Nope, not April Fools. 🙂
I have mixed feelings about my experiences with home teaching. My father taught me from an early age about visiting the widows, the less fortunate, those who did not fit in with the Saturday golf games.
We probably went every month, and usually had a message, but we also spent a lot of time helping these people move, chopping up wood in backyards, and just talking. I watched my father care for these people. When a few members questioned his politics when he was called to be our bishop, I knew that politics had nothing to do with it. He taught me by example what really mattered, and I learned to love these people as well. Not because I was assigned, although that’s how it starts. I did fall asleep a lot though. Those old couches were always really comfortable.
On the other side of the issue, I have had very reliable, come-every-month types. Some stand out more than others – like the one who invited my wife and I over for dinner more than once, made dessert, played board games, and helped us move. I know it was important to him that he did his monthly duty, but I also knew he cared. He listened empathically as I expressed my frustration with the Prop 8 letter being read in Sacrament meeting (this was in Washington) last year–right after he gave a lesson about following the prophet.
As a home teacher, I have struggled with certain families. It often seems the standard, “Is there anything we can do for you” question at the end of the visits doesn’t get much in response. Not that we need to be pushy, but I think we can try a little harder to be of real service to our families.
Perhaps even more importantly, I think we need to do a better job of allowing our own home teachers to serve us. It is one thing to take care of others. For some people, it is an entirely different–and often more difficult–challenge to allow others to do the caregiving from time to time.
What makes a good home teacher to you? What are some of your better experiences?