There is a principle in sports called the “home-team advantage” that says whichever team is playing on its home turf has a built-in advantage over the visiting team because its players can feel the support, energy and encouragement of their fans. Parents can apply the same principles in their homes when it comes to increasing the conversion power of the Come, Follow Me youth curriculum in their children’s lives.
Teachers and parents sometimes forget that the programs of the Church, including the youth curriculum, exist to support parents as they help their sons and daughters become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a joint effort but the family should be the primary source of gospel learning and conversion. When you add what takes place at Church to home-centered learning, you can see that parents and teachers working together make a powerful “booster club” for our youth.
In order for the lessons which your youth have in their Sunday classes to increase their testimonies and become a part of their everyday lives, it is essential that they have opportunities to continue to talk about, study and even teach what they are learning. Here’s where you as parents have the home-team advantage. No one is in a better position to boost the power of Come, Follow Me than you. There are many things you can be doing.
• If you have not done so, visit the Come, Follow Me website at www.lds.org/youth/learn and become familiar with what is happening in your children’s classes. Learn about the exciting ways they are learning the gospel. Parents and teachers are being encouraged to “teach in the Savior’s way.” Study the website and the scriptures to understand what that means. Begin applying the same principles you learn from the online “Teaching the Gospel in the Savior’s Way” guide at www.lds.org/youth/learn/guidebook to your own family teaching and scripture study. In fact, you will notice that this guide is addressed to you — the parents — first!
• The curriculum is centered on nine “core doctrines” of the gospel of Jesus Christ and an additional three gospel essentials. Your youth spend a whole month studying and discussing one main topic. Be aware of what the topic is for the month. For example, during the month of February, the topic is the plan of salvation. When you know what their monthly emphasis is, you can make that the center of discussion at the dinner table, the focus of your family scripture study, family home evenings and in conversations during the month.
• A large part of the Come, Follow Me curriculum is engaging the youth in discovering the gospel through active participation. This may include gospel discussions, scripture study, sharing ideas and personal experiences and bearing testimonies, among other things. Make these activities a part of your family home evenings and everyday family life.
• Let your youth teach your family home evening lesson occasionally and share what they are learning in their classes. Nothing increases understanding and testimony of a gospel principle more than studying and teaching it. Opportunities to teach also prepare your youth to share the gospel with their friends and helps prepare them for missions.
• The curriculum is based on a cycle of “learn, live, share.” As a part of this, your youth are being asked to set a goal or work on a challenge each week. Follow up on that challenge by asking what they are working on and giving them opportunities do what they have committed to do. These challenges may take the form of service, teaching or testifying to someone, missionary efforts, or gospel study. Join them in their efforts to apply gospel principles in their everyday lives – cheer them on!
The home is the ideal setting for true conversion to the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ to take place. It is intended that the greater part of gospel learning takes place in the home with parents as the teachers and mentors.
“Parents have the primary responsibility for helping their children know Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Latter-day Saint fathers and mothers have been commanded to teach gospel doctrines, ordinances, covenants and ways of righteous living to their children (see Doctrine and Covenants 68:25–28). Children who are so reared and taught are more likely to be prepared at the appropriate age to receive priesthood ordinances and to make and keep covenants with God” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church, 1.4.1).
We will know that our youth are winning the game when we observe them keeping the commandments, praying daily, feasting upon the words of God, participating in priesthood ordinances and preparing to make covenants in the temple. The opposing team that our youth face in their everyday lives is growing increasingly skilled and strong. Our youth need all the help, encouragement, coaching and protection we can offer them.
You as their parents are their most loyal and enthusiastic fans who are constantly cheering them on to be the best they can be. Let us make sure that we keep our youth playing on the home field and not wandering “off sides” into the opposing team’s territory.
The Come, Follow Me curriculum is an inspired means of helping our children become converted to the gospel. It is intended to be used both in the classroom and in the home. The stakes are high in this competition because we are competing for the souls of our sons and daughters. Let us never forget that as parents we have the home-team advantage and with the Lord’s help we will all be victorious.