Author Archives: Marci

About Marci

Besides my thirteen grandchildren and six grown children, I just keep loving every child that crosses my path.

All Kinds of Families are Part of Heavenly Father’s plan – and other topics

FRIEND magazine, April 2018

The July 2018 Sharing Time theme is “Families Are Part of Heavenly Father’s Plan.” The Sharing Time outline contains this wise advice:  “As you teach about eternal families, be sensitive to children who do not have both a mother and a father in their home. Also be sensitive to children who have parents or siblings who are less active or who are not members of the Church. Encourage all the children to live worthily and prepare so they can have eternal families of their own someday.”

Here are some ideas to prayerfully consider, in order to meet the needs of Primary children in all kinds of families.

For Week 1 “Heavenly Father planned for me to come to a family”: Try Nontraditional families (Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s message is timeless, even if Mother’s Day and Father’s Day may be over for this year.)

For Week 2 “Family prayer, family scripture study, and family home evening can strengthen my family”: Even if parents don’t hold these family activities, children can lead the way! See “And A Little Child Shall Lead Them”

For Week 3 “The priesthood can bless and strengthen my family:” You might be looking for a way to answer girls’ question “Why don’t I get the priesthood too?” See ““The Priesthood and Me”,  Friend magazine, April 2018. Also see “Restoration of Priesthood AND Relief Society.”

For Week 4 “Heavenly Father wants me to marry in the temple and have an eternal family”: See “Primary Children Looking Toward the Temple.”

God bless the children – in all kinds of families.

-Marci

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And A Little Child shall Lead Them

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Children are not the leaders of tomorrow. They are the leaders of today.

I repeat – children are NOT the leaders of TOMORROW. They are the leaders of TODAY. Here are two examples among many of children taking the lead and inspiring (provoking?) others to good works, fulfilling Alma’s words: “And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also.  Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned.” Alma 32:23

From Elizabeth Smart’s book, Where There’s Hope, page 2, speaking about her brother: “When Andrew was a little boy, probably only about two years old, Mom had taken us shopping, and there was a lady standing outside the store smoking a cigarette. Without missing a beat, Andrew said to her, “Smoking is bad for you!” I think my mom died inside a little bit, and she quickly herded us into the store. When we were returning to the car with our groceries, the lady ran up to us and said to Andrew, ‘That was my last cigarette. I’ll never smoke again.’ Whether it was his boyish charm or his sweet face, I don’t know, but he got away with that sort of stunt. . . ”

Here’s another from the Ensign about a child in Peru:

A Seven-Year-Old Missionary

Late one Monday night when my husband and I were busily working in our home, our seven-year-old son, Sergio, appeared. “Well, nobody remembered family home evening,” he said. “I guess you’re not interested.”

My husband had come home late, and he tiredly explained that we had been too busy and still had much to do before we could turn in for the night. At that we continued with our work.

After a few moments we realized Sergio was reading his illustrated Book of Mormon Stories reader all by himself. My husband and I looked at each other and silently agreed that, even if it was late, we shouldn’t deny ourselves the chance to hold family home evening.

When we went into the living room, Sergio told us in all seriousness that we didn’t need to be concerned because he had already started his “individual home evening” and had sung a hymn, said a prayer, and now he was giving the lesson. We stayed and listened as our boy talked about the First Vision.

That night our son was a powerful missionary to us, testifying of the importance of family home evening. My husband and I realized that often we try to teach principles that we are not completely willing to obey. What a wonderful experience we would have missed if we had not participated in that individual home evening.

Cecila Lozada, Maranga Ward, Lima Perú Maranga Stake

 

When children sing “lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way,” (CS 2), I sometimes wonder who is teaching whom. Thank you, dear children, for showing ME the way.

-Marci

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Join the Journey: Children’s Pioneer Trek

Notice the oxen yoked together and the pioneer children hauling their laundry-basket-handcart.

Teens all over the church re-enact the 1847 pioneer trek. Youth are trekking in Taichung, Taiwan and across the pampas in Argentina. In fact, the Church News reported that “in recent years the two-wheeled wooden vehicles have made a comeback that likely outsizes their original numbers.” That is, more people have pushed a handcart in recent years than ever pushed handcarts across the plains in the 1800s. Youth have life-changing personal experiences, strengthen faith and build testimonies as they learn about these everyday pioneer heroes.

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But why limit this faith-building trek to youth? Children too will be inspired as they understand the Lord’s hand in guiding His people through wildernesses of all kinds, then and now. Click here for a simple “how-to” for a 10-minute pioneer trek for families, nursery, Junior or Senior Primary. You can trek on July 24 (Pioneer Day) or any day. This is a free chapter from the book that was born on this blog, “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids.

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See also Pioneer Experience – Frozen Feet and All and Black Mormon Pioneers.

God bless the pioneers of yesterday and today.

-Marci

 

 

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The Power of Music, for Children “From One to Ninety-two”

The following is a free chapter from the book that was born on this blog, Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids.  Click here to learn more about how this blog became a book. Although this story is not about my own mother, I share it here in memory of my mother who passed away yesterday.

 

The low undertone of children’s chatter continued unabated as the woman stepped to the podium, punctuated by an occasional baby’s wail and parents’ “shh . . .”. Flipping her long brown hair over her shoulder with a practiced nod, she gripped the podium with both hands to steady herself, and began to speak.

“Many of you know my elderly mom has been getting weaker and weaker. We knew she couldn’t last much longer. Well, I got the call on Friday night that I’d better get to the hospital – it wouldn’t be long.” The woman’s soft dark eyes scanned the audience, as if she was gathering strength to continue.

“I rushed into her hospital room to see her lying there, perfectly still, her chest barely moving with each shallow breath. I took her hand and talked to her. She just kept lying there breathing in and out, but I know she heard me. I just know.”

The daughter took a deep breath and went on. “I said the things I needed for her to hear. When there was nothing left to say, I started singing. I wanted her to hear my voice, to know I was there.” The woman stopped to clear her throat, adjusted the microphone for no reason, and continued in a steady monotone.

“I started with ‘I am a Child of God,’ then sang through every Primary song I knew as the tunes and words came into my mind one by one. Then I started over with ‘I am a Child of God’ again. When I came to the last line, ‘to live with Him someday,” I thought ‘Someday? Maybe today.’ I kept singing softly until Mom slipped away, less than an hour after I arrived.”

She paused a moment to collect herself. “I know she’s at peace now, with God. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” She grabbed a tissue and went back to her seat.

I thought of the blessings that come from simple Primary songs for children of all ages, throughout their lives. As an elderly child of God lay quietly that day, her own voice spent, her daughter became her voice, asking God to “lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way.” This time, the way was completely uncharted: the way to the other side, to “live with Him someday.” At that moment, this beloved Primary song reminded this elderly child of God that she was simply going home.

 

Check out the rest of the book, with ready-to-use ideas for channeling boundless energy, teaching about ideal families to children who live in other-than-ideal families, staffing challenges, bullying, children’s music for a lifetime, kids with special needs, building a celestial nursery, pint-sized service projects, and behavior management. And you’ll find some of the best children’s lesson enhancements and activities of all time. Available on Amazon.comDeseretBook.com and wherever LDS books are sold.

 

 

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June Sharing Time: Repentance for kids

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Even kids can learn the joy of repentance (and many parents and leaders sure wish they would!). Week 4 Sharing Time theme is “When I repent, I can be forgiven,” part of the June theme “I will follow Heavenly Father’s plan by being baptized and confirmed.”

Leaders can take this foundational gospel principle of repentance and put it in kids’ terms, teaching them that repentance is a positive, joyful principle of change and turning to the Lord. See these ideas:

For other ideas for June Sharing Time, see “All Are Alike Unto God” – a timely Sharing Time or family night lesson at the 40th anniversary of 40th anniversary of OD 2.

 

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“All Are Alike Unto God” – a timely Sharing Time or family night lesson at the 40th anniversary of OD 2

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Today we share a family night or Sharing Time lesson outline about unity in the face of prejudice and intolerance. “All Are Alike Unto God” is a valuable lesson for children (and adults) from TimesAndSeasons.org. It’s an easy-to-follow, step-by-step lesson plan for Junior and Senior Primary. Feel free to adapt it to the needs of your children.

This message is particularly timely given the 40th anniversary of Official Declaration 2, extending priesthood and temple blessings to all God’s worthy children. BeOne.lds.org has links to the June 1, 2018 “BeOne” event, an essay on Race and the Priesthood, and links to bios of Black Mormon Pioneers such as Jane Manning James (pictured above), Elijah Abel, and others.

Also see the FRIEND magazine articles about Jane Manning James: “Jane’s Choice” and “Jane’s Journey” (Sept 2017 and Oct 2017 FRIEND magazines).

Kids may enjoy singing (and moving their bodies!) along with Sister Gladys Knight’s arrangement of “Come, Come Ye Saints” with a beat.

The June Sharing Time theme is “I Will Follow Heavenly Father’s Plan by Being Baptized and Confirmed.” Each month the Sharing Time manual encourages:”Supplement the ideas provided here with some of your own. Each week, plan ways to (1) identify the doctrine, (2) help the children understand it, and (3) help them apply it in their lives. Ask yourself, “What will the children do to learn, and how can I help them feel the Spirit?”

In your June Sharing Time lesson, you may want to teach these principles of unity and love for all God’s children as a way to “follow Jesus Christ by being baptized and confirmed and keeping baptismal covenants.” You may want to teach about Jane Manning James as a faithful woman who did just that, despite tremendous obstacles.

Jesus gets the last word on this one. He said: “all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33) and “I say unto you, be one.” (Doctrine & Covenants 38:27)

-Marci

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Is Anything Getting Through? Proof #1

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Especially on discouraging days, sometimes we wonder whether anything we say really penetrates children’s minds. I have proof.

recent post included the story of Jesus’ service to the paralyzed man let down through the roof. This sweet story is one that has particular meaning for me. I learned it in Vacation Bible School when I was about 7 years old. I was amazed at the faith of the man and his friends and the love of Jesus for the paralyzed man. I didn’t know personally anyone who actually got into crowded houses by making holes in roofs (my parents would tan my hide), but just like that paralyzed man, I would do anything to get to Jesus if I had the chance.

Then my parents stopped going to our Methodist church (that’s another story). I didn’t hear that Bible story from the time I was 7 until I was 16. That’s when found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I heard that story again, I instantly remembered it from my childhood, with total recall of the room, my short plastic chair for my little legs, the face of my teacher holding the picture of that heart-tugging story.

I remember that every time I wonder whether anything is penetrating when we teach children. I have proof that some things do stay with a child. You’re doing more good than you may ever know when you lovingly introduce children to their Savior.

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Primary Prelude music to increase sacrament meeting reverence!

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Brilliant Primary president Lindsey writes about a recent ward council meeting: “The bishop asked how we could increase reverence in the chapel, and the discussion led us to this idea.”

Imagine Primary children singing songs they know well as prelude music for an occasional sacrament meeting. Just ask the families to arrive early (heroic, I know). Start with whomever you have, then as children arrive, they join the group singing on the stand.

You can be sure that folks will quiet their chatter to hear the children sing. They can’t help but feel the Spirit. In addition, the children will enjoy this opportunity to share their feelings about God through song, and it gives them additional practice to embed these gospel songs with powerful messages into their hearts.

For a related idea, see Stake Children’s choir made easy.

Sing on, children!

-Marci

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Getting acquainted with Pres. Nelson: May Sharing Time “Prophets Teach Us to Live the Restored Gospel”

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May’s Sharing Time theme gives us a great opportunity to get acquainted with our new prophet, Pres. Russell M. Nelson. The theme “Prophets Teach Us to Live the Restored Gospel” is a chance to teach children that no matter who the living prophet is, he speaks for the Lord and teaches the same gospel truths.

See “Meet Our New Prophet” in the March 2018 Friend magazine. You may want to play the matching game with statements and pictures about Pres. Nelson. Be sure to read Pres. Nelson’s three statements the day the announcement was made, encouraging kids and adults to live the gospel.

Week 3 Sharing Time theme is “Prophets teach me to pay tithing.” Consider this idea: Paying Tithing on Treats.

Week 4 is “Prophets teach me to live the Word of Wisdom.” Try this idea: Word of Wisdom – sharing time lesson and family night idea (our most popular post of all time!)

God bless our prophet.

-Marci

 

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Tracking baptismal clothing made easy

Thanks to guest Jen H. for this great idea! Jen H. is mom to 3 children, loves reading, organizing and good food.  She loves serving in Primary and sharing good ideas. 

The Primary presidency is part of the team managing baptismal clothing. It’s not a glamour job, keeping track of wet baptismal clothes. But it’s one of the important tasks behind the scenes, to make this sacred day go smoothly for each Primary child.  Here’s one way to do it.

Tape a brightly colored label to an ordinary gallon-sized ziploc bag with the following text.

(Click here for the ready-to-print label, 6 on a page: Baptismal clothing plastic bag label )

Baptismal Clothing Bag

After getting baptized, please wring out the jumpsuit in the sink and place it in this bag. Please give this bag to your Primary president before leaving the church. Please do not put any personal belongings in this bag. Please do not take this clothing home to wash.

It’s the little things that keep the kingdom running smoothly.

-Marci

For more great ideas from Jen H, see

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