“When I teach fiction, I tell my students that if their reader finishes their story by asking, “So what?” the story has failed. If the reader doesn’t care about the characters, the writer has failed. In the Church, we have often taken the easy out–using sentimental tales (pioneer histories or embellished “Especially for Mormons” gems) to generate something LIKE caring. It is a poor substitute for the real thing. Why should we care about our religion? Why do you care about it enough to endure three hours of untrained speakers?"I love this insight. It is brilliantly expressed, and is the nutshell of effective teaching. The gospel cannot be presented in a way that it inspires a “so what”" response.
So how do we avoid the "so what" response? Not having teens myself I feel somewhat unqualified to present my opinions here. However, I have a nephew who is struggling somewhat with the whole "so what" about the gospel. His mom commented to me recently that she has seen better responses to family teaching opportunities when she uses real world practical applications, not just spiritual ones. For example, if reading about the importance of giving service, she includes a practical discussion about the necessities of service in the real world (i.e., food banks, homeless shelters, volunteerism, etc.) and maybe even plans a service activity to extend the learning process. The result so far has been more lesson participation and a better attitude from her son (my nephew). Hopefully there will also be long term testimony results as well.
How do you avoid the "so what" response in your teaching opportunities? Please share!
Scripture of the Day: D&C 45:28