Let your Light be a standard for the nations: 2006 YW Theme

“Let Your Light Be a Standard For the Nations”
Flashlight Activity
By Amy Gorgueiro, Frisco 4th Ward, Carrollton, TX Stake

Setting: One by one all girls enter dark room guided by a leader. Perhaps put brown paper bags over windows to make it darker. Leaders seat them in a V formation, next to people they don’t normally hang out with. Make sure everyone is comfortable. Cell phones off. Quiet church instrumental CD playing.

Narrator reads script with flashlight in hand. It is the only light on in the room.

Everyone close your eyes. It’s dark, so they might as well be closed–don’t fall asleep. Block out the sounds in the hallway and focus on the words you hear in this room tonight. Erase the feelings you may have entered this room with. Perhaps you have a lot of homework and projects to do that you are struggling to finish. Forget about a disagreement with a friend, brother or sister or parent. Forget about that one person in school who may have given you a funny look or said something mean when you were passing in the hallway. Forget about boys, the ones you like and the ones you don’t. Forget about past mistakes you’ve made. Don’t worry about what you’re wearing or whose makeup or outfit you think looks cute. Perhaps you feel alone or not accepted, or perhaps you feel like you have more friends than you can count. None of that matters. Clear your mind of everything, and listen. Tonight, listen with your ears…and listen with your heart. Be open to what you might hear tonight or what you might feel in your hearts. Everything you know about every person in this room is erased. Right now, the only thing that matters is that we are all sisters. Now open your eyes.

Let me tell you a story. Picture it in your mind as I share it.

United They Fly, Divided They Fall

A relative of mine is an expert in physics, and has long appreciated the way that the principles of physics operate in nature. His attention was captured one day as he watched geese flying in formation as they migrated south. Flying in a V-formation, the geese seemed to move so effortlessly through the air, even with a headwind.
His curiosity was piqued, and he made a trip to a local bird sanctuary to learn more about migrating geese. While he learned enough to make some calculations about the efficiency of the V-formation, he also learned about the instinctive behavior of these geese and how they have learned to work as a team and family.
He discovered that geese fly in a V-formation because as the bird in front flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird behind, making his flight more efficient. In fact, he calculated that geese flying in the proper formation will expend 70% less energy flying the same distance as compared to a bird flying alone.
Thus, in this natural setting, geese have been conditioned to work as a team in order to work more efficiently. But what was most startling to him was the “rules” of V-formation flight that scientists have observed over many years of observation and study, and the real life applications of those rules for the vastly inferior human teams to which we all belong.
Consider the following:
1. Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it experiences the natural resistance of the air currents that it avoids if it stays in formation. It suddenly feels the drag and the resistance of flying alone. When a goose leaves the formation of the group, it is usually the goose that pays the price.
2. Whenever the goose that has been at the front of the V begins to tire, he or she finds a place elsewhere in the V and allows another goose to fly in the lead.
3. Most of the honking of the geese occurred from the geese in the back of the V, while those up front focused more on flying and less on honking. In the V formation, the lead geese tend to be encouraged by the honking, and it becomes a positive force.
4. Finally, my relative asked the scientist what happens when a goose becomes incapable of staying up with the formation. What if one is wounded, sick or unable to keep its role in the team? The answer also startled my relative. When a goose fails to stay with the team, two other geese in the team leave the formation and follow the slower goose down to the ground. They remain with the goose until he is either able to fly again or until he dies, then they either begin their own formation or catch up with the group. Each member is important; each member knows that he will be supported in time of need.
United they fly, divided they fall.
Now you might be asking, “What does a flock of geese have to do with me?” See if you can find any similarities. A flock is made up of distinctly different birds. Some have different colored feathers; some might be better swimmers, or fliers. When being fed at the waters’ edge, some might jump at the food first while others sit and wait to search for the crumbs. Some make noise more than others. Some of their honks may be loud and obnoxious at times, while some are more comforting and encouraging. Some may want to always be in the front of the V. Others prefer to fly at the back. Some may be struggling and are barely hanging on at the back of the V. But the flock never lets that struggling goose quit. A goose must have every member of its flock to survive. A goose cannot survive in the cold of the winter without a flock to help guide it to warmth. It cannot fly alone forever. They need each other.

*Make the 5 lessons below into a handout and have the girls read them out loud.

There are 5 very valuable lessons we can learn from the story of the geese:
1.tPeople who share a common sense of direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier.
2.tWe need to stay in formation with those headed where we want to go!
3.tIt pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities and talents.
4.tWe need to make sure our honking is encouraging!
5.tIf we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

Did you realize before now that geese are very smart? We can learn a lot from the way they function as a flock. Just as they need each other to survive, you, the flock of Frisco 4th Ward Latter-day Saint Young Women, need each other to survive. Each member of your flock is necessary and important. You support each other in ways you may not have realized. Just as the geese, “united they fly, divided they fall.”

You are more than a name to each other. When you are not here, whether at an activity or at church, we are not whole. When you are struggling with problems, with family and friends, with temptations, WE CARE. When you struggle with completing a personal progress goal or a homework assignment, or dealing with the emotions of boys and friendships, with sickness or pain, or understanding a gospel topic or even finding your testimony…, WE CARE. Not just your leaders, but whether you sometimes like to admit it or not, you care about each other. You may think, “No way! She’s older than me, or younger than me, or she hangs out with a different group of friends, she doesn’t notice me. Or, we are way too different to care about each other. Or I heard that she said something hurtful about me, so she must not care so I won’t care. Or she looked at me funny and I’m sure it’s because she doesn’t like me. She doesn’t care.” But guess what–if you reach out to each other and ask for help, you will receive it. If you are honest with each other and get to know each other as more than just people you see a couple times a week at church, you will find that you have much more in common with the girls in this room. You need each other’s support and love to make it through these years when you will be bombarded by things of the world around you. You may have a huge group of friends outside of the church, and that is absolutely wonderful. But you share something deeper and more special with your sisters in this room, something that we will learn more about tonight. You are blessed to have this amazing group of young women surrounding you who can support you. You don’t have to be best of friends, but you can share a smile in the hallways when you see each other, or you can put your arm around each other and make sure that each person in this room is doing okay. Just as with the geese, when you are united you can fly, when you are divided you fall.

I need a volunteer.

Do object lesson on trust, faith and falling. Have 1 girl come forward. Blindfold her. Have 4 more girls quietly come forward without anyone hinting who is coming forward. Have them stand facing each other interlocking their wrists. The blindfolded girl turns her back to them, locks her knees, and falls back into their arms.
Lesson: We can trust each other, we can have faith in each other, we can carry each other when we are weak, and we can rely on each other when we are struggling. We need each other to make it.

What can we learn from this object lesson? We can support and rely on each other to catch each other when we are falling…no matter who it is in this room. We need not fear when we are supporting each other. Just as with the flock of geese, it doesn’t matter who is behind you, you knew that you trusted each person in this room and that you would be supported by any person behind you. Your flock wouldn’t let you fall.

Supporting each other is a lot more fun when we know more about each other. When we take the time to ask the questions we may have never asked or don’t know the answers to. And it’s not just the surface stuff…it’s when we really get to know each other as people with feelings.

So let’s take a few moments and get to know each other.

{Leader goes to the first person in line and asks her to stand}
Leader: “You are special. Your light is important to me, because I cannot light up this room alone. Will you let your light shine?”

*The leader hands a flashlight to the YW, who then turns it on and lights up her face holding it under her chin.

Leader starts by reading this young woman’s “This Is Me” sheet.
Questions for sheet:
My name is…
One thing I like most about myself is…
One talent/blessing I have that I am grateful for is…
I am happy when…
The kind of girl I want to be is…
Something I have in common with girls in YW is…
One thing I would like to change about myself is…
I struggle with…
I need support with…
My feelings about The Savior are…

Leader: “We may have different talents, goals, and struggles, but we have even more in common. I am your sister. I care about you. I need you. I need you to let your light shine.”

*That YW then repeats the entire flashlight routine from start to finish for the girl next to her in the V formation until all girls have their flashlights on.

At the beginning of this night, I was the only one with a light on. It was enough for me to be able to see what I was doing and enough for you to follow my directions. You couldn’t have done your homework in your lap or read a book just from the light of my flashlight. My light alone did not light up this room. Look around you and see how the room looks now. You can each see what you’re doing, you can light up your pathway. We could probably do a lot of things in this room now that there is more light.

The light that you hold in your hands may just be a flashlight. But it represents the light of Christ that each of us has. We have been given our light at baptism when we made a choice to become members of the Lord’s church and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. When we leave this room tonight, and you go to school tomorrow, you won’t be actually carrying your flashlight, but you still carry that light. You always carry that light. Through your examples, your behaviors, the choices you make, the things you say, you are an example to those who are around you…whether they hold the same light you do or not.

Throughout my life, from when I was a teenager to when I was working and in school, I came in contact with a lot of people from different faiths. I can’t tell you how many people told me “There’s something different about you.” As a youth, some people meant it in a mean way and there were times it was lonely, but more often it was out of respect and it made me proud. I didn’t have to walk up to people and tell them I was Mormon. I just acted differently and they noticed. I had different values that I lived more than just on Sundays. I shared my testimony, my light, with them through my actions. But my light wasn’t bright on its own. I had to rely on others to help me make my light shine bright, to help me when I struggled and had rough times, as we all do and will. I relied on my parents and church leaders and especially my church friends to help me make my light bright when I wasn’t able to do it on my own. When you shared your “about me” sheets with each other, you shared part of your light with the other people in this room. You told us things about yourself that you are proud of, and things that you need support with. The more you let each other into your hearts, the more you are honest and kind to young women sitting around you in this room, the more of a support network you will be to each other. The brighter your lights will shine.

*Another leader talks briefly (probably 10 minutes max?) about light, what is its purpose, why do we need it, how does it help us function day to day. What do we share in common with this “light”? Share scriptures about light and what the light represents in our lives.

Let me ask you, what happens when you put a plant in complete darkness?

In order to live a plant must have light. Just like a plant, we too need light. That light is the light of Christ. Our testimonies will suffer when we don’t surround ourselves with the gospel. Our light may start to fade. When it fades, Satan starts to gain more control over us because he sees us struggling. Satan wants us to join him in his state of eternal misery, anguish and pain. He does not want us to be happy–he does not want us to be surrounded by the Savior’s light. He doesn’t want us to choose to nourish and share our light. This is why it is so important to surround ourselves with others who also carry the light so we won’t be tempted to let our light dim. Surround yourselves with people who are examples of the Savior in your lives.

What a privilege it is to have this light that we carry, whether we feel our light is dim or bright. It is our responsibility to nurture our light and to share it, so it can be a beacon for the nations. We can be examples to each other and to your nonmember friends. One person can make a difference. You can be a light to your friends.

*Show slide show of girls with their friends with “light” music in background. Talk about what we can do to be the light to our friends. How can we be an example to them? How can we shine our light to brighten their lives?

Together we can be the light of the world. We can be the light of truth to each other, and to our friends, to our families, to the world. If one of us starts to stagger in our testimony and our light begins to dim, you can trust in another’s testimony while we work to recharge our own testimony. It’s much like when a flashlight dims and you have to recharge the batteries. While you are recharging the batteries, you may borrow someone else’s flashlight until your batteries are ready. But, we shouldn’t just sit by the charger and wait in the dark. We shouldn’t just stop coming to church, or being involved with the gospel or our gospel friends because we’re not 100% sure of it all. We need to keep coming and supporting each other, because that’s what WILL recharge those batteries for each of us.

If you noticed, you are sitting in a V formation, like the way geese fly. You can be the strength, encouragement, support and lifeblood that a flock of geese is to each other. Together, you can be a beacon of truth and light unto the world

I want you to look around this room and notice who is not here tonight. There are some who may not be here because they are sick, perhaps they didn’t have a ride, perhaps they are struggling with their testimonies and are being pulled hard by the pressures of the world. Perhaps they don’t feel like they have friends in this room. Perhaps no one has reached out to them and made them feel important and needed. Perhaps their light is dimming, and maybe you are the one person who can help bring them back to the light. I ask that you please not forget about our Young Women who are not here. Let’s face it, you guys don’t come to the activities to see your leaders, you come to the activities to be with each other. The leaders can’t try to bring these struggling young women back into our flock alone. They need to feel your love and support, and to feel of your light, just as much as the person sitting next to you. Reach out to them–bring them back to the flock.

You can leave this room today a stronger person. You are each amazing young women with immense power to do so much good for each other and to the world. It may not be the easiest position to be the light holder. Satan will work hard to knock the light right out of your hands, or to dim your flashlight. Friends who may not have our same standards will make it seem like keeping our light bright is not important. But because you have been blessed with this light, you have been blessed with a sacred knowledge and responsibility. Our Savior is relying on us to let our lights shine to and to share that light with those around us.

Play “Arise and Shine forth” song and pass out handouts.

Share testimony. There is so much talent and potential and love in this room. You are all so important to each other and to our Savior. What a cherished blessing we have to be members of this church and to have the Savior’s teachings to light our paths. What a blessing that we have each other, and that we can rely on each other. And what a sacred responsibility we have to share our light, to let it shine forth so it is more than just a flicker, but it is a beacon and standard for the nations.

We are not all perfect. We may have disagreements. We may struggle with many things in our lives. But we are ALL here to support each other. We will all make mistakes. But we can be examples to each other and help each other find the way back to the warmth of the light the Gospel brings.

I ask you all tonight, and throughout the rest of your life to “Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations.” D&C 115:5

Allow for testimonies to be shared by leaders and girls if time permits.

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