The June 2016 Sharing Time theme is “The First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel Make It Possible for Me to Live with God Again.” Start by having the children recite or sing the 4th Article of Faith so they can name those first four principles and ordinances:
- Holy Ghost
Of these, which do you think is most overlooked when we teach children? My vote is for Repentance. We teach children to have faith, and we talk a lot about baptism, confirmation, and listening to the Spirit. But we seldom teach kids about how to repent, or teach them that this is a positive principle of self-improvement, not self-scolding, because Jesus already paid for our sins when we repent. Repentance is the Atonement of Jesus Christ in action, giving us a fresh start anytime we want it.
We can teach scripture stories about great men who repented, such as:
- Enos who pleaded with God all night for forgiveness (see Enos 1:1–4),
- Alma leaving King Noah’s court and becoming a prophet (Mosiah 17:2–4; 18:1–17);
- Jonah (Jonah 1–3); the
- Anti-Nephi-Lehies burying their swords (Alma 23:4–18; 24:6–19).
But we can also make this principle of repentance relevant to children’s everyday lives and teach them how to repent like those scriptural heroes. They may need a bit of guidance in connecting Jonah’s repentance to their need to repent after breaking a rule, for example.
Here’s a lesson about how to incorporate repentance into a child’s daily personal prayer, along with a coloring activity: Daily repentance in daily prayers
Also see this story about repentance that children can relate to: Mailbox Mischief: repentance and atonement for Sharing Time or families by Jackie.