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Tips for living : Today: Pulling off a last-minute lesson

Today: Pulling off a last-minute lesson

Only hours remain before your Sunday School gospel doctrine lesson and you're just cracking open the manual to find your lesson?

Shame on you. No, no we understand. Although you should've been preparing a week in advance, life happened. Fortunately, there may still be time to salvage a respectable, heartfelt lesson — as long as no more time is wasted.

Here are suggestions from "Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching":

1. Pray for guidance. Ask for help to understand the lesson and to assist you to be aware of things that will make your lesson vivid, memorable and inspiring to those you teach. Object lessons or visual aids are simple and effective tools for this purpose. Write down impressions.

2. Familiarize yourself with the lesson. Scan the main points or draft an outline and be able to summarize it in your own words.

3. Think about those you teach. Consider their lives, the decisions they face and the direction of their lives.

4. Identify a few gospel principles from the lesson relevant to the class and focus there. DO NOT feel compelled to cover all the material. Find a way to personally apply those principles to their lives. Remember to be yourself and adapt the lesson to your style of teaching.

5. Stick to solid sources such as the scriptures and words of our prophets. In a 1962 address to religious educators, Elder Mark E. Petersen said, "Our authorities are the scriptures, the four standard works. Joseph Smith and the other presidents and leaders are likewise our authorities. They are our file leaders. We must teach as they do. We must avoid the doctrines which they avoid."

Finally, take a lesson from President Boyd K. Packer and do better next time: "Power comes when a teacher has done all that he can to prepare, not just with the individual lesson, but in keeping his life in tune with the Spirit," he wrote in his book "Teach Ye Diligently." "If he will learn to rely on the Spirit for inspiration, he can go before his class … secure in the knowledge that he can teach with inspiration."