Share the following story from President Boyd K. Packer. You can read some of it, but also have most of it memorized in your own words so you can tell the story rather than just read it so it doesn’t get too boring.
Imagine that our bishop has appointed you and me to plan a picnic for all of the ward members. It is to be the finest social in the history of the ward, and we are to spare no expense.
We reserve a beautiful picnic ground in the country. We are to have it all to ourselves; no outsiders will interfere with us.
The arrangements go very well, and when the day comes, the weather is perfect. All is beautifully ready. The tables are in one long row. We even have tablecloths and china. You have never seen such a feast. The Relief Society and Young Women have outdone themselves. The tables are laden with every kind of delicious food: cantaloupes, watermelon, corn on the cob, fried chicken, hamburgers, cakes, pies—you get the picture?
We are seated, and the bishop calls upon the patriarch to bless the food. Every hungry youngster secretly hopes it will be a short prayer.
Then, just at that moment there is an interruption. A noisy old car jerks into the picnic grounds and sputters to a stop close to us. We are upset. Didn’t they see the “reserved” signs?
A worried-looking man lifts the hood; a spout of steam comes out. One of our brethren, a mechanic, says, “That car isn’t going anywhere until it is fixed.”
Several children spill from the car. They are ragged and dirty and noisy. And then an anxious mother takes a box to that extra table nearby. It is mealtime. Their children are hungry. She puts a few leftovers on the table. Then she nervously moves them about, trying to make it look like a meal for her hungry brood. But there is not enough.
We wait impatiently for them to quiet down so that we can have the blessing and enjoy our feast.
Then one of their little girls spies our table. She pulls her runny-nosed little brother over to us and pushes her head between you and me. We cringe aside, because they are very dirty. Then the little girl says, “Ummm, look at that. Ummm, ummm, I wonder what that tastes like.”
Everyone is waiting. Why did they arrive just at that moment? Such an inconvenient time. Why must we interrupt what we are doing to bother with outsiders? Why couldn’t they have stopped somewhere else? They are not clean! They are not like us. They just don’t fit in.
Since the bishop has put us in charge, he expects us to handle these intruders. What should we do? Of course, this is only a parable. But now for the test. If it really happened, my young friends, what would you do?
Ask the class, “What are the possible things that we could do (not necessarily would do, but could do.) Talk about a few ideas and then share the three ideas that President Packer shares in this talk. Then ask, “What Gospel principles could Boyd K. Packer be trying to teach in this story?” Take a few ideas and then get into the lesson.
Have the class read the second paragraph on page 342. This lesson is about peace. What does the story from Boyd K. Packer teach us about peace? Have the class look over the first section of page 344, “We can cultivate peace by honoring…” as well as all of page 345. Just give them time to look it over and find their favorite parts of these sections, don’t read the whole thing. I would spend the rest of the time in these paragraphs. There is really some great stuff here that ties in well to the President Packer story. Ask, “What is your favorite paragraph?” and then after a few answers you can then ask, “How has living this way brought peace into your life or the life of someone you know?” “How have you felt as you have been treated this way?”
After the previous discussion, ask, “What are some of the reasons why people don’t always act with this kind of acceptance and charity that Joseph is describing, and how can we possibly overcome those obstacles?”
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