Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 4 and Pulling Together

Elder Boyd K Packer tells a story of going to an old-time country fair. The center of attraction was an oxen pulling contest, where teams of yoked oxen competed to see which pair could move a weights of ten thousand pounds a distance of at least three feet for three consecutive pulls. A number of beautiful teams, some appearing to be perfectly matched were given the commands to repeatedly slam against the yoke, either succeeding by moving the weight forward or jerking to a halt in failure. Much to everyone’s amazement, the teams that were largest and perfectly matched visually didn’t even place. Instead a team of nondescript animals that were smaller and apparently unmatched took home the prize by moving the weight all three times.

Why am I writing about an oxen pulling contest? Because as the senior missionaries have worked on the team teaching skills that we will need for our assignments, I have thought of how we have to pull together even though we may not be matched in many ways. You would think that older couples would have mastered this, but teaching an effective, unified lesson with a person who may have a different teaching style, different pacing and different strengths is more difficult than you would think. We have actually done fine, but we are improving because we are now preparing together rather than separately, and are teaching in a more overlapping, seamless way rather than in a his-turn, my-turn approach. Since we’ll be working together so closely for the next eighteen months, I’m sure we’ll hone our skills even more.

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