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Choice and Accountability

Shauna Gibby - September 30, 2007

One principle that we teach repeatedly is the value of the precious freedom the Lord has given to you to make your own decisions. Moral agency enables the children of God to choose what they will believe and how they will live in mortality.

Based on your obedience in living gospel principles, you will be judged according to your works. With the marvelous gift of moral agency, you can study the scriptures and the teachings of the leaders of the Church and, through the promptings of the Spirit, make correct choices that will bring peace and eternal joy to your souls. (M. Russell Ballard, "Be an Example of the Believers," Ensign, Nov 1991, 95) *Song:* "Choose the Right Way," Children's Songbook, p. 160. *Scripture:* Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (2 Nephi 2:27) *Object Lesson:* Materials needed: A set of dominoes, masking tape, and a marker. Preparation: Place a piece of masking tape across the front of a domino. Use a marker to label it "CHOICE." Put masking tape across the front of ten more dominoes and label each one "CONSEQUENCE." Procedure: Show your family the domino labeled "CHOICE." Explain that it represents one choice in our lives. Although the choice may seem small it can have many consequences. Discuss the choice to tell a lie. Challenge the group to name as many consequences as they can for telling a lie (feeling guilty, others find out, losing Spirit, others don't trust you, and so on.) Stand up a "CONSEQUENCE" domino for each idea they give. Make sure you place the dominoes closely together in a row. Place the "CHOICE" consequence at the beginning of the row and point out that even one small choice can have many consequences Push the "Choice" domino over, toppling the line of dominoes. Briefly discuss consequences of good choices. What would be the consequence for telling the truth? Encourage family members to record in their journals how making right choices has helped them. Explain that reading this later can help strengthen them and give them the courage to continue making righteous choices. (Beth Lefgren and Jennifer Jackson, Building Blocks for Better Lessons, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], p. 17.) *Story:* One day I was reading a comic [strip named] Calvin and Hobbes. In the cartoon, Calvin is in the front of a little red wagon and Hobbes is hanging on for dear life as they speed down a mountainside. Calvin says, "Ever notice how many decisions make chain reactions? Well, each decision we make determines the range of choices we'll face next. Take this fork in the road, for instance. Which way should we go? Arbitrarily, I choose left." Hobbes looks scared to death as Calvin explains, "Now as a direct result of that decision, we are faced with another choice: should we jump this ledge or ride along the side of it? If we hadn't turned left at the fork, this choice would never have come up." Then we see the little red wagon sailing through the sky, and Hobbes comments, "I note, with some dismay, you've chosen to jump the ledge." "Right," says Calvin, "and that decision will give us new choices." By now they are falling out of the wagon and Hobbes asks, "Should we bail out or die in the landing?" "Exactly," Calvin says. "Our first decision created a chain reaction of decisions. Let's jump." In the final frame, both Calvin and Hobbes are shown up to their necks in water, having landed in a mountain stream. Calvin says, "See? If you don't make each decision carefully, you never know where you'll end up. That's an important lesson we should learn sometime." . . . Many of your choices may not be popular. You may be ridiculed or made fun of. You may feel afraid. It will take courage. But once you choose to stand for truth and righteousness, the Lord will strengthen you. Every time you make a right choice, your self-confidence will improve. Others will be drawn to you because they will see your light. The Savior's plan is that you will one day return to live with your heavenly parents. Many of the choices you make now will determine your future life and opportunities. Talk with your parents and with the Lord. No one knows and loves you more than they do. Be prepared to face the future unafraid. (Carolyn J. Rasmus, I Will Choose Good over Evil, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1990], 1-2, 8, 13.) *Activity:* Draw several simple art figures in advance, each on a separate piece of paper. These could be stick figures, simple drawings of objects like bicycles, geometric figures, and so on. Have two people take turns. Give one drawing to one of the two; the other person draws on a blank sheet as directed by the first person. Neither person is allowed to see the other person's drawing. The person with the picture doesn't tell what the figure is; he only gives direction on how to move the pencil or crayon. Before beginning, show the rest of the family the figure to be drawn. Compare the artwork when finished. Discuss how it is hard to proceed without knowing what the final outcome would be. Compare this to decisions, and how it is easier to make wise decisions when we know what the goal is and what the consequences will be. (George and Jeane Chipman, Games! Games! Games!, [Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain, 1983], 4.) *Refreshment* Cake Mix Cookies 1 box cake mix 2 eggs 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 to 2 cups chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, or whatever else you like in your cookies If this is your first attempt at Cake Mix Cookies, try using devil's food cake mix and white chocolate chips. As you experiment, you'll find that some flavors make better cookies than others. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix eggs and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Stir in cake mix. Add whatever you're mixing in (chocolate chips, nuts, etc.). Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, making sure they don't burn. Make 2 to 3 dozen cookies. (Clark L. and Kathryn H. Kidd, 52 Weeks of Recipes for Students, Missionaries, and Nervous Cooks, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2007], 65.)
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