“For youth, there is no substitute for seeing the gospel lived in our daily lives. The stripling warriors did not have to wonder what their parents believed. They said, ‘We do not doubt our mothers knew it’ (see Alma 56:47–48). Do our children know what we know?” (Elder Robert D. Hales, General Conference, April 2010)
Here are some ideas for creating faith-building teaching moments with your teens that will make an impression on their hearts and minds:
1. Have your teens teach regularly from “For the Strength of Youth” and “Preach My Gospel.” We had a schedule where everyone rotated teaching. Encourage them to use scriptures, stories, conference talks, examples from daily life, and issue a weekly challenge relating to what we have learned. Follow-up on the challenge the next week.
2. Read “Jesus the Christ” by John Talmadge together as a family. See details here.
3. As your family has special experiences or trials, use that as a springboard for specific lessons. I remember the Family Home Evening we had after my father-in-law died. It was a perfect time to talk about the plan of salvation and how we knew we would be with grandpa again someday. Those gospel truths became so important and so personal.
4. Create your own family dating academy to help teach your children about forming positive appropriate relationships. I love this idea outlined in the August 2014 Ensign article by Matthew O. Richardson found here.
5. After General Conference, invite another family over and everyone can briefly share a specific talk they enjoyed. Play a game where everyone tries to write the names of the current twelve apostles and also the First Presidency. Create a wall of favorite quotes from General Conference and leave it up for 6 months until the next conference.
6. Talk openly with your teens about pornography. Recent studies show that close to 100% of today’s teens will be exposed to pornography by the time they graduate from high school. The article “Healing Hidden Wounds” in the September 2014 Ensign gives some important questions to ask and discuss.
7. Use the gospel art kit, and have everyone study one of the pictures and share the story on the back. Liken it to our daily lives.
8. Take time to serve together as a family. I remember one FHE when our neighbors came over and worked on a project with us we couldn’t do on our own. We appreciated their help and it was really fun to be together.
9. Invite your ward family history expert over to help your family learn how to do family search or indexing. Check out these great ideas in the Ensign article “Put the Family in Family History” found here. There are also some great videos about youth and family history here.
10. Listen to Hank Smith’s CD “Wake Up From Your Phone” and talk about technology and media in your home. (We’ve linked to the best price we could find, which is at Deseret Book for this one.)
11. I love the book “The Power of Everyday Missionaries” by Clayton Christiansen. Read one or two chapters together each month. Discuss it and set goals.(We’ve linked to the best price we could find, which is on Amazon for this one.)
12. Invite your family to write down gospel questions. Give each person 1-2 questions from others and ask them to find the answers in the next week by using the scriptures and general conference talks. The following Monday night, share the questions and discuss the answers found.
13. Have some practical lessons before your kids leave for college or missions on budgeting, ironing, clothing repair, car maintenance, meal planning, etc.
14. Have a family testimony meeting before special events like mission departures and marriages.
15. Invite recently returned missionaries in your ward to come over and teach about their mission. We invited other families to join us for these fun mission evenings.
16. Play Bible Bowl. Instructions found here.
17. Have Magazine Monday. Learn how here.
18. Read the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies in Alma 24 and talk about how you could bury your own weapons of rebellion. Check out this post for more ideas on how to do this.
19. Use FHE Ideas from the church magazines (usually on page 3 – look under departments) and LDS Living magazine.
20. Watch “Pioneers of Africa” available through BYU- TV. Amazing stories!
21. Talk about good music in the home. Play “name that tune” with hymns or Primary songs.
22. Talk about the importance of temples. Watch the wonderful video “Only a Stonecutter” about John Moyle who walked 22 miles every week to work on the Salt Lake temple. Discuss what your family can do to make temple attendance a priority.
23. Share some inspiring emails from missionaries you know. Write letters to ward or family missionaries. Discuss the the meaning of the words of the song, “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go.”
24. Check out the inspirational video playlists in the media library on lds.org Let your teens discuss and share their insights to these videos.
26. Have a “Teach Me” night. Every member of the family gets 3-5 minutes to teach the group something. For example, mom could teach how to sew on a button, Daniel could teach how to spin a basketball on your finger, etc.
27. As a family discuss the four-fold mission of the church. Set goals in each area for your family and plan how you will accomplish them.
28. Invite another family or two to play scripture kickball. Look here.
29. Ask an older person/couple if you can do a FHE with them. See this idea.
30. Participate in Personal Progress and Duty to God with your teens. You will both learn and grow!
31. Plant a garden together. Learn to make salsa or jam from your garden produce. Share with others.
32. Help your teenagers learn how to fill out a job application. Role play a job interview.
33. Go to the Church History museum in Salt Lake City.