As a Young Women presidency, we believe youth today are strong and noble and have great potential to be a force for good in the world.
Perhaps that's why concern for our youth, the issues they are facing and the importance of strengthening their testimonies was a dominant theme in April 2010 general conference.
Prophets speak for today. We must point our youth to the messages specific to them. But we can't stop at just listening to their words, we must help them act on the counsel of our prophets.
In his address, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve taught us how we can do this: "In these perilous times it is not enough for our youth to merely know. They must do. Wholehearted participation in ordinances, quorums and auxiliaries, inspired programs and fortifying activities helps youth put on the whole armor of God. Will we help them put on that armor so they can withstand the fiery darts of the adversary? To truly choose the Lord's way, they must know His way. And to truly know His way, we must teach and lead them to act, to participate, to do."
Elder David A. Bednar also emphasized this principle: "As gospel learners, we should be 'doers of the word, and not hearers only' (James 1:22). Our hearts are opened to the influence of the Holy Ghost as we properly exercise agency and act in accordance with correct principles — and we thereby invite His teaching and testifying power. Parents have the sacred responsibility to help children to act and to seek learning by faith. And a child is never too young to take part in this pattern of learning.
"Giving a man a fish feeds him for one meal. Teaching a man to fish feeds him for a lifetime. As parents and gospel instructors, you and I are not in the business of distributing fish; rather, our work is to help our children learn 'to fish' and to become spiritually steadfast. This vital objective is best accomplished as we encourage our children to act in accordance with correct principles — as we help them to learn by doing.
"'If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God' (John 7:17). Such learning requires spiritual, mental and physical exertion and not just passive reception."
As parents and leaders, what can we do to help our youth become "spiritually steadfast"?
We can help young women desire to learn and actively seek learning as we:
Help young women prepare to learn (Alma 32:27)
Discover their questions relative to the doctrine or principle or a conference message being taught.
Invite them to share thoughts on the message or a question that is relevant to their lives.
Have them study a conference talk, read a scripture, review a standard in "For the Strength of Youth," to get them thinking about the message.
Provide opportunities for young women to teach one another
There are many methods that invite learner involvement in teaching (See Teaching, No Greater Call (pages 89-90). For example:
Have young women assist in teaching the message in a family home evening or Sunday lesson.
Have paired or small group discussions.
Invite young women to share personal experiences.
Play learning games or role-play situations where the principle might be applied.
Invite young women to act
Tie conference messages to Personal Progress and do the experience with them.
Use family home evening and mutual activities to practice and expand their learning.
Help young women develop a plan to apply principles in their daily lives.
Invite young women to report on their experiences at a later date, activity or class.
We want our youth to be riveted on the teachings of the living prophets. We believe as we give youth opportunities to prepare to learn, teach one another and act on these teachings, "the power of God [will work] miracles in them, they will be "converted unto the Lord and never [will] fall away." (See Alma 23:6.) More about these principles of engaging youth may be found at: www.youngwomen.ldschurch.org.