Time for a new paradigm for early morning seminary??

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Time for a new paradigm for early morning seminary??

Postby CM7316-p40 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:57 pm

We live in the metro area of a large city in the U.S. and it seems like the sacrifices made by students and families to attend early morning seminary are several times those made by families who live near release-time seminary or those who's seminary buildings are within walking distance of their high schools. It's becoming almost unworkable when you take into account that the average commute here is 1.5 to 2 hrs. and the traffic is one of the worst in the U.S. They don't allow any home study in our area since early morning is available to us. Here are some examples of the difficulties:

One home's father is gone by 4:50 am which leaves the mother the choice of leaving all her other younger under-aged children alone (crossing her fingers that nothing happens) to take her child to seminary or to wake the entire household up and take them with her. She has no way of getting
her seminary student from seminary to school unless it's held at a home near a bus stop because she has kids to get off to middle school and to elementary school. It's not an option for older seminary students to give rides, and most other moms in the area have the same problem so they aren't ride options. One has a husband who travels and is gone for days at a time. Others have husbands in the military who are deployed. Another few homes homeschool and unnecessarily have to get their kids up very early for seminary and have the same difficulties as mentioned above.

Other homes have children who are involved in sports with early before-school practices or after-school practices who get home late at night only to just get started on homework. Many have suffered emotionally, mentally, and physically because of lack of sleep. They have ended up quitting seminary before the year is over from exhaustion.

With the technology available to us in these modern times, isn't there any way to have some sort of independent-study seminary with a Sunday or weeknight face-to-face meeting with other students? Or some sort of daily online experience since most teens are constantly online anyway? You could have lessons and tracking online. Thanks for letting me share our difficulties. It just seems like there must be a better way.

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Postby marianomarini » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:28 am

I wish!
Of course we must be aware about misuse of it.
Even estetic surgery was introduced for big and real problems and became soon a way to change any small singular imperfection.
In my area there is not a early morning program so we can follow your suggestion to improve our situation.
Thaks a lot!
La vita è una lezione interminabile di umiltà (Anonimo).
Life is a endless lesson of humility (Anonimous).

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Postby KAnderson » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:03 am

The Church does have an online program that is still partially in pilot. Our Stake started using it as a replacement for home study last year. I would suggest you contact the High Councillor responsible for seminary.

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Postby nbflint » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:39 am

Our stake has approved the use of Skype by one student to attend early morning seminary from home.

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I agree

Postby BellMR » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:39 am

Obviously I think seminary is a very great and worthwhile thing. But I too have serious issues with early morning seminary and the toll it takes on the youth in our area. When my kids are approaching seminary age I will do everything in my power to get release time seminary in place. If I don't succeed, I would not rule out changing jobs and/or moving to a place where release time is available. That is how strongly I feel about it.

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Postby lionelwalters » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:45 pm

I have to say that I love early morning Seminary, though I do understand your concerns. Because it was the only option where I lived, I have both attended and taught early morning Seminary and have seen the benefits of it in my life and the lives of the students I taught. In places where the Church is small and where the total number of youth in a unit rarely reaches 10, I feel that early morning Seminary is a crucial part in strengthening the youth and helping them to establish trusting faith-based relationships with peers and leaders. To be honest, I can't think of a better way for youth in these situations to start the day than with each other and an inspired teacher, studying the Scriptures and feeling the Spirit.

I was blessed when I attended and taught Seminary to live close to the classroom (usually the local meetinghouse about 20 mins drive each way). Since that time, though, I have moved to a stake where nothing is close and where incovenient travel is the lot of almost all who wish to attend ward and stake programmes, including Seminary. In many cases, this means sacrificing some good extracurricular activities in favour of some faith-building Church activities, but I don't think that is a bad thing. It may even give some parents an opportunity to teach the importance of sacrificing for the Lord rather than giving in to some of the pressures of the world.

Having said all that, though, I agree that there can be other ways to offer Seminary where distance and other considerations make in-person attendance difficult or impossible. When I taught Institute here last year, I used video conferencing to enable distant students to attend. This required some simple setup at my end, and depended on students' self-motivation to actually turn up. There was also the risk of the technology not working properly at times. But on the whole, the feedback from my students was very positive. They appreciated the opportunity to benefit from this inspired programme despite their inability to attend in person. I know Seminary-aged teenagers can be a different story when it comes to self-motivation, but perhaps video conferencing could be investigated in your stake as an option for delivering Seminary. As was suggested earlier, you'd need to put the question to your high councilman over S&I or your stake presidency.

If it's of any value, you can visit http://vsc.lswalters.com for free six-way video conferencing.

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