Category Archives: Life Lessons

Dodge those arrows and rocks like Samuel the Lamanite!

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Download the free audio MP3 and sheet music here (available exclusively on PrimaryinZion!)

Kids don’t have to stand on a wall to have arrows and rocks thrown at them — or words that hurt like arrows and rocks. But just like Samuel, they might be unhurt. Here’s what happened to Samuel:

“(They) were angry with him; and they cast stones at him upon the wall, and also many shot arrows at him as he stood upon the wall; but the Spirit of the Lord was with him, insomuch that they could not hit him with their stones neither with their arrows.” Helaman 16:2

Like Samuel, children can have the Spirit of the Lord with them, no matter what others do. A little ignoring can go a long way. Kindness to the verbal arrow-shooter can work too. (See “Passing Kindness” game from the Friend magazine for ways to show kindness to others, and how to defend themselves when others are unkind.)

But if the situation is serious, crossing over into bullying, it may be time to take action. Try these ideas:

And in case Samuel the Lamanite is one of YOUR heroes too, teach your children this unforgettable original song (only available here at PrimaryinZion!): Samuel the Lamanite song (with sheet music)!

Don’t let those arrows hurt you. Keep the Spirit of the Lord with you, just like Samuel.

-Marci

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Our “Overheard in Primary” series: go ahead and smile sometimes!

If you sometimes feel like this in your Primary, here’s a lift!

We call our series of clever kid anecdotes “Overheard in Primary.” Type “Overheard in Primary” in the search box at the right to see them all. Here are a few of our favorites:

Also check out this 1975 Ensign article called “Mirthright,” including these gems:

My Primary class of 11-year-old boys had just received the lesson on the 13th Article of Faith. Each boy groaned over how long this article was, but tried hard to memorize it. Boy after boy recited it and received his emblem until one little redheaded boy got stuck. He struggled on: “… If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we … we … ,” he faltered. I hinted, “We sss …” He looked puzzled for only a moment and then finished triumphantly, “We celebrate!”  — Caroline Harper Spanish Fork, Utah

My four-year-old son decided he wanted to write a letter to Heavenly Father after seeing his mother write a letter to her parents. He wrote diligently how thankful he was for the beautiful flowers, birds, and trees. My wife addressed and stamped her envelope, and my son wanted to do the same. His mother explained that we can talk with Heavenly Father directly through prayer, which is better than writing, but that we cannot send him a letter because he has not given us his address. Very patiently, he continued, “Well, Mommy, if Heavenly Father lives in the sky, we could just send it airmail.”  –  Don L. Searle, Jr. Orem, Utah

What crazy, touching or offbeat things have YOUR children said in Primary?  Send your favorites in to us (primaryinzion@yahoo.com) to be spotlighted in next month’s round up of some of our favorite Overheard in Primary gems!

-Marci

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January Sharing Time: agency and choices

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A new year, a new manual, a new theme! The theme for Week 4 is “I have agency, and I am responsible for my choices.” This is such a critical concept for children to understand as they begin to experiment with their God-given power to choose in this mortal life. The manual reminds us on every page, “Supplement the ideas provided here with some of your own.” Here are some supplemental ideas to try:

 

-Marci

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Pray for women church leaders – setting an example

I paused in my prayer. I had just prayed for my bishop and ward Relief Society President, stake president and stake Relief Society President, and the prophet. For the first time, the thought occurred to me that I could pray for the General Relief Society president also.

I often pray for my ward and stake leaders (both men and women) and their counselors. They need our prayers, and we are blessed by their leadership. It meant a lot to me when President Thomas S. Monson said, “I have felt your prayers in my behalf and have been sustained and blessed” (April 2008).

Both boys and girls are blessed when they understand that there are strong, righteous men AND women leading the kingdom on every level, from their own ward or branch to the worldwide level. Setting the example by praying for these men and women blesses their lives and ours.

Guest author Christanne suggests: “Point out women leaders to your children. As I have had a calling as Stake Relief Society president, I noticed that every time I was on the stand or speaking, a mother in the audience was pointing at me and whispering something to her children. After one meeting in which I was conducting, I walked over to talk with this woman and her son. The son saw me and said, “Mom, there she is.” The mother explained that she specifically pointed out women leaders to her children and explained the role they had in that setting. Her children had seen me speak in stake conference, translate a woman’s testimony from Spanish into English during stake conference, and conduct a fireside. Her son had seen me often enough that he started pointing me out to his mother. People appreciate seeing women leaders and children benefit from seeing women leaders in various roles.”

Children might enjoy this story about a bird from General Relief Society president Sister Jean B. Bingham (video above):

“One beautiful spring day I left the door open to enjoy the fresh air. A small bird flew in the open door and then realized this was not where it wanted to be. It flew desperately around the room, repeatedly flying into the window glass in an attempt to escape. I tried to gently guide it toward the open door, but it was frightened and kept darting away. It finally landed on top of the window drapes in bewildered exhaustion. I took a broom and slowly reached the bristle end up to where the bird nervously perched. As I held the head of the broom next to its feet, the bird tentatively stepped onto the bristles. Slowly, very slowly, I walked to the open door, holding the broom as steady as I could. As soon as we reached the open door, the bird swiftly flew to freedom.

“Like that bird, sometimes we are afraid to trust because we don’t understand God’s absolute love and desire to help us. But when we study Heavenly Father’s plan and Jesus Christ’s mission, we understand that Their only objective is our eternal happiness and progress. They delight to help us when we ask, seek, and knock. When we exercise faith and humbly open ourselves to Their answers, we become free from the constraints of our misunderstandings and assumptions, and we can be shown the way forward.” (“That Your Joy Might Be Full,” October 2017)

Children may have had a similar experience where they wanted to pet or help an animal that was frightened of them, even though they were only being kind.

Children (of all ages) are blessed by strong, righteous women and men leaders. Praying for them blesses our leaders, our children, and ourselves.

Related posts:

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Overheard in Primary: Children’s Observations

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Today’s guest author is Emma Lu, a wife, mother, grandmother, writer and music therapist who is inspired by children.

Serving among children is the sweetest service of all. Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). Yes, working with children is a true service project with Christ!

Here are a few choice observations from children:

  • After taking the sacrament, a five-year-old boy shouted out, “Well, that was not a very nourishing lunch!”
  • Saying the prayer in her Sunbeam class, a little girl asked Heavenly Father to bless her daddy so he would finally let her mom throw away the coffee maker.
  • A grandmother wrote about her outspoken, four-year-old granddaughter. Talking to her dad the girl said, “It’s hard when you don’t like your family!”
  • Regarding answers to prayer, three-year-old Will stated, “You get what you get and don’t throw a fit.”
  • In the seven-year-old class the teacher asked, “What does it mean to serve somebody?” A child responded, “That’s when they bring the food to you at the restaurant.” The teacher kindly explained, “Service is when you don’t get paid.” Then the teacher asked the children to draw a picture about giving service to someone. One boy drew a picture of two little boys holding hands. He explained, “This is me and Joseph Smith holding hands. I’m being his friend.”
  • Young Cameron reported what happened during Primary singing time. Hal, a member of her class, had one eye removed because of a failed operation and was given a glass eye to replace it. While the children sang “Do As I’m Doing,” Hal was called to lead the group in an action. At the proper time, he popped out his glass eye. Cameron said, “The boys laughed, we girls squealed, and the Primary chorister didn’t know what to do!”

To be with children is a beautiful experience – They are blessed children of God.

My thanks to those who shared with me their personal stories and quotes from Primary-aged children.

– Emma Lu

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Priesthood Authority (men and women) and Priesthood Keys (men only)

Guest author Christanne loves all the church auxiliaries but has spent most of her adult life in Relief Society callings. She is mother of three very different but amazing kids. Their family loves to be outside as much as possible.

Click here for the ready-to-use lesson plan: Priesthood keys and authority lesson outline

With 5 Sundays in October, you may have time for a lesson to supplement the excellent lessons in the Sharing Time manual for October 2017: “Blessings of the Priesthood Are Available to All.” This Sharing Time Lesson can be given anytime after week 1, to teach children the vital principle taught by Elder Oaks:

“We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be? When a woman—young or old—is set apart to preach the gospel as a full-time missionary, she is given priesthood authority to perform a priesthood function. The same is true when a woman is set apart to function as an officer or teacher in a Church organization under the direction of one who holds the keys of the priesthood. Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties.” (emphasis added) Dallin H. Oaks, “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood,” April 2014 General Conference.

Click here for the ready-to-use lesson plan: Priesthood keys and authority lesson outline

For a 1-minute synopsis of Elder Oak’s talk, click the video link above.

To see the full 16 minute talk, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1KOFWmZl8k

To read the text, visit The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood

For a related idea, see Women and Service in the Kingdom

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Overheard in Primary: Children’s Wisdom

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Today’s guest author is Emma Lu, a wife, mother, grandmother, writer and music therapist who is inspired by children.

 

Children need to feel confidence led by prudent, loving parents and teachers. When they do, they sense freedom to openly express themselves, often in a wise and surprising way. Here are a few choice bits of wisdom from children:

A loving Sunbeam teacher in Canada wrote, “There is one little boy, Kade, who just does not want to leave his mommy. Today when his mommy left him in the classroom he started crying and then said to me, ‘I just have to cry, but in five minutes I will try to stop.’ That was so cute and so mature for a three year old. I asked him if I could wipe away his crocodile tears. He said, ‘Yes.’ It took him a little longer than five minutes, but when the lesson got exciting he stopped crying and joined in the fun. I loved to wipe his tender tears away.”

A grandfather writes, “One day, my 3-year-old grandson was in the middle of a temper tantrum. He threw a book across his room and it slipped under his bed. His mother told him that he would have to go under the bed and get it. His response was classic. In a fear filled, trembling voice he said he couldn’t do it because it was dark and scary under there. Then his five-year-old brother spoke up and said that if he would hold his hand and think about Jesus, they could retrieve the book together. And they did.”

In sacrament meeting, two 11-year-old Primary girls sang the beautiful song “A Child’s Prayer” (Children’s Songbook, 12). The chapel became quiet as the girls sang out relating their powerful testimony of prayer. Their voices were full and they harmonized beautifully. A sermon was sung, the spirit was strong, the audience was touched by the power of Christ’s love. Two young, lovely daughters of God taught the gospel through music as if they were heavenly angels.

To be with children is a beautiful experience – They are blessed children of God.

My thanks to those who shared with me their personal stories and quotes from Primary-aged children.

– Emma Lu

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Sept 2017 Sharing Time – the delicate situation of honoring parents

2017 outline for Sharing Time

The Sharing Time manual for Sept 2017 is about the Ten Commandments. Week 3’s lesson about honoring parents contains this important note: “Tip: The lessons as written may not speak to the specific needs of your children. You understand their abilities and circumstances and can adjust the sharing time ideas to make them effective in your Primary.”

This thought is important in today’s world. Parents may be struggling on their own life path in ways that can be confusing to children. This may apply to only a few of your children that you know of, but it’s important for children (and some adult teachers with difficult pasts) to hear a more nuanced message. They may need to understand the difference between the traditional understanding of honoring one’s parents (doing what they say) and honoring parents by bringing honor to one’s parents.

Read more here (including a ready-to-use lesson plan): Honoring Parents – even if parents make poor choices?

See also For children in imperfect families (that’s all of us!): Encouragement from leaders.

 

Looking for ideas for Week 4’s honesty lesson? See Honesty: teach them how, as well as what and why

-Marci

And here’s a bonus picture of the Hillbilly Ten Commandments, spotted in a drive-through window in Oregon:

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August 2017 Sharing Time – Fill your life with things that invite the Spirit

These ideas also make great family night lessons!

The August 2017 Sharing Time theme is “I Choose to Fill My Life with Things That Invite the Spirit,” with this favorite song for this month: “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (CS, 78–79). Here’s some ideas for each week:

Week 1: Having good friends will help me choose the right. Looking for the video of that wonderful story about the positive prank of hiding a silver coin in a poor man’s shoes? Watch the 4 minute video above.

Week 2: I should read, listen to, and look at things that are pleasing to Heavenly Father. Teach your children a song to help them make good media choices and fend off pornography. See “My Mind’s a Sacred Place” (new original song), with audio, sheet music, and the backstory.

Weeks 3 and 4: I should do things on the Sabbath that will help me stay close to Heavenly Father. Try these ideas: Teaching about the Sabbath Day through Activity & Music. Also see Emma Lu’s story about how rotten it felt NOT to honor the Sabbath day: A child’s safe space to choose the right.

-Marci

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Conquering the Big Podium: Sacrament Gem

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Carlan is a California native living in beautiful Boston and mother to three darling blondes. She’s a singer and lover of the arts who is passionate about reading and learning; Boston sports, history and culture; British period films; Mexican food; lime bars and most of all music.

In this post she is magnifying her calling as Primary president. She saw the need for the children to learn how to conquer the big podium in sacrament meeting as they get older, to prepare them for giving talks and prayers after they turn twelve. And she’s doing something about it. Carlan writes:

Recently my mother told me how sacrament meeting used to function when she was a youth. Among the many differences, one aspect she mentioned was something they called the “Sacrament Gem.” After hearing about it I was really interested in implementing it into my ward and with my Primary. Here’s how it works:
After the sacrament is passed and before we hear from any speakers, a Senior Primary child comes to the pulpit, announces the sacrament meeting theme or topic of focus, and reads a correlating scripture. Our Primary secretary schedules the children and gives the list to the bishopric. That’s it!!
It’s simple and not too scary for the kids, yet it gives them crucial experience standing and speaking in front of a group of people. Not only are these useful life skills but they are vital Mormon skills!
-Carlan

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