I loved serving in Primary and being able to see the sweet faces of the children every week. Although I loved everything about my calling, I have to admit that I did have a favorite place where I loved to be, and that was attending the baptisms of our Primary children. I absolutely loved it and confess that it was my favorite part of my calling. I can recall the sweet faces of those little children dressed in white sitting next to their families and feeling the love of all those who were in attendance. Every time that I stood in front of these little ones and officially welcomed them to Primary and spoke to them for a few minutes, I could not help but cry every time. I miss those moments.
In addition to attending baptisms, as a Primary Presidency, every year we would plan a small fireside titled “It’s Great to be 8.” This is not a mandatory activity, but one that is planned by many primaries across the country. This is an activity where children who will be turning 8 during the year can learn the importance of baptism and how they can prepare for the big day.
You can be as creative as you would like with this fireside. I will offer a few suggestions based on my experience, but please feel free to add your own ideas to your fireside. There are also hundreds of ideas online which is what inspired me every time. The following outline is an introduction to the idea for those who have never heard of or are not familiar with the “It’s Great to be 8” idea.
- We always planned our fireside a few weeks or months before the first child turned 8 that year. Remember, some children turn 8 in January so you need to start planning the year before.
- We held ours at one of our homes because we felt it was a cozy and comfortable place for the children. This worked for us since we had a manageable group of children.
- Usually one or both parents attended with their child. Other siblings were welcome, but parents often brought children alone so they felt special. This was always portrayed as a special fireside for the child turning 8.
- A talk on baptism and the Holy Ghost were prepared by members of the Primary presidency. We tried to use object lessons and stories to make it interesting and easier for the children to learn about this sacred ordinance.
- We also prepared a booklet beforehand that had information for both parents and children that they could use to help prepare for the big day. I don’t have a copy of the one we used, but there are many available online. The informational packet included the following:
- Information about scheduling chapel for baptism day
- How long it takes to fill the font
- A few scrapbook pages in black and white for children to write feelings on baptism day.
- We tried to keep fireside to one hour. This was perfect for the parents and helped to keep the children’s attention.
- We always made fun refreshments: cookies in the shape of the number 8, and cupcakes with number 8 on them. A fun extra that the children always looked forward to.
- We started and ended the meeting with a child saying the prayer.
Like I said earlier, this is just a quick outline, you can find many ideas online that are creative and wonderful.
Check out some of the great ideas over at Sugardoodle!