Easily one of my favorite object lessons! It is really such a great visual! I have used it with Young Women lessons, RS lessons and at home!
SHARING THE BURDEN
Teach the kids how important it is to "share the load" and how the entire load is too much for just one person, but if we all pitch in to help it makes the burden easy to carry. This lesson is also a great way to teach the importance of recognizing our limits and that it is important to ask for help. Through the course of the lesson you can also talk about the ability we have to help others with the burdens they bear through service and how the ultimate relief we can experience is the relief that comes to our burden of sin and sorrow through the Atonement.
Scriptures for everyone.
10 bags of brown or powdered sugar ($10-15 @Walmart *Count it as food storage! :) or borrow from friends. They will not be opened.)
(Sorry some of these pictures are a little blurry! Hopefully Santa's loading a fabulous camera on his sleigh just for me!)
We started our lesson by having our 11 year old son stand with his arms out in front of him. My husband placed 1 bag of brown sugar on his arms. The rules were, keep your arms out in front and don't drop anything. The most important rule.....if you feel like you need help, ask for it!
Slowly Dad continued to pile on the bags of sugar.
It was getting heavier and heavier.
And a LOT harder to hold on to all of them. Help was called for. It is very important to stress to the starter of this game that they need to ask for help when they need it!
Little sister stepped in and placed both of her hands under her big brothers. He could immediately feel the relief. More bags were piled on until they both called for extra help.
Dad stepped in and the difference was immediate. They could have taken much more. The load wasn't too heavy for any of them. I was called in for back up as well. Unfortunately this required me to put down the camera, but you get the picture.
While we were all sharing the load I talked to everyone about how the sugar represents all of the different responsibilities that come with running a household. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, bills, yard work, etc. Just like it was impossible for one person to carry the full load of sugar bags without dropping them, it wasn't possible for one person to do all the responsibilities in the home without leaving things out or falling short.
This is why it is important for us to share the load and the reason why the kids have job charts. (Check these out! The only thing we have found that truly works! The kids are AMAZING at jobs and the "Motherboard" does all the nagging! All I have to do is say, "have you checked the motherboard?") When we are all working together the burden is light and easy to bear. It makes us all happier!
We talked about how there are times in life when we are busy and feel like we are stretched to our limits. It is important to realize that it is good to ask for help, and sometimes we must ask that nothing else be added to our pile.
When our son Dawson was still with us, he required everything I could give...and more. His medical and physical needs required constant help. During that time in my life I was also working from home full time to try to help with expenses. I was involved with several different things and in the RS Presidency. Then I also had friendships, a marriage & 2 other kids that required my attention to keep them healthy. Life was full. I had a hard time asking for help and thought I could balance it all. I started to feel like I was failing at everything because I couldn't give enough of myself to each part of my life that needed my attention. I was asked at that time to join a group that would design a NICU for the new hospital in Twin Falls, ID. I had spent A LOT of time in different hospitals and had somethings that I thought would benefit the hospital and the parents that would spend time there with their little babies. It was something I wanted to be involved in. However, I learned that it would require frequent trips to Twin Falls for meetings and fundraisers, extensive time on the phone trying to coordinate fundraisers for my area, etc. I was at my limit. I tried to balance it all, but I could feel the fall out. So, as much as I loved having this opportunity, I respectfully declined. It was hard to do, but I felt so good about drawing the line for myself and accepting what I can and cannot accomplish. It was better for the group to have someone that could give the project the attention it deserved and it was good for my family that I was not willing to sacrifice their needs in the process of stretching myself too thin.
We talked about how we are able to have our burdens lightened by asking for help, and we are also able to lighten the burdens of others. Discuss different ways you can help. (Visiting the sick, sending cards to express sympathy or gratitude for the person, helping people move, rake leaves, do yard work, holding the door open for someone, etc.)
Then we discussed how the Lord can lighten our burdens, if we ask in humility.
Read Mosiah 24:14-15, 21.
"And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. Yea, and in the valley of Alma they poured out their thanks to God because he had been merciful unto them, and eased their , and had delivered them out of bondage; for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it were the Lord their God."
When we pray the Lord can take the burden of our trials and make it feel like it is a lighter load to bear. If we press forward in faith, we will be strengthened and we can chose to be cheerful and patient with our trials. Eventually the trial will be over and we will be able to look back at the experience and see that the only way we could have made it through this trial was with the help of the Lord. As we bear testimony of that we will be able to share hope with others that may be going through trials in our lives. It is like the Lords hands holding up ours with the sugar. Then when the sugar is removed from us we can go and help others by lifting their load with our hands and helping them have hope and persevere.
The other way that this object lesson can teach us is through thinking of the sugar bags as bad choices or sins. As those choices add up, or even just carrying one for a long period of time, the weight becomes too much for us to bear. When we turn to the Lord for help He can relieve us of our burden through the Atonement. Likewise, when we are feeling sad or upset about something, or in need of comfort, because of the Atonement we can feel the loving support of our loving Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ as they help us carry our burden.