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									                     Financial Self-reliance: Teacher Instructions

                           Financial Self-reliance:
                             Teacher Instructions


A common misconception exists that in order to teach one must first become perfect in
that subject. That is not the case. If it were, no one would be teaching, as we all are
imperfect and are continuing to learn and improve. The key is not that we are perfect to
be able to teach, but that we are trying to learn and help each other, and that we have a
good foundation and testimony about what we are teaching. Bryan Sudweeks related the
following story:

       My daughter Kaili had an ice-skating party at the Peaks Ice Arena for her 8th
       birthday. She invited her family plus eight other friends. After finalizing the
       preparations for the party, I put on my ice skates and shuffled out onto the ice.
       Once on the ice, I realized I was out of my comfort zone. My ankles hurt, it was
       cold, and I could barely stand up. However, after only a few dozen falls, I soon
       realized that if I kept my feet shoulder width apart and kept a solid foundation, I
       could make small steps and would eventually get around the ice rink. As I
       progressed slowly around the ice, I realized too that others were having the same
       problems I was having, but were hanging onto the walls at the side of the ice rinks
       or had gotten off the ice completely.

       After a little hesitation, I decided that I would try to help my daughter’s friends in
       their efforts to learn to skate. One at a time, I would take the hand of one of
       daughter’s friends who was holding onto the wall at the outside of the rink, and
       we would slowly leave the wall and skate around the rink. When they looked like
       they were going to fall, I would slow down and help them not to fall. If they did
       fall, I would pick them back up again and we would continue skating. After a
       while, I noticed that I had more control on the ice. I was feeling more
       comfortable, my ankles did not hurt anymore, and I was helping others more and
       more. In addition, as I got better, fewer of them were falling before I could catch

       I had a great time helping others learn to ice skate. It was a great feeling to know
       that I helped four little girls and two boys to learn to skate better, even though I
       was learning myself. At the end of the party, I was actually feeling good about
       the things that I had learned as well and my ability to ice skate.

Teaching personal finance is a lot like ice-skating. It may be difficult at first. Moreover,
we may not feel we are the most qualified to teach it as we are still unsteady ourselves.

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                     Financial Self-reliance: Teacher Instructions

However, as we steady our own foundation, follow the principles we are teaching, seek
Heavenly Father’s help and listen to the promptings of the Spirit, we will be guided and
directed in our efforts to help and teach others to be financially self-reliant. To help you
understand the principles you will be teaching, I encourage you to read this manual
completely if possible before you begin teaching these lessons.

Doctrine, Principles and Application

There is a relationship between doctrine, principles, and application that is important to
understand as you teach this series on financial self-reliance. Doctrine is the truth about
ourselves, our lives, our history, and our relationship to our Father in Heaven and his Son
Jesus Christ. True doctrine is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. In its fulness, the
gospel includes all the doctrines, principles, laws, ordinances, and covenants necessary
for us to be exalted in the celestial kingdom. Elder Boyd K. Packer talked about the
importance of doctrine when he said:

       True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the
       doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior
       will improve behavior. … That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the
       doctrines of the gospel. (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 20; or Ensign, Nov.
       1986, 17).

In this series, we emphasize doctrine first. We hope to help individuals understand the
doctrine that underlies the things you are teaching.

Principles are those things that do not change and that are important for us to understand.
Our learning should include trying to understand principles. In ice-skating, the principle
was to have a wide base or foundation when you learned to skate. Elder Poelman wrote
about principles when he said:

       The gospel of Jesus Christ is a divine and perfect plan. It is composed of eternal,
       unchanging principles, laws, and ordinances which are universally applicable to
       every individual regardless of time, place, or circumstance. Gospel principles
       never change. . .The Church has authority to teach correctly the principles and
       doctrines of the gospel and to administer its essential ordinances. (Ronald E.
       Poelman, “The Gospel and the Church,” Ensign, Nov. 1984, 64.)

As a gospel teacher, you must not be satisfied with merely teaching doctrine and
principles, even if you do so in an original, engaging way. Your purpose is to help others
live according to the doctrines and principles they learn. It is the application of what we
are teaching that will make a difference in the lives of those you teach, not the teaching.
President Harold B. Lee counseled on the importance of application when he said:

       All the principles and ordinances of the gospel are in a sense but invitations to
       learning the gospel by the practice of its teachings. No person knows the principle
       of tithing until he pays tithing. No one knows the principle of the Word of
       Wisdom until he keeps the Word of Wisdom. Children, or grownups for that

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                     Financial Self-reliance: Teacher Instructions

       matter, are not converted to tithing, the Word of Wisdom, keeping the Sabbath
       day holy, or prayer by hearing someone talk about these principles. We learn the
       gospel by living it. … We never really know anything of the teachings of the
       gospel until we have experienced the blessings that come from living each
       principle. (Stand Ye in Holy Places [1974], 215).

The true measure of our teaching is the influence we have in our student’s lives to help
them change behavior for good.

It is important that we understand doctrines, principles and application. All are critical to
changing and helping others becoming the person Heavenly Father would have them
become. This series will work these areas.

Learn, Teach, Apply and Report

This class on personal finance follows a four-step process.

First, learn. You will teach the students in Sunday School. They will have a student
manual and you will teach from a teacher’s manual. Your teacher’s manual will have
more information than you can teach within the allotted time. Please listen to the
promptings of the Spirit to decide which material you should teach.

Second, teach. Students will teach prepared Family Home Evening lessons to their
families on the subjects provided. Activities are available to help students teach the
material to families. Parents can pick and choose which material would best meet the
needs of their families.

Third, apply. Students apply the material discussed in class and taught in family home
Evening to their lives during the week. There will be other assignments made which
students should try to accomplish.

Fourth, report. Students will report on their progress and experiences the next week in
class. Through this process, you will take the students from where they are in the
direction of where they should be—to become more financially self-reliant.

Additional Reading

Elder M. Russell Ballard in his talk “O Be Wise” gave wise counsel that we can use as
we strive to help others become more financially self-reliant. I encourage you to review
this article before you teach. (Ensign, Nov. 2006, p. 17).


Your purpose as a teacher in this class on financial self-reliance is not to teach your own
ideas, your own preferred investment strategy, or to sell insurance, investments, or other

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                     Financial Self-reliance: Teacher Instructions

financial products. Your purpose is to teach the material doctrine and principles
presented in the manual in a way that invites the Spirit into your class and helps people
change their behavior to become more financially self-reliant. That is our purpose for
this class.

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