Remember the good ol’ days? It was one of your favorite classes in high school. With the object lessons, the Tom Trails slide shows, the songs, and the touch of spirituality that added to every day. But now, it seems like your teenager hasn’t yet grasped how fun and important seminary can be and simply doesn’t want to go. Is there anything that you can do? Here are a few things you might try.
Fast and pray, first.
Before we rush into all the great ways you can persuade your children to attend seminary, don’t forget to get help from your best source: Heavenly Father. Make sure you are adding prayer and fasting into the mix of your efforts.
You might even try an experiment and ask your teen to pray, fast, and ask what Heavenly Father wants them to do. Remember, this worked for Alma when he was desperate to help his son (Mosiah 27:14) and while it might not work every time (just ask Lehi!) asking Heavenly Father what to say and how to say it is a critical first step.
Look to your child’s friends.
Positive peer pressure can be the most important factor in helping your teen decide to go to seminary. See if you can enlist the help of some of his or her friends, ward members, and even the seminary teacher. A call to the seminary to set up a visit from the seminary teacher might work.
If you are in an area that has early morning seminary, arranging a carpool with friends is an effective way to utilize that positive peer pressure, or if you have released-time seminary, getting your teenagers’ friends to encourage him or her to sign up with them and get it the same hour on their schedule might be just what you’re looking for.
Explain the benefits.
You can also talk to your teen about some of the benefits of having seminary in their day. They get a class away from school, with no homework, a laid back atmosphere, and fun teachers. Add the spiritual boost they’ll get every time they go, and suddenly seminary becomes this little oasis in their day, a chance to get away and take a breather from school.
Don’t be afraid to offer some small incentives along the way for signing up and attending seminary. You probably don’t want to use money, but kids will get excited about a lot of things, so get creative. Letting them sleep in an extra hour on Saturday or have an extra hour of screen time throughout the week can be good carrots to dangle.
This can be especially helpful if you have early morning seminary. That extra sleep on Saturday looks good when you are waking your teen up early 5 days a week. You might even let them drive to seminary (if they’re old enough) because as you probably know, teens love to drive.
Another good early morning incentive is to offer a special treat on Friday morning (like doughnuts) if they’ve made it to seminary throughout the week. Whatever it is your teen loves, use that to sweeten the pot and see if a little reward might get them a bit more excited about seminary.
"Effort Is Required"
President Monson taught that to attend seminary, “effort is required. But it is effort you will never, ever regret.”
Seminary can be great and getting your teen there is also effort that you won’t regret. Try these tips and ask others around you (including your Heavenly Father) for additional help to do all you can. Then leave it in the hands of the Savior knowing you’ve done your best.