Monday, August 28, 2017

Testimony Lasagna!

A "Delicious" FHE Lesson Idea?

So if your like me the moment I realize it's "My Turn" for Family Night Lesson I shudder in terror.  

With my oldest at home over 11 now there's just not much territory we haven't covered in at least a dozen different ways for our Family Home Evening lessons.  So what will I do this time?!?

Well tonight was My turn again... but wait!  I have an actual idea!  And I didn't even have to google "FHE ideas" to get it.

You see, last night my lovely Wife asked me if I would make lasagna for dinner (at the same time reminding me it was "My Turn" again).  So as I assembled the goods to build a pan full of "Kid Friendly" lasagna (no onions, peppers, green stuff, etc...) the idea floods into my head;  Building a Testimony is a lot like making lasagna! 

Okay, stop laughing!  It really IS if you put all the elements together. 

 So off I rushed to the craft store for some felt and foam sheets and as I made a big pan of real lasagna, I cut and labelled the pieces for our "Testimony Lasagna".

So here's what I used and how I put together the lesson (it actually helps a lot if you have real lasagna for dinner before the lesson):


I cut enough felt and foam to make 3 layers of Testimony Lasagna.  Cream colored felt with scalloped edges on 2 sides for the "Noodles", Red felt cut in a random "Blob" shape for the sauce, and white foam sheet cut in a similar "Blob" shape for the cheese (I cut 9x12 sheets into 4 pieces each).

Next I used a Sharpie pen to label each piece.  In my lesson the "Noodle" represents a point of faith that is to be part of our testimony, the "Sauce" represents ways to exercise that faith, and the "Cheese" represents the experiences with the spirit that follow exercising faith.  You can adapt this to whatever feels best for your family, I used the following for the "Layers" of our Testimony Lasagna:

Layer 1:
Noodle - Faith in Jesus Christ
Sauce - Baptism & the Sacrament
Cheese - (I did not write the experiences, we discussed them as a family as we built our lasagna)

Layer 2:
Noodle - Faith in the Book of Mormon (and Joseph Smith as Prophet)
Sauce - Read, Ponder, and Pray
Cheese - (Again we discussed...)

Layer 3:
Noodle - The Prophet (President Monson, and included his Councillors and the Twelve Apostles in our discussion)
Sauce - Watching Conference, reading the Friend Magazine
Cheese - (Same discussion...)

With all this ready we had our Lesson,  And it went like this:

Opening song; "I Know My Father Lives" (Children's Songbook #5)

Me: Did everybody like the Lasagna we had for dinner?
Kids:  Yeah! (it actually was a big hit!)

Me:  Well, for our family night we are going to make "Testimony Lasagna"  (cheers and laughter... they had been noticing the stack of felt and foam all cut and sitting face down on the counter)

Me:  I bet you didn't know that building your testimony is a lot like making lasagna!  How is lasagna made??

Kids: (They had watched me make the lasagna so everybody chimed in with different steps to "Build" lasagna)

Me:  That's right, and building a strong testimony uses the same steps!  If I want to make a strong testimony, where do you think I could start?  

Kids:  Random guesses and blank stares...

Me:  Andy, can you tell me the 4th Article of Faith??

Andy:  Ummm...  ( A little prompting and they all started to sing the verse from the primary song)  "We Believe the first principals and ordinances of the gospel are; first faith in the lord Jesus Christ..."  (I stopped them there...)

Me: So, the first principal of the gospel is?

Kids: "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ"

Me:  Sounds like the perfect start for our Testimony Lasagna!  (and I hand each a "Noodle" that says "FAITH in Jesus Christ" as we talk a little about what that might mean to them.)

Me:  How can we "Exercise" faith in Jesus Christ?

Kids: (with a little coaching I get them to come up with Being Baptised and Partaking of the Sacrament)

Me:  Very Good!  (we discuss how these are ways of exercising our faith as I give them each a "Sauce" layer that says "Exercising Faith - Baptism & Sacrament" and we begin to discuss how we feel and what the Spirit my be like in different situations related to our "Faith in Jesus Christ" layer.)

Me:  The next layer (the Cheese) is the Experiences with the Spirit that are Heavenly Fathers gift to us whenever we exercise faith.  

Well you get the idea, and so did my kids!  As we built the other layers they stayed interested and even came up with more of the answers without as much coaching.  

It should be said that often our lessons are cut short as the kids attention begins to erode, but they stayed with me to the end and it was really a fun lesson.

After we built the Testimony Lasagna I thought (and asked the kids) what we should build our lasagna IN?  We used a pan for the real lasagna, where do we build our Testimony Lasagna?  This was a great teaching moment about our testimony being our own.  That it is inside of us, not an external thing!

Another point we discussed about our Testimony centered on 2 Nephi 28:30.  As we discussed how we build our testimony "Line upon line, precept upon precept" I pointed out that each noodle represents some gospel precept (yes, we had to learn what a "Precept" was first), and there are many such precepts that we can gain a testimony of and add as layers to our Testimony Lasagna.

There were some additional points to the Lasagna metaphor that helped to keep them entertained, but that is pretty much it.  It took about an hour (in between cooking) to prepare and about 20 minutes to deliver.  Time will show if it really sunk in, but it was fun to have their attention to the end and be able to push home some very important concepts in a low stress way.

I hope this little post helps you to develop your own recipe and serve up a heaping helping of Testimony Lasagna at your house!