I love it. One huge change from last year is that I can sleep through the night!!!! I don't know why but my anxiety was through the roof before and every single night I taught I would get only a few hours of very poor sleep. If you've ever suffered from insomnia you know how it is: checking the clock every hour, telling yourself you'd better get to sleep or you'll be miserable. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy. For whatever reason I've been back to normal and it has made a world of difference.
As far as the students go, these kids are some of my favorites. One of them is my very own Tyce. He has been really helpful when I need something set up and always participates. We have a great class all around--I've known many of the kids since they were only 6 years old (the age Tyce was when we moved to Nevada). I am enjoying getting to know the other ones as well. As I had hoped, this age group is a million times more mature than the 9th graders I had last year. And I really do think it's age because when these kids were freshmen, they put their veteran teacher through the wringer.
We have three visitors who attend, friends of class members. How awesome is that? What a great year to come and study the life and teachings of Christ in the New Testament.
Today we read Matthew 4 about Jesus being tempted of Satan. I brought a whole orange and put it in a vase of water; it floated. I told the students that it floated because of its protective peel. I said that the water was like temptations and the peel was their resolve to rise above them. Then I took another orange, completely peeled. When I dropped it into the vase it sunk straight to the bottom. This represented what happens when they stop being vigilant--temptations engulf them and literally drag them down.
As recounted in Matthew 4, Jesus was tempted in every way by the devil himself. To withstand the buffetings Jesus fasted, sought to be with God, quoted truths from the scriptures, and finally just LEFT. As a class we discussed how to use the Savior's example in some modern-day scenarios, including:
1. A new cute guy invites you to a party with his friends. At first people are talking and having fun but then someone says they have some pills to share. Before you know it the party takes a very different turn.
("Does this really happen?" some of the students scoffed. Others replied that it did, and it happened to them. All agreed that the right thing to do was leave. Some kids said their parents allow them to use them (the parents) as scapegoats to get out of tricky situations by saying, "My mom just called and says I have to go." Others said they would tell the party goers they were dumb before leaving. Taylor D. cheekily said that he'd host a rival party without pills to see which was more popular.)
2. While you do have the desire to keep the commandments there is one you are really tempted to break. It seems like you are on a slippery slope and that it's getting harder and harder to resist giving in.
(The students related to this one. They suggested fasting for strength, going to the temple, surrounding themselves with positive people, reading scriptures that reminded them of the blessings they would receive from staying strong, and changing scenery when those thoughts came as ways to deal with it.)
3. At lunch everyone is huddled around a cell phone, laughing and talking. Suddenly someone passes the phone to you and says, "Watch this!" It is a pornographic video. You didn't enter the website address yourself but you find it hard to look away.
("Break their phone!" someone yelled. "No, you'd get sent to the dean," the class reminded him. The kids agreed that leaving immediately was the best and really only thing to do.)
4. A classmate tells you that you are ugly and people would like you better if you got a tattoo. You start to wonder if they are right.
(This was read by one of the prettiest girls in the class so it was funny. "Don't believe it, Lynsie, you are a beautiful child of God!" Tyce called out. The kids agreed that remembering who they were as children of our Heavenly Father empowered them to feel good about themselves. "My mama thinks I'm pretty the way I am!" Azia said dramatically.)
5. You are watching a movie with your friends when an inappropriate scene comes on. You feel uncomfortable and ask what the movie is rated. Your friends ask you why you are so sensitive and judgmental.
("You need better friends!" was the rally call of the class. But some suggested going to the kitchen for snacks for the rest of the movie, asking to switch to a Disney movie, or just going outside to do something else. Autumn said that as a teen, one of her Young Women leaders did just that and the entire group followed her! What she started doing was more fun than sitting on a couch anyway.)
And that took us to the end of class. I ended with my testimony that because Jesus endured temptation He KNOWS how we feel and how we struggle. As our Savior and Redeemer He will help us because He loves us and He knows us better than we know ourselves. When we fall short He is the way back.
And that's how Seminary is going so far.