Author Archives: Marci

About Marci

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

Invitation: Primary Sacrament Meeting Program!

Guest designer Pierrette is a Partridge in a pear tree!  She has 2 teenage Partridge birds that she guides them to find their own path while also supporting the dad Partridge bird to lead his own passions.  She leads other birds all over her large district in education to be rock stars!

Earlier we posted this: Preparing for the Primary sacrament meeting presentation 2019. This year’s Primary sacrament meeting program is new territory, with the “Come Follow Me” manual and the home-centered, church-supported curriculum.  Click on the link to see the email that Lindsey is to the parents on August 1. Feel free to adapt this to YOUR children’s needs.

Then, when you’re ready, try this invitation that Pierrette designed, using Greg Olsen’s beautiful art featured above.

Customize page 2 with the details of YOUR presentation, print double-sided (in color or black & white), cut in half, and give several invitations to each child.

Children are natural missionaries, and can sometimes almost effortlessly invite a neighbor, friend, teacher, or coach to hear them speak or sing in church. The Primary Sacrament meeting presentation is a golden opportunity! The message of the invitation — following Jesus Christ — is a positive one for nonmembers, whether or not they come to church.

Jen gave an invitation to a playground mom who ended up being baptized! Read about it here.

Watch for the matching printed program cover coming in August!


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Filed under Sacrament Meeting Presentation

What would Pres. Nelson like for his birthday? (Sept 9)

President Nelson is having a birthday celebration! Anyone can join in online on Friday, Sept. 6, at 7:30 p.m. Utah time, available afterwards on the website anytime. The program will be rebroadcast in seven languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Mandarin and ASL. Artists are taking care of the entertainment (Donny Osmond, The Bonner Family, Nathan Pacheco, Jenny Oaks Baker & Family Four, GENTRI and of course the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square). Maybe your family would like to watch it together and enjoy birthday cupcakes in your own home!

But what about presents? What would Pres. Nelson like for his 95th birthday? I think the greatest present we can give him is to do what he asks. In his closing remarks in the last General Conference, President Nelson said: “Despite contention all around us, one’s home can become a heavenly place, where study, prayer, and faith can be merged with love. We can truly become disciples of the Lord, standing up and speaking up for Him wherever we are” (April 2019).

In Pres. Nelson’s words, I hear three specific requests:

  • Children consciously choosing to avoid fighting (Pres. Nelson called it “contention”).
  • Children energetically joining in family scripture study and prayer.
  • Children standing up and speaking up for Him wherever we are.

How will Pres. Nelson know? He’ll know. He’s a prophet.

Or if you like, you could send a letter, poem, drawing or photo to the FRIEND magazine (instructions here).

Children can give Pres. Nelson the gift of following his counsel. I think that’s the best birthday present he could receive.


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Who’s the Pioneer now? Today’s children in exciting times!

“Pioneer children sang as they walked and walked. . . ” And today’s children are pioneering their way through major changes in the world!

Who’s the first generation to grow up with the “home-centered, church-supported” curriculum? Our children. Who’s the first generation to implement the coming youth program to replace Scouting and Activity Days? Two-hour church? An exploding roster of temples worldwide? A new hymnbook and children’s songbook in the works, accepting contributions from regular folks all over the world? The first ever meeting of a prophet and a pope? 18-year-old missionaries (perhaps siblings of our children) calling home weekly, with sister missionaries wearing dress slacks? 11-year-old deacons and girls doing baptisms for the dead? Family history so easy a child can do it, even if they aren’t old enough to do temple baptisms? Children memorizing the names of the apostles, including the first Chinese-American and South American apostles? And all this in little over one year – one fast-forward, breathtaking year.

And our children are up to the task. Led by intrepid parents also saved for the last days, they’re preparing the kingdom of God to sail triumphant through the last days and into the millennium. They’re getting ready for Christ’s second coming.

A pioneer is defined as “a person who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area” with these synonyms: “explorer, trailblazer, discoverer.” Our children may not be crossing the plains, but they (and we) are pioneering a “cultural wilderness, while still keeping the faith.” (Neal A. Maxwell, If Thou Endure it Well). 

And yes, we hope they do sing as they “walk and walk and walk . . . and walk,” every day.

This year, for Pioneer Day (July 24), as we commemorate the arrival of Brigham Young and the first group of pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley, let’s remind the children that they too are pioneers — explorers, trailblazers, discoverers!

For a simple 10-minute pioneer trek for children (with or without frozen feet), visit Join the Journey: Children’s Pioneer Trek.  Suitable for Singing Time or family night!

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Filed under Activity, Music

Children with different learning styles

Familiar with this concept? I learned it from Michelle in her terrific post Teaching to a Child’s Whole Body-resources for reaching children of all learning styles, one of our blog classics. I learned it again from the Ensign article about teaching children with different learning styles, titled Helping Children Recognize the Holy Ghost. And I spotted the same concept when my dear little friend Abigail brought home a paper from kindergarten about whole body listening (above).

Figuring out how each child learns best in Primary or a family is part of “reaching the one.” Even children with the same learning style who experience the same message in a different way, such as involving different senses, learn better.

Remember that we are not teaching the gospel — we are teaching children. Helping each child learn best is essential to making sure we’re not just talking to ourselves.


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Filed under Reaching the One, Teacher Support

Feelings First-Aid Kit – addressing disruptions at home and in Primary

Sept 2018 FRIEND

It can sometimes be tough for children to manage their emotions. Big feelings can sometimes come out in disruptive ways. But teaching children to manage their feelings, at home and in Primary, starts with acknowledging and accepting the feeling — not asking the child to stuff the feeling inside. (Hint: these emotion-managing skills can be useful for adults too – with family members, coworkers, AND oneself.)

“Emotion coaching” is an idea from Dr. John Gottman that Michelle and I explore in our video workshop on this blog, “Video Workshop: Teaching Kids to Feel Empathy for All God’s Children Through Service (5:25-11:45). Emotion coaching starts with honestly acknowledging the feeling, not denying it. Sadly, an easy default response is scolding a child for feeling angry or upset or disappointed, but children cope better when their feelings are acknowledged. Then, when they feel understood, they can move ahead and brainstorm options of better behavior choices. “All feelings and wishes are acceptable. Not all actions and behaviors are acceptable,” said Dr. Gottman.

“Feelings First-Aid Kit” (the FRIEND magazine article linked above) says, “It’s OK to cry when you feel sad. Sometimes it can help you feel better. Even Jesus cried after His friend Lazarus died. (See John 11:35.)”

Here are two examples of emotion coaching, one at home and one in Primary.


Mom: It’s time to do your homework now!

9 year old: Ugh.  I don’t want to. I want to play some more.

Mom: I know you do.  It’s hard to stop playing when you’re having so much fun! And I know homework isn’t your favorite thing to do.

9 year old:  It’s my least favorite thing to do!

Mom: I know it is.  I never really liked doing homework either.  Let’s do it quickly and get it over with so we have time to go back outside and play together!  Let’s grab your folder and I can help you for a few minutes.



5 year old: I never get a turn. Everyone else always gets to have a turn. I never do.

Teacher/Leader: I can tell you’re very frustrated.  You love having a turn to (hold a picture, say the prayer, play the game). 

5 year old: (Pouting.  Head nodding YES.)

Teacher/Leader: I know it’s hard to wait for your turn. You’ll get a turn soon. Would you like to sit next to me here while you wait for your turn? 


Interested in exploring more about Emotion Coaching? Check out the video workshop on this blog, “Video Workshop: Teaching Kids to Feel Empathy for All God’s Children Through Service. (5:25-11:45). Also see Helping children accept others with special needs.


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Filed under Discipline, Life Lessons

Hinges! in the temple, in my body’s temple

“Even the hinges are restored,” said my friend Kristina. You know that the Provo City Center Tabernacle was built in the 1850s, burned to the ground in 2010, and dedicated as a temple in 2016.  The Deseret News adds,”From the hinges on the doors to the intricacies of the woodwork, the temple gives visitors a glimpse of a time long passed. . . . The large decorative hinges, doorplates and door handles are all typical of the time period.”

“Hinges?” her 6-year-old daughter Leslyn perked up. “I have hinges! know how to sing ‘Hinges’!” She proceeded to demonstrate.

“And YOUR body is a temple too!” I exclaimed. We sang together, “The Lord Gave me a Temple to live within on earth. . . ”

So whether hinges are in the temple or the temple of your body, enjoy singing this classic song “Hinges!” (Children’s Songbook 177) For the lyrics purists, the actual words are “From the top of my neck way down to my ends” and, later, “But I have to be hinges” no matter what the person next to you is singing.

“I’m hinges in front and I’m hinges in back. . . “

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The Second Coming – concepts for children to enrich “Come Follow Me”

May 27-June 2 in “Come Follow Me” is titled “The Son of Man Shall Come.” The parable of the ten virgins is a commonly-used one to talk about how to prepare for the second coming. But the symbolism of virgins and a bridegroom, lamps and oil may leave some children without a clear understanding of what Jesus’ second coming really means. Here are some ideas to fill that gap: Jesus’ First and Second Coming.

Music to master the message includes “When He Comes Again”(Children’s Songbook 82), “Had I Been a Child” (CS 80) and the “Tenth Article of Faith” (CS 128b)

Here’s to preparing the next generation to keep watching and preparing for Him!

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Rollout of Church’s new Youth Program – save the dates!

News from the First Presidency about the new youth program. Save the dates!
SEPT 29, 2019: Fifth-Sunday Presentation
Wards should reserve class time on this Sunday for prerecorded presentations featuring
President M. Russell Ballard. Two separate meetings should be held. The bishop will conduct a
meeting for adults, and a counselor in the bishopric will conduct a meeting for children and youth,
ages 8–18.

NOV 17, 2019: Face to Face Event for Children and Youth
Children and youth, ages 8–18, and their parents and leaders are invited to a broadcast event
with Elder Gerrit W. Gong and the Young Women, Young Men, and Primary General
Presidencies. Time TBA.


We’re excited to see what the Lord has in mind for these choice youth going forward!  Details about the global initiative for children and youth will be shared at as the implementation date approaches.

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Filed under Activity, Scouts

Want to follow up and get feedback from the children?

So you give the children a challenge to translate your good lesson into action (be kinder, help more around the house, pray every day, read scriptures, etc.). You wish you knew if they actually did it? Here’s an idea for followup and feedback.

Towards the end of your lesson, pass out a sheet of inexpensive round dot stickers. Ask the children to draw smiley faces on the dots. Then give them a postcard (a simple 4×6 index card will work nicely) or a sheet of paper. Every time the child applies the lesson, they put a sticker on the postcard or paper. Encourage them to briefly write what they did also. Then, the child either brings you or mails you the completed postcard or paper.

Stapling the sheet of stickers to the card or paper, along with brief instructions for the parents, will maximize the chances of all those pieces arriving home together.

Addressing the postcard to yourself and putting a stamp on it will maximize the chances of your receiving the feedback, if you want to make that investment. Older children can be taught to write your address in the correct place on the postcard and put the stamp in the correct corner (a valuable life skill).

Also see Primary Assessment: Children

Here’s to putting those good lessons into action!

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Filed under Lesson, Parent Involvement

“Is he REALLY a child of God? And who has sent him here?”

May 6-12 in “Come Follow Me” is titled “Rejoice with Me; for I Have Found My Sheep Which Was Lost.” This has particular resonance in Primary, where we think about and seek to love Every Single Child, remembering that each has heavenly parents.

You don’t expect this kind of confession from General Authorities, but Elder Brian K. Taylor of the Seventy told about a visit to the “old rock chapel” of his youth. “Drawn to little voices coming from the same Primary room I attended decades ago, . . . I smiled as I remembered patient and loving teachers who, during our singing time back then, would often look at me—that rambunctious little boy at the end of the pew—as if to say, ‘Is he really a child of God? And who has sent him here?’”

Of course, Elder Taylor, even as a rambunctious little boy, is indeed a child of God – and so is each child in your Primary and in your family. The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow. We are given the sacred task of helping them on their way. So when we are tempted to think, “who has sent HIM here?” let’s hope that if we had little Elder Taylor in our Primary, we might have seen beyond his rambunctiousness and focused on the divinity within, however well hidden!

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Filed under Life Lessons, Reaching the One