Honesty: teach them how, as well as what and why

photography.nationalgeographic.com/ July 14, 2009

Download the 1-page lesson plan:  Honesty sharing time outline.

Download a 1-page story about a baseball player who was honest: Honesty story (also see below)

Looking for a Sharing Time or Family Home Evening lesson about honesty? Honesty can be a tough concept for children who like magical thinking and don’t realize that nothing – nothing – is ever hidden from the Lord. Very little is hidden from their parents and teachers either, at least not for long!

Joseph Smith was honest even when he was pressured to deny his First Vision. Jesus “always spoke the truth,” says the songwriter of Jesus Once Was a Little Child (CS 55).

Even more than telling children what they should do (“be honest”) and why (“it’s a commandment”), teach the how. It can be helpful for children to hear grownups help them disassemble the stumbling blocks: children may think they might get in trouble if they tell the truth, or they may fear that people may not like them. To avoid these situations, it’s tempting to try to cover up a bad choice by being dishonest. But adults can teach and testify that honesty is the only way to feel the sweet peace of the companionship of the Spirit. Being honest leads others to trust us.

Here’s a story that illustrates that principle.

Kent is Tempted

For four innings the two teams battled on even terms; neither had scored. During the first of the fifth, there were two men out and one man on second base attempting to steal third. The catcher made a nice peg to Kent, the third baseman, in what looked like a sure out. The runner made a beautiful slide and as Kent attempted to tag him, he knew he narrowly missed the runner. From the umpire’s position it looked like an out, and that’s the way he called it. The fans let out a tumultuous yell. But Kent stood at third.

“Play ball!” shouted the umpire.

“No, he wasn’t [out],” came the astounding reply from Kent. “I didn’t tag him. The umpire is wrong. The runner should be called safe.”

A hushed silence gripped the crowd. A few catcalls were aimed at Kent for being so dumb as not to take advantage of the umpire’s decision. Under their breath his teammates were cursing Kent. But inwardly Kent knew that he had fought off temptation, and that was his only compensation. He felt good about it.

[Later in the game] Kent was at bat. Some of the fans [were] still heckling Kent for his fifth inning stand. Two strikes were called. It looked like Kent might strike out. Then he made a nice long hit over the right fielder. Kent circled the bases – past second, third, then on toward home. The throw-in was coming. The play was going to be close. One runner had scored; this would be the winning run. The catcher had the ball. Kent was forced to make a hook slide past the catcher. This he did beautifully. The dust and the umpire’s position made it impossible for him to tell whether the catcher had tagged the runner. It was a tough decision for the umpire, the second one in the game. The umpire walked straight towards Kent and looked him square in the eye. “Did he tag you?” asked the umpire sharply.

“No sir, he didn’t.” In a flash the crowd sensed that the game was won. Kent’s word was good with the umpire. (Adapted from Gospel Truths, by A.C. Nielsen, LDS Department of Education; page 175, quoted in Scripture Lessons in Leadership: Appendices to Teacher’s Manual, Deseret Sunday School Union, 1962, 534-535)

Use this story as part of a Sharing Time lesson. Download the 1-page Honesty sharing time outline.


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Lone Cub Scouts: “Activity Days” for Boys

photo 1Guest author Jen returns to write with love and concern in her heart for some of the older Primary boys who needed something more. Inspired by the Spirit, she sought to meet each child’s needs. See Jen’s other posts here , here and here.

Jen writes:

Several months ago I expressed concern about the boys in our Senior Primary.  For many reasons they aren’t able to attend Cub Scouts, but I felt that they could benefit from something like Activity Days for Boys.

I asked for advice from the bishopric and Stake Primary President. With their support, I felt inspired to ask a father of one of the boys for help. He meets with three boys every other Sunday for about twenty minutes after church to talk about what they’ve been working on in their Faith in God booklets, set goals, etc.  It has been really wonderful.

The Activity Day boys & girls went on a combined end-of-the-year hiking activity. The pictures from the hike fill me with such joy and happiness.  Listening to the Spirit tell me that the boys in our ward needed something a little different has changed part of our Primary for the better. It has also reminded me of the great love our Father has for each of His children.


photo 2

photo 3

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Classroom Management Poster: Download and print from home!

photo from employmentandlaborinsider.com

photo from employmentandlaborinsider.com

This idea is catching fire! Awhile back we shared these 5 simple Classroom Management rules in kid-friendly language that cover just about everything you need but remain concise and easy to remember.  We received some excellent feedback and success stories from Primaries who put them to use.  One Primary President took this idea and created a digital document for all of her Primary teachers.  Here’s the story.

For a large classroom-sized print, here’s Primary Rules on 5 separate pages. Print on regular paper,  tape together, and voila!

As always, reverence is not an end in itself, but a means of inviting the Spirit to whisper truth to children’s hearts.


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5th Sunday in August: Celebrate Birthdays of Primary, Pres. Monson

Painting of the first Primary from lds.org

Painting of the first Primary from lds.org

What do Primary and President Monson have in common? Their birthdays are both in late August! The first Primary was held on August 25, 1878 (see History of Primary at lds.org). President Monson was born on August 21, 1927.

Pres. Monson on his birthday in 2013 at the Hartford Temple groundbreaking, from deseretnews.com

Pres. Monson on his birthday in 2013 at the Hartford Temple groundbreaking, from deseretnews.com

Perhaps your Primary children would like to celebrate one or the other? Or perhaps they would enjoy a birthday party for Primary and President Monson, all rolled into one? Having a 5th Sunday on August 31 gives you the chance! 

Download the lesson plan here.

For another service project idea, check out this idea.

What other pint-sized service projects can you imagine? We’re always looking for ideas!


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Teaching about the Sabbath Day through Activity & Music: August Sharing Time Idea

Here’s an idea for August 2014 Sharing Time, week 4’s theme: “The Sabbath is a day of rest and worship.”

The Sabbath day concept is a little tricky for kids to grasp.  In a recent Sharing Time lesson about this topic it was obvious the kids didn’t quite  have an understanding of the Sabbath day when they answered the question, “What do we do on Sunday?” with things such as: “Only wear a dress,”  “Pay our tithing,”  “Be nice,”  “Don’t drink beer” (It’s OK to drink beer the other 6 days of the week, I guess?).  Not once was “Go to church” or “Think about Jesus” ever mentioned.

Everyone has their own interpretation about what it means to keep the Sabbath day holy.  Making a list of what one should or should not do on the Sabbath is not very effective and where one family might choose not to watch TV on Sundays, others may.  What we can and should teach is the doctrine from the scriptures.  And of course, a fun activity to accompany good doctrine always goes a long way with Primary children.

Often, children are more likely to remember something when it’s taught through music!  It’s a win-win situation really; it’s more fun and more memorable for the kids and also makes it easier on you!

Here’s an idea for you, compliments of my mother-in-law Cindy who still has her music time visuals from 20 years past. She continues to share wonderful ideas that engaged children back then and still do today!

Clothesline Activity:

  1. Create some simple visuals to go with the lyrics of the song Saturday (see lyrics and visual ideas below).
  2. Gather a clothesline and clothespins for singing time.
  3. As you teach the song you can hang up each picture on your clothesline across the front of the Primary room, or call on children to help you do so.  You can also add key words to the front of each visual, for your readers.
  4. As you learn the song you can take down the visuals.  Or after the children are familiar with the song you could mix up the visuals and ask the children to put them back on the clothesline in the correct order.

Courtesy of Peg Stock Photos

Lyrics/Visual Ideas:

Saturday is a special day  (a big smiley face)
It’s the day we get ready for Sunday. ( a picture of a church building)
We clean the house, and we shop at the store, (a picture of a home or a simple drawing of dollar bills, or both)
So we won’t have to work until Monday.
We brush (wash) our clothes, and we shine our shoes, (picture of clothing and/or shoes)
And we call it our get-the-work-done day.
Then we trim our nails, and we shampoo our hair, (picture of a nail trimmer, bottle of shampoo, or bathtub)
So we can be ready for Sunday! (another picture of the church)

Saturday (CS 196)


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Filed under Activity, Lesson, Music, Nursery, Scriptures, Sharing Time

Listening to the Savior with Your Whole Body

You may have caught this post, Teaching to a Child’s Whole Body:  Resources for reaching children of all learning styles. Perhaps you noticed the connection to the recent ENSIGN article about teaching children with different learning styles, titled Helping Children Recognize the Holy Ghost.

I came across a scripture that shows that children of God of all ages need to listen with their whole bodies. Remember when the Nephites were gathered around the ancient Bountiful Temple after Christ’s death, and they heard a voice from heaven? Notice how they finally were able to hear it: “And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did 1) open their EARS to hear it, and 2) their EYES were towards the sound thereof; and they did 3) LOOK steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.” (3 Nephi 11:5, emphasis and numbering added.) I think the Nephites listened with their whole bodies, so that “the third time they did understand the voice which they heard,” followed by this powerful message in the next verse: “Behold my Beloved Son.” I think God’s children — and that’s all of us — are enormously blessed when we listen with our whole bodies, so we too can hear God’s voice.


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Ready or Not, Here They Come!


Photo from 123rf.com

Imagine my surprise when I saw this line in the sacrament meeting program. I highlighted it in purple below:


Sacrament Meeting

Opening Hymn                       Choose the Right #239

Invocation                               By Invitation

Closing Hymn                         Be Thou Humble #130

Primary teachers may be excused to prepare their classes during the hymn.

Benediction                               By Invitation

I realize there are two ways to start Primary: 1) either beating the kids to class so you can set the tone, or 2) having the children beat you to class so that THEY set the tone (gulp). It made me think of the following two guided meditations that we used in a Primary training meeting, showing the results of each. Hold onto your funny bone, and read the two meditations here.


Thanks to Heather for this line lifted from her sacrament meeting program. 

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