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Home teaching - how to teach it "correctly"?

Posted: 03 May 2010, 00:00
by cwald
Gentlemen/ladies - I'm in a bind. I have to (my words and my choice) to give a lesson next week to Elders and HP about Home Teaching. I HATE the term home teaching, and despise the way that LDS has taught this principle. Anyway, I believe in the principle of loving thy neighbor and service "outside of church", and we have some serious issues in the branch that HT could address if if was done correctly. How do I do it? I don't believe in the HT concept as taught and practiced by 80% of the church, in fact, it's insulting, that one should should up at a door on the 31st of the month just so they can say they have "magnified their calling". Yet, if I could get HT to actually CARE about the people rather than the program, we could do some serious good. Any suggestions on how to go about it? These are good people who would "do it" if I could separate the need from the culture and the term "Home Teaching." Any suggestions?

Re: Home teaching - how to teach it "correctly"?

Posted: 03 May 2010, 01:43
by Cnsl1
A friend of mine once bragged that his Home Teachers were the best because they came on the first day of the month, never failing.

I countered that MY home teachers were better because they always came on the day BEFORE.

I also hate the idea of "getting your home teaching DONE".

When I've been assigned to talk about HT, I try to encourage a small paradigm shift to simply think of Home Teaching as a process not an event. It's not something you get DONE, it's something you're involved with. That seems to help.

Re: Home teaching - how to teach it "correctly"?

Posted: 03 May 2010, 01:46
by cwald
Cnsl1 wrote:...When I've been assigned to talk about HT, I try to encourage a small paradigm shift to simply think of Home Teaching as a process not an event. It's not something you get DONE, it's something you're involved with. That seems to help.
Nice----I like it.

Re: Home teaching - how to teach it "correctly"?

Posted: 03 May 2010, 03:38
by SamBee
HT was off putting for me. I was embarrassed both at the state of my house, and not really confident enough to go and do HT myself while I had doubts.

Like many other things in the LDS, there wasn't really enough room for discussion. You're expected to parrot answers.

Re: Home teaching - how to teach it "correctly"?

Posted: 03 May 2010, 13:29
by Curt Sunshine
The irony is that the "ideal" for HT that is stressed actually isn't what happens 95% of the time - and it's the bastardized version that can be so stupid. By that, I mean:

We often hear that HT is done purely when someone is willing to visit more than once a month, if that is what the family needs - that it's not just (or even primarily) about a lesson, but rather about needed service. I agree with that - with the idea that HT is supposed to be about providing whatever friendly service is needed, rather than a duty we perform once a month by showing up and reading a lesson.

Well, then, the opposite side of that ideal ALSO should be preached. For example, if someone says clearly and unequivocally that they don't want to be visited, "ideal" HT should be to honor and respect that - and not visit. A card or note every six months or so asking the person to contact you if anything has changes and they want to be visited is a good response, imo.

If I were teaching the lesson, I would open with the following statement:
"I don't want to turn this into just another boring lesson on HT that is focused on causing everyone to go on a guilt trip that doesn't change anything in the long run, so I want to ask everyone a very sincere question: What is HT, really - and why do we tend to botch it so badly?"


Some of the best lessons I've ever given, or in which I've ever participated, have started in a similar way - just like when I was asked to be a Priesthood committee chairman in one ward and started my first committee meeting with:
"Why are these committees generally such a waste of time?"


That was a fascinating discussion, largely because everyone knew exactly what I meant but couldn't believe I'd actually said it.

Re: Home teaching - how to teach it "correctly"?

Posted: 03 May 2010, 16:38
by nightwalden
I pretty much don't ever use the first presidency message. It's important to cater your message to the audience. I'm in a singles ward so I don't have any kids to cater to. So I spend some time thinking about what spiritual matters have been on my mind lately and I choose one and think about how to discuss it. I try to never stay more than 30 minutes with the first 10-15 minutes shooting the breeze and the last 10-15 minutes discussing what I prepared. I think that this is effective because it earns trust quickly. I am opening up to them so that they will trust me and feel like they can open up to me and lean on me as their HT.

Re: Home teaching - how to teach it "correctly"?

Posted: 03 May 2010, 18:47
by cwald
Thanks for the thoughts and ideas. I will use it, and the opening statement, and let you know how it goes.

Re: Home teaching - how to teach it "correctly"?

Posted: 04 May 2010, 09:23
by Brian Johnston
I personally don't think there is anything wrong with visiting someone and not even teaching a formal lesson. It is FAR more important, and has more to do with the practical aspects of providing this service, to spend a lot of time forming a friendship with people. Someone who knows that I really care about them, that I am friends with, is actually going to call me when they need help. It isn't even a bother. Home Teaching, to me, should first be about CARING for the people we visit and knowing them. That's what creates community bonds.

The fact that someone reads part of an Ensign message they could have read themselves is really just a minor side dish.

This idea though is much harder. Seriously, it take so much more effort and personal investment to love people. It's easy to show up and check the box. The numbers are irrelevant though. It's the tight-knit community of people that care about each other that matters. That is what turns a ward into a family.

Re: Home teaching - how to teach it "correctly"?

Posted: 04 May 2010, 10:13
by brynngal
Most VT/HT leave with the obligatory "is there anything I can do for your?" question. Of course the majority of the time the person being asked say they need nothing. Perhaps in your lesson you can point out it is more about action, than offering. I think the best VT in the world showed up on my door step one day after I had just had a new baby, and took my older daughter for a play date. She asked where the car seat was, and said she wouldn't take no for an answer. She was gone two hours, my baby slept, and I got a much needed nap. I know it is often hard to just show up, but if you live closer it might be easier. If it is snowing, and they are busy, shovel their drive. If you make desert, and you have extra, send a plate on over. Just do things will result in more service than just asking if there is anything you can do.

Re: Home teaching - how to teach it "correctly"?

Posted: 04 May 2010, 20:57
by George
Please don't bloody me up, but I think the day of Home Teaching is finished. I think the program has run a good race, but needs to be terminated. With all the new forms of communication available today, it is so easy to stay in touch, even with less actives (maybe them especially - considering the boundary issues). I have heard home teaching has falling to 15% completed in many wards. We don't live in a agriculture world of scattered farmhouses anymore. Email, Facebook and the like can link us immediately to most everyone. I did my home teaching faithfully for half a century. I had perhaps two successes in those long years. I never once had a companion (other than my non-member twin and occasionally my dog (who stayed in the car). I sat through dozens of "icy" short meetings, when I knew my presence wasn't appreciated. I remembered birthdays, I took little desserts, I called for appointments, I'm not ugly, rude or even opinionated. It was a moment of freedom, when I told my bishop I was through. Even better, he understood and thanked me for my years of service. He did say they would make room, if ever I needed to return to the practice. We both smiled...