(This is an email I sent last week to the parents of my class.)
It was Monday morning, October 6. A few members of the class showed up on time and chatted with each other. This bunch is always lively, always stimulating each other. I sat and listened to conversations and felt a little bit anxious about beginning class soon. I waited for a few more students to show up.
It was getting late, about ten minutes past the time class was supposed to start. The original lesson plan fell through, but the student who volunteered for that morning’s devotional offered to expand it to a lesson. She had a few scriptures that related to each other and suggested what she had to say might actually fill up the classtime.
We opened the class with prayer.
The next fifteen minutes were marvelous.
I didn’t have to say or do anything. The student assigned scriptures and everyone took turns reading and connected ideas between scriptures. I saw mutual respect and attentiveness and inspiration. This student asked if that was not the coolest thing, the way the scriptures interconnected, and the rest of the class agreed, and she shared her testimony.
The reverence in that classroom is palpable when someone bears testimony.
Then another student suggested adding even more scriptures to the chain. Only about six minutes had passed so far. Yes, I wanted to take up class time, but I was more interested in where the discussion would go, so I encouraged the idea. Let’s link more scriptures, I said, let’s do it.
The again students went around the table reading their assigned scriptures aloud. These additional scriptures pertained to Christ, his life, his overarching sacrifice. The words all seemed to point to the Atonement.
This student shared some inspiration from a movie she saw recently. She described a particularly poignant scene where one character takes the fall for another character’s crimes. She mentioned the scriptures the class just read.
She recounted an experience: The movie was on her mind, these scriptures were on her mind, she drew parallels between the movie and the scriptures, and the Spirit bore witness to her, as she was brushing her teeth, the power of Christ’s Atonement.
She related the story, and I felt as if I were there, seeing tears stream down her face, with a toothbrush in her mouth.
She bore her testimony, and then the Spirit bore witness to the class.
Another student expressed the class should end right then. I had to agree; I had nothing to add. I daren’t detract from the Spirit or the understanding the students had for each other. My respect and admiration for them grew even more. I quietly thanked them.
For the remaining ten minutes of class, I let the students talk about stuff not related to the lesson. I loved the way they took charge. I appreciate the way they think and constantly strive to deepen their testimonies. It blows my mind they’re in high school: they’re old souls.
And yet, before the closing prayer, the class decided to close with the hymn “O, Little Town of Bethlehem.” The students bantered a bit about who would lead the singing [and] what the starting note should be. There was not a little bit of both stifled and unrestrained laughter.
Parents, THANK YOU. Your children are an absolute joy to teach.