Category Archives: Life Lessons

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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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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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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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

Check out Emma Lu’s blog “This and That.”

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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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