“One morning, a family was gathered for scripture study when the phone rang. The mother picked up the phone, and [the caller] spoke frantically on the other end: ‘Hurry! Turn on the news.’ The day was September 11, 2001. The news told of a horrifying terrorist attack in New York City. The children were shaken. Going to school seemed a little scary now. The parents turned off the TV, and the family knelt to pray. After the prayer, the eight-year-old daughter said, ‘It’s going to be alright. I think the terrorists are just like the Gadianton robbers. We don’t need to be afraid of them.’ Peace replaced fear. As the children left for school, the mother and father turned to each other and said, ‘That’s why we do this every morning'” (“Building Spiritual Patterns” by Karmel and Lloyd Newell, Ensign, August 2018, page 68).
These children led the way in applying the scriptures to real life — all too real that day. Read about a child who led a stranger to stop smoking and a child who had his “individual home evening” when his family was “too busy” for family home evening.
Regardless of the past, children can grow to BE the parent they want to be. See “Steven’s First Future Father’s Day” in English and Spanish. This activity on lds.org asks “When you grow up, what kind of parent do you want to be? You can decide now to be a great parent! What can you do to practice these character traits now?”
Thinking of children as leaders sends them the message that you believe in them TODAY — not just believing in the grownups that they will become one day, but their power even as children to be leaders on the way back to our Father in Heaven.
A new age, new challenges! Our foremothers and forefathers never dreamed of the power of the technology in our pockets today. How do we embrace the possibilities and avoid the distraction of digital devices in Primary? Here are some ideas:
Any tricks or traps to share? We welcome your comments below!
Just as each child is unique, each child’s family is unique. Being sensitive to the different shapes and sizes of families pays rich benefits to the children and teachers alike, with the potential to heal unseen wounds. This great advice comes from the July 2018 Ensign magazine in the “Friend Connection” section:
- Include stories that show a variety of families. [Note: lessons often invite you to share relevant stories from your culture to illustrate gospel principles. Make sure some of the stories include children in different kinds of families that your children can relate to.]
- Help children understand how they can contribute to their family’s happiness — even if their family doesn’t seem “ideal” right now. They can look forward to creating a family of their own one day. Each one of us is also part of a loving heavenly family.
- Teach children that we should not be critical of other families but respectful and inclusive, even when we don’t agree with the choices other families make.
More specific ideas here: All Kinds of Families are Part of Heavenly Father’s plan — and other topics.
The illustration is the cover of the book “Our Heavenly Family, Our Earthly Families” by Caitlin Connolly, Bethany Brady Spalding and McArthur Krishna, available from Amazon and Deseret Book.
You probably have some children in your life that are harder to love. They may be in your Primary, they may be in your family. You WANT to love them, and you know that Jesus loves them. What helps me is to remember that love — God’s pure love, or charity — is a gift of the Spirit that I can pray for. Moroni, as he was being hunted day and night, wrote these profound words: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren [he’s talking to us, his readers in the last days], pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.” (Moroni 7:48)
Surprisingly, some of the children that were most challenging for me to deal with have been the ones that I ended up loving the most, once we broke through to each other. And we taught each other a great deal along the way.
More importantly, I have earnestly sought to feel the love that God feels for this child. Sometimes those prayers are answered with surprising loveforce. As I like to say, you can’t have that kind of love flow through you without getting any on you.
Ready for some fresh ideas on loving each one, dealing with distractions, and discipline? Try these ideas:
God has entrusted us with His children — ALL the children. We can love them today — even the unresponsive ones — and maybe we can teach them tomorrow.
Learning about Jesus’ baptism in Come Follow Me (January 28-Feb 3) is a wonderful opportunity for children to think ahead to or reflect back on their own baptism. Being baptized as He was is a tangible, concrete step we take to follow Jesus’ example. Here are a few ideas for you:
If your children have been baptized, you might like to revisit their journal or photo album so they can remember their baptism, their thoughts and feelings. You may want to do the same for your own baptism, and share with your children your own baptism experience.
Planning a ward or stake fireside? Here are “It’s great to be 8” ideas by Jackie!
available on Amazon.com
Public Service Announcement (PSA): You know about Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids, the book that was born on this blog (read the backstory here!). You may also know about Marci’s second book, Girls’ Camp: Ideas for Today’s Leaders. Well, her next book has arrived!
Check out Fifty Five Days of Faith: The Remarkable Story of Dick and Marsha Lavin. It’s the story of a multiracial family that joined the church in 1978, just fifty-five days BEFORE the revelation on priesthood was announced. Read more here, including reviews by by Cathy Stokes, Margaret Blair Young, Romane Armand, Paul Furse, Jacqueline Nagy and Marilyn Nelson.
A portion of the proceeds from sales of this book supports Operation Underground Railroad, which rescues children in 17 countries from sex trafficking.
For related general ideas about teaching children, see
Did you catch this gem in the January 2019 Friend magazine? Children in Greater Manchester, England, wrote their own verse about President Russell M. Nelson for the song “Follow the Prophet.”
Russell is a prophet, baptised at sixteen.
His parents were less active;
He was very keen.
He became a doctor,
Doctor of the heart.
Building many temples,
He has made a start.
The fact that this verse is published in the Friend magazine tells me that President Nelson saw it and must have approved it. Your children may enjoy singing the “Follow the Prophet” song from Adam to today!
The Friend magazine: not just for kids! The January 2019 Friend is full of resources for parents and leaders to implement Come Follow Me at home and in church. Watch for the diamond in the top corner that reads “Come Follow Me.” Here is a selection from the January 2019 Friend in English (see below for Spanish):
Read online at friend.lds.org or subscribe at store.lds.org. You may want to order copies of this special month’s magazine for each of your children, so they will have their own reading chart — or print extra copies online.
Watch for more helps for Come Follow Me in future magazines!
SPANISH SPEAKERS – Notice that the Amigos magazine is separate from the Liahona starting January 2019! Many of the same articles noted above are in the Amigos magazine as well!
Looking for a ready-to-use idea for your family for today or tomorrow? Here’s our collection of favorites!
Merry, merry CHRISTmas, our readers and friends!
PS – Yes, this blog has had a visitor from North Pole, Alaska – as well as the rest of the 50 states in the USA, 9 of 10 Canadian provinces and a total of 181 countries. Read more at What’s Primary like in Nepal or Bahrain?
Starting January 6, 2019, Primary will consist of 5 minutes of opening exercises, plus 20 minutes of Singing Time and 20 minutes of classes, with 5 minutes in between. Leaders of larger Primaries may divide children into two groups and have one group in Primary classes while the other group is in singing time. Then the two groups would switch places, adjusting the times as needed. More details here: Preparing for January 2019: what does it mean for Primary?
Singing time will be music that supports the scriptures studied in class. This means that the music leader will be following the weekly lessons in Come Follow Me — For Primary, looking for songs that support the lesson.
“A Child’s Prayer,” Children’s Songbook, 12–13
“Jesus Once Was a Little Child,” Children’s Songbook, 55
Other songs that go with the monthly theme:
“Seek the Lord Early,” Children’s Songbook, 108
“Search, Ponder, and Pray,” Children’s Songbook, 109
“I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus,” Children’s Songbook, 78
Read these instructions from lds.org, including exciting ideas for adding variety and solid doctrinal learning while you sing and have fun.