Keeping My Sanity In A GoodNCrazy Seminary Year
You Want Me To Teach Early Morning Seminary?!!
Back up… What does it mean when a Mormon goes to early morning Seminary?
When I was a kid growing up in Southern Idaho and later Eastern Utah; Seminary meant… each high school day I designated one of my classes to ‘release-time’. I was allowed to walk across the street during 3rd period and attend an LDS church run school.
Each year of High School was a different focus of study. One WHOLE year of Old Testament, then a year of New Testament each from the King James Version of the Bible, a third year was Book of Mormon and finally a year of Church History with the Doctrine & Covenants. These release-time courses are taught by LDS Seminary teachers who are employed full-time by The Church.
But most kids who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) living outside Utah and some other denser populations of Mormons attend the same 4 years of study before school each morning taught by volunteers. Our kids attend Seminary as early as 5:45AM in some places.
Bless their little hearts! Hence we call it Early Morning Seminary… because It’s EARLY!
My daughter is a senior this year and she’s completed 3 years of early morning seminary, first in Oregon attending in a church building and then shuttling and carpooling over to the high school in time for the first class of the day. After moving to the Fort Mill area near Charlotte she spent one year being taught in her teacher’s home with the other kids.
But this year… there are so many LDS kids in her high school that they had to come up with a new situation to teach them all. And when that happened they lost their old teachers.
And guess what? My Stake here in South Charlotte asked me to team-teach the Early Morning Seminary kids.
Did you hear the part about EARLY? And MORNING?
Oh I am NOT a morning person!
Plus there are over 25 kids in the class!
25 Sleepy Teenagers!
At least it’s 7AM and not 5:45AM though!
We are one week into the school year and I’ve been on my knees a lot. This year is Church History and the Doctrine and Covenants, which is a great subject. But it’s also the year of study back when I was a kid I opted for early morning so I could fit AP English into my schedule. Which also meant… um… I might have slept a lot and missed a lot of the class. (God is smiling at me right now, huh?) I’m praying that I can simply bring the Spirit into the class and let the Lord guide my words.
Two things are giving me more stress than teaching the class right now. (More than wearing a skirt everyday!) One is just making sure my family has everything they need and our relationship is strong. Especially the relationship with my husband. The second thing is keeping myself and my home ORGANIZED.
Two Books have recently spoken to me in a big way since I took on this new role as Seminary Teacher.
Often publishers send me books in the hopes I’ll read them and share my thoughts, other times the author’s publicist will reach out to me directly and ask if I might read a new book. I don’t have time to read a LOT of the offers so please know if I’ve taken the time to read and then share the books, I genuinely think they are worth your time too.
Family: The Good F word
This first book is by Troy Dunn (A Mormon Dude in fact!), I’m not a fan of the title of the book but stick with me… Mr. Dunn apparently is on the Dr. Phil show all the time (I didn’t know that). And he created a show for WE Network called The Locator, following stories where he and his company helped reunite over 40,000 people with missing loved ones.
More specifically his book is a self-help book directed at helping people make their marriages better whether you are in the midst of a marriage bomb or you feel your relationship sliding or even if you are in a good place and simply want to STAY there!
He’s all about action. Creating a “Life-Changing Action Plan”, assessing your relationship and working towards a goal. I like that. And in my world of crazy teen kid schedules, less sleep, more responsibility with this new teaching gig… I LOVE the idea of really digging deep into my families’ well-being by improving my marriage.
There is a relationship test you and your spouse can take directly in the book and a lot of examples and advice in a nearly 300 page book. Troy and his wife have 8 children and they seem to be doing something right!
Good or bad book title; this is a great book for self-evaluation of your family in todays busy world.
A Mom’s Guide to Home Organization
The title of this second book speaks for itself. I am in need of a major organizing overhaul. In many aspects of my life! –I think if my home and family were more organized it would likely help contribute to the overall health of our family relationship as well… Maybe Mr. Dunn should add a chapter from Debbie Lillard’s new book!
This little paperback book is organized into 7 categories. Areas covered include organizing your time, your home and whole sections where she teaches you how to teach your children to organize themselves. I think that is the brilliant part of this book.
Something Ms. Lillard emphasizes over and over is to start a task and stick to it before moving on to the next dis-organized chaos in your life. If you start on your personal home office space, don’t move on to the dining room even though ‘stuff’ in the office needs to move to the dining room. Completely organize one thing at a time. –Advice I REALLY need.
I love her solutions about grocery lists: keep a ‘perpetual food list’ on the fridge for quick reference. And there are several chapters devoted to helping your kids create an after school routine and help declutter your KID’S clutter, another huge problem area for our home.
My biggest struggle is our evening family routine. Right now I am the one who NEEDS to be winding down and getting to bed much earlier than is usual for us. But if the kids are still finishing homework or tracking down last minute details for projects I can’t just tell them sorry … mommy needs a nap!
I seriously think every mom needs a personal organizer. I’d like Debbie to come to my house and do a whole time/space/family makeover but until that happens I’m happy to refer to all her ideas in this book!
After a whole week of early morning seminary first I have to say I love the kids. Such a great group of fun teens. And I am genuinely excited about the coming year. Church History and all!
Second while I’m all about being silly and fun and basically waking up the kids each time I teach, I’m excited to share my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it was revealed to Joseph Smith. And to help them really learn about the people mentioned in the Doctrine and Covenants. The more I dig in and read about and learn myself the more I am gaining a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices the early Church saints made. So many even gave their lives.
I’m grateful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
And I’m grateful for the opportunity to get up in the 5 O’clock hour, wear a dress and look into the faces of 25+ sleepy teenagers. You are my heros.
(I might be lying about the happy to wear a skirt part though.)
Disclosure: Both books mentioned were sent to me at no cost to me. The links above are not affiliate links. I hadn’t even been asked to teach seminary when I received these books. I think the Lord knew I was going to be in need of extra boosts of help I didn’t even know I would need yet! My thoughts and fears are all my own.