5 Highlights for “Jesus Christ Is the Strength of Parents” by Elder Uchtdorf

by | Apr 25, 2023

floral heart

5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions

See also Teaching Helps

Elder Uchtdorf gave a stellar talk. Sometimes, talks about parenthood spark more regret and guilt than helpfulness. This talk is full of love and inspiring, uplifting counsel that encourages hope regardless of your family situation.

Honestly, this talk could also be named “Jesus Christ is the Strength of Everyone.”

…because it applies to your relationships whether you’re a current parent or not. We are our brother’s keeper. Everyone is a keeper of others. Elder Uchtdorf’s main principles work with many people in your life: at church, school, work, community, family, extended family, friends, and neighbors.

This talk is full of quotable quotes, and narrowing the lesson template down to five wasn’t easy. The five quotes below:

  • capture the essence of his message
  • are more likely to promote discussion
  • and have the most significant impact

You can find his full talk here. Unless you opt to spend a lot of time on a particular quote, try to pick around 2 questions per quote. Choose the questions that resonate the most with you and make a meaningful discussion for your group of personalities. These highlights and questions fit with Lesson Template 1 or Template 2. You can also check out several other General Conference Talks with 5 Highlights.

All blue quotes by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf (unless otherwise noted).


Lesson Prep

  • Perhaps consider including an invitation to extend Elder Uchtdorf’s message to all our relationships. Even though he addressed parents – most of these principles work for our relationships with others at church, school, work, extended family, friends, etc.
  • Whatever quotes you choose to teach, if it were me, I’d save time for quote #3, especially. I’d probably do 1, 2, and 3 and save 4 and 5 for last – if there is time.

Quote #1 (heal)

Now, perhaps you feel that your relationship with your child is less than ideal. That’s where the Savior’s power comes in. He heals the sick, and He can heal relationships. He multiplies bread and fish, and He can multiply the love and the joy in your home.

Your love for your children creates a rich environment for teaching truth and building faith. Make your home a house of prayer, learning, and faith; a house of joyful experiences; a place of belonging; a house of God. And “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [you] may be filled with [His] love, which he [bestows] upon … followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.”

Oh, how I love that statement! “He multiplies the bread and the fish.” Sometimes, I witness that at work within my family. I make the efforts I can; I pray over those efforts. Even though they seem futile initially and sometimes don’t seem to do anything, small miracles and tender mercies occur at some point.

Even in the most hopeless situations, don’t give up! Keep working on it. Seek inspiration on how to move ahead.

Ways to See Miracles

To home life, add more:

  • prayer
  • learning experiences (new adventures and know-how, maybe gospel home study too)
  • activities that promote faith, like service and temple trips
  • celebrations, special occasions, fun trips
  • belonging (expressions of love, notes, compliments, stories about ancestors)
  • religious moments

Interestingly, Elder Uchtdorf’s list also works for a single person living alone!

Possible discussion questions: Have you ever experienced the Savior healing a relationship? Elder Uchtdorf suggested a list of things to add to your home life – which one do you need more of? What has been successful for you? Why do we need to pray for love? Have you ever prayed for love; what happened?

Quote #2 (efforts)

There is so much wisdom in this quote. As a parent of six children ages 25-33, I can see the effects of this advice over the years compared to the effects of giving up and throwing my hands in the air.

I’ve done both.

This principle is true, even with challenging children or difficult phases. I want to urge you to soldier on in all your relationships. It matters.

Another strength you have, as a parent, is the opportunity for daily, ongoing influence. Peers, teachers, and media influencers come and go. But you can be the most constant, steady influence in your child’s life.

Your efforts may seem small compared to the loud voices your children hear in the world. At times it may feel that you’re not accomplishing much. But remember that “by small means the Lord can bring about great things.” One home evening, one gospel conversation, or one good example may not change your child’s life in a moment, any more than one drop of rain causes a plant immediately to grow. But the consistency of small and simple things daily nourishes your children much better than an occasional flood.

Possible quick discussion question: Why do small things matter? What are some small, successful things you have tried with your family? What are some things that work with adult children who are away from home? What advice would you give to a friend who is struggling with their relationships with family (immediate or extended)?

Quote #3 (mighty change)

Perhaps the most important help Jesus Christ offers to parents is the “mighty change” of heart. It’s a miracle every one of us needs.

For a moment, imagine this situation: You’re at church, listening to a talk about families. The speaker describes a perfect home and an even more perfect family. Husband and wife never quarrel. Children stop reading their scriptures only when it’s time to do homework. And the music of “Love One Another” is playing in the background. Before the speaker gets to the part about everyone cheerfully joining to clean the bathroom, you’re already thinking, “My family is hopeless.”

Dear brothers and sisters, relax! Everyone in the congregation is thinking the same thing! The fact is, all parents worry about not being good enough.

Fortunately, there is a divine source of help for parents: It is Jesus Christ. He is the source of our mighty change of heart.

Sometimes a mighty change of heart means that old wounds and past hurts are healed or no longer have the power to affect you.

Possible discussion questions: What happens when we try to appear perfect or measure ourselves against the perfection we “see” in others’ lives? Who needs a mighty change of heart? Do we need our hearts changed more than once? How do we get this mighty change of heart? (Deep repentance, broken heart, a contrite spirit, and a willingness to forgive others allow the Lord to change our hearts and very natures.)

Possible Small Group Discussion

(You can also do this as a whole-group discussion.)

A mighty change of heart is a significant experience and the antidote to many of our problems. Unlock your room’s insight and knowledge and let the Spirit work with this powerful topic.

Resources: printable pdf handout below.

Before you ask any “heart” questions about the quote, you might want to deepen the understanding of a ‘mighty change in heart.’ What is it, and where does it come from?

If you feel your group could benefit or if there is not an immediate clear understanding of what a mighty change of heart looks and feels like and how to experience one – this might be a good time to quickly break into small groups of 3-5 people and hand out these four quotes to EACH person.

This group discussion is only 5 minutes long. Let them know ahead of time this is a short discussion and will only be five minutes. Instruct them that they do not need to cover all the quotes nor go through them in any particular order.

Instruct them to quickly skim the four quotes and decide which one to read as a group. Share thoughts and insights about that quote with the others in your group. What stands out for them from that quote, or what important words do you notice? Allow another person to pick the next quote to read together and discuss. Rinse and repeat.

Walk around to each group and silently listen to the conversation for about 30 seconds or so. Nod your head and validate, but do not enter the conversation unless they struggle with silence.

Please give them a 1-minute warning and stop at five minutes.

(12 And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true.
13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.
14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
(Alma 5:12-14)

“When we have undergone this mighty change, which is brought about only through faith in Jesus Christ and through the operation of the Spirit upon us, it is as though we have become a new person. Thus, the change is likened to a new birth. Thousands of you have experienced this change. You have forsaken lives of sin, sometimes deep and offensive sin, and through applying the blood of Christ in your lives, have become clean. You have no more disposition to return to your old ways. You are in reality a new person. This is what is meant by a change of heart.” (Ezra Taft Benson)

47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen
. (Moroni 7:47-48)

The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and the great tool of conversion in the latter days. Our purpose in sharing the gospel is to invite all to come unto Jesus Christ, receive the blessings of the restored gospel, and endure to the end through faith in the Savior. Helping individuals to experience the mighty change of heart and bind themselves to the Lord through sacred covenants and ordinances are the fundamental objectives of preaching the gospel. (Elder Bednar ~ Oct 2021)

Ask the whole class 1-2 questions after the small-group discussion: What does a mighty change of heart look and feel like? How do we get this mighty change of heart? (Accept all reasonable answers.)

(Deep repentance, broken heart, and a contrite spirit allow the Lord to change our hearts and very natures. Prayers for charity and scriptures help immensely too.)

Note: Elder Uchtdorf brings up an important point about church dynamics and self-comparison. Please see my “Thoughts on Church Culture” at the end of this post.

Quote #4 (miracles)

As I read this talk – it applies to almost all relationships.

As you open your heart to the Savior and His teachings, He will show you your weakness. If you trust Jesus Christ with a humble heart, He will make weak things become strong. He is the God of miracles.

Does that mean you and your family will be picture-perfect? No. But you will get better. Through the Savior’s grace, little by little, you’ll develop more of the attributes parents need: love for God and His children, patience, selflessness, faith in Christ, and courage to make righteous choices.

Possible discussion questions: Sometimes weaknesses and introspection can seem scary or off-putting. But have you ever had a joyful, spiritual experience with a painful repentance that left you feeling much stronger and resolved? What happens when we open the door to the Savior to confess our shortcomings and poor habits? What happens when we are no longer apprehensive or avoid daily repentance?

Quote #5 (weeds)

Read this as a closing statement, or use the discussion questions at the end.

My dear friends, my dear brothers and sisters, building faith in a child is somewhat like helping a flower grow. You cannot tug on the stem to make it taller. You cannot pry open the bud to get it to blossom sooner. And you cannot neglect the flower and expect it to grow or flourish spontaneously.

What you can and must do for the rising generation is provide rich, nourishing soil with access to flowing heavenly water. Remove weeds and anything that would block heavenly sunlight. Create the best possible conditions for growth. Patiently allow the rising generation to make inspired choices, and let God work His miracle. The result will be more beautiful and more stunning and more joyful than anything you could accomplish just by yourself.

In Heavenly Father’s plan, families’ relationships are meant to be eternal. This is why, as a parent, you never give up, even if you are not proud of how things went in the past.

With Jesus Christ, the Master Healer and Savior, there can always be a new beginning; He always gives hope.

Possible discussion questions: Making inspired choices has a learning curve. Are we still learning ourselves? Why is patience so crucial within families? (Our family relationships are the ultimate proving ground.) Why are new beginnings and hope essential in our lives?

Summary

Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about Elder Uchtdorf’s talk. Thank your class for their excellent contributions and insights.

Final Comment

We will always need lessons about relationships. I felt this talk was gentle and encouraging rather than a sermon. I am grateful you are preparing to help others have a meaningful experience. You are gathering Israel and strengthening the Kingdom of God. If you would like some tips on how to feel more confident while teaching – try “9 Tips for More Class Participation.” Please put the quotes in any order that makes sense to you.


Extra Resources

Prayerfully decide If your group needs this information today. You might assign someone to paraphrase and give SHORT examples of the “For the Strength of Youth” book and for someone else to share a 1-minute version of FSY and what it does. You can opt to read Elder Uchtdorf’s main quote too, but if you’re short on time – the list has plenty of information.

Optional: bring FSY booklets to show n’ tell or pass around as examples or make them available at the end of your class.

Our effort to build faith in Jesus Christ is home-centered, focused on the individual. And it is Church supported. Besides providing the sacred scriptures and the words of prophets, the Savior’s Church offers many resources to help parents and children make righteous choices:

  • For the Strength of Youth: A Guide for Making Choices does not give you a list of dos or don’ts. It teaches eternal truths to help make choices centered on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Read it with your children. Let them talk about it. Help them to have these eternal and divine truths guide their choices.
  • FSY conferences are another wonderful resource. I hope every youth will attend. I invite young single adults to join these conferences as mentors and counselors. I invite parents to build on the spiritual momentum their youth bring home from FSY conferences.

I especially like this part of the quote!

Children and youth in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have teachers, advisers, and mentors. Often you enter a young person’s life at a crucial moment to build and support faith and testimony. Some of you are single adults. Some never had children of your own. Your joyful service to God’s children is sacred in God’s eyes.

Possible quick question: Have you ever had an adult leader that made a difference in your life as a youth?

Thoughts on Church Culture

Everyone has a divine side: gifts, talents, service, love, generosity, faithfulness, enthusiasm, helpfulness, understanding, etc. Everyone has a flawed side: it could be past mistakes, poor habits, weaknesses, blind spots, neediness, and pride.

Everyone has both sides. What happens when our ward dynamics and culture make it so we’re too afraid to let our divine side show because it would offend people and attract the wrong attention? And we’re too embarrassed to let anyone see our challenges and shortcomings?

That’s a narrow, restrictive experience. Church is positively a place for both sides. For the side that shines – we need you!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

Church is for the side that is broken – to be loved and healed. Both sides of us are welcome at Church. Neither side should be hidden nor shamed.

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)

Create Zion for those around you at Church – whether it be a few friends or a whole group. Be the change that’s needed through your love, service, acceptance, safety, and actions.


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4 Comments

  1. Sarah

    I really enjoy your insights and appreciate your outlines, they really help me focus in on my lessons.

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      That is the best outcome ever.

      Reply
  2. Sariah Richardson

    Really great ideas! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      You are most welcome! Hope your lesson went well.

      Reply

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