communicates with us by:
- Warning us of danger or evil (Remind the family of the story of President Harold B. Lee).
- Giving us our testimonies (Alma 5:46).
- Helping us know and choose the right (D&C 11:12).
- Helping us understand things (D&C 6:15).
- Helping us recognize truth (Moroni 10:5).
- Guiding us in important decisions (2 Nephi 32:5).
- Comforting us (Galatians 5:22; Moroni 8:26).
- Helping us remember things (John 14:26; D&C 6:22).
- Helping us know when we need to act for ourselves (D&C 58:26).
- Giving us words to speak. Helping us understand and communicate with each other. (D&C 84:85; Luke 12:12)
- Talking to us in our minds and in our hearts (D&C 8:2-3; D&C 11:13-14).
- Causing our bosoms to burn or giving a feeling of peace (D&C9:6)
- Causing a stupor of thought (D&C 9: 9)
- Weighing heavily upon our minds, ideas that won’t go away (D&C 128:1; D&C 6:23).
Activity: Have cards labeled with the ways the Holy Ghost helps us and cards that have the scriptures. For really young children, tell of an anecdote describing each clue and have them point to the clue (I highly suggest taking quotes and anecdotes from The Unspeakable Gift of the Holy Ghost by elder Jay E. Jensen). For younger ages, have the clues already turned over, but flip over the scriptures. As a family find each scripture and discuss which clue it goes to. For older ages, have all clues and scriptures hidden.
From the Book of Mormon: Read 3 Nephi 19:9-23. Discuss how important the Holy Ghost is. They really wanted its influence in their lives! How did Jesus feel that they wanted the Holy Ghost? Note that they followed the principles and ordinances of the gospel. First, they believed and repented, and then they were baptized. Then the Holy Ghost could come upon them.
From Church History: Discuss what we need to do to feel the Holy Ghost in our lives. Remind the family that we can lose the spirit by partaking in profanity, uncleanliness, disobedience, rebellion, sin, and anger. Just as we can lose the Holy Ghost, we can choose a lifestyle that will bring Him closer to us. President Joseph F. Smith set a perfect example of what is expected of us before we can receive revelation or promptings from the Holy Ghost. Read Doctrine and Covenants 138. What pattern did he follow (Make sure to discuss pondering, asking, worthiness and alertness)? Explain that Heavenly Father has given us the Holy Ghost to help us live our lives successfully. He was not meant to be a reward for when we are perfect. Learning to be guided by the Holy Ghost is, in fact, necessary to help us reach perfection.
Activity: Show the family a small object you will hide for this game. Have a family member volunteer to leave for a moment while you hide it. When they return, tell them that he must listen to find it. Use a quiet noise, such as lightly tapping a pencil to show the child which way to turn to look for it. Make sure that the noises you make are very soft and reverent. Tap more quickly as the child moves closer to the hiding place. A variation would be to have a few family members constantly giving bad directions or just plain making noise while a quiet family member gives correct information.
Further discussion: The Holy Ghost is not the only source of promptings in our life. Satan can deceive us with his own voice. We must keep these basic rules in mind when we feel we have received revelation:
- Promptings of the Holy Ghost do not violate any gospel principles, including the agency of others.
- The promptings are in harmony with the teachings of the scripture and of the prophets.
- The promptings are in harmony with the order of the Church. See D&C 28:2,6-7
- The promptings bring peace to the soul; they do not raise doubts and questions. See D&C 11:12-14, 50:23-24
Challenge: Have each baptized member of the family write down and act on any impressions they have received from the Holy Ghost this week. For any members of the family not yet baptized, challenge them to memorize Article of Faith number 4.
We have found that if we don’t make a specific Family Home Evening night dedicated to Father’s Blessings before school that they don’t happen, so we dedicate one Family Night a year for that purpose.
A father’s blessing is a special time. It allows our children’s father to receive revelation for his children and it gives the children a feeling of comfort and peace before school starts. It also is a guaranteed time for everyone to build a relationship with our Father in Heaven, on an individual basis and as a family. And since we are building our family an individual at a time with blessings, we DO grow stronger as a family.
But what about homeschooling? Does that change things? Nope. Well, mostly nope. I am guessing it changes the things discussed in the blessing, because circumstances would be different, but mostly, we feel it’s still important to grow as a family whether its public school or homeschool. And they will be studying and learning, and could use that extra reminder that God is proud of their choice to do so.