Category Archives: Reaching the One

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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“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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Following Jesus – congratulating children on drawings

“What would it be like if the Savior visited your ward or branch next Sunday?” asked Bishop Gerald Causse. He continued, “I wouldn’t be surprised if He visited the Primary children first. He would probably kneel down and speak to them eye to eye. He would express His love to them, tell them stories, congratulate them on their drawings, and testify of His Father in Heaven. His attitude would be simple, genuine, and without affectation. Can we do likewise?”

This thought is a sweet and gentle reminder of the extraordinary things we are doing on very ordinary Sundays in Primary. Rejoice in your calling to minister to His special children the way He did – on their level, with genuine concern and caring.

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“Mother I love you, I’ll clean up my rooooooom!”

“Mother I love you, mother I do, Father in Heaven has sent me to you. When I am near you, I love to hear you yelling so firmly ‘clean up your room!’ Mother I love you I’ll clean up my rooooooom!” (Thank you, Dale Boam.)

It’s upon us again – Mother’s Day and Father’s Day season in the USA. While different countries celebrate these holidays on different days or in different ways, every culture honors parents and families. These moments of honoring parents are important and precious.

When over 40 percent of births in the United States are to unwed mothers (said Elder Dallin H Oaks in 2018), what does it mean to a child to sing “I’m So Glad When Daddy Comes Home?” What if Daddy doesn’t come home . . . ever?

Or how do you teach the 10 Commandments, including “honor thy father and mother,” when you know some kids may be abused at home? Does honoring parents mean children allowing themselves to be abused? A recent Ensign article estimates that one in four people worldwide has been abused as a child. One in four.

Try these lesson ideas:

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

God bless ALL the children in all kinds of families — on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and always, no matter “how imperfect our family tree may be” (Elder Dale G. Renlund, April 2018).

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Different Kinds of Families

Just as each child is unique, each child’s family is unique. Being sensitive to the different shapes and sizes of families pays rich benefits to the children and teachers alike, with the potential to heal unseen wounds. This great advice comes from the July 2018 Ensign magazine in the “Friend Connection” section:

  • Include stories that show a variety of families. [Note: lessons often invite you to share relevant stories from your culture to illustrate gospel principles. Make sure some of the stories include children in different kinds of families that your children can relate to.]
  • Help children understand how they can contribute to their family’s happiness — even if their family doesn’t seem “ideal” right now. They can look forward to creating a family of their own one day. Each one of us is also part of a loving heavenly family.
  • Teach children that we should not be critical of other families but respectful and inclusive, even when we don’t agree with the choices other families make.

More specific ideas here: All Kinds of Families are Part of Heavenly Father’s plan — and other topics.


The illustration is the cover of the book “Our Heavenly Family, Our Earthly Families” by Caitlin Connolly, Bethany Brady Spalding and McArthur Krishna, available from Amazon and Deseret Book. 


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Unresponsive children – “love them today, maybe teach them tomorrow”

You probably have some children in your life that are harder to love. They may be in your Primary, they may be in your family. You WANT to love them, and you know that Jesus loves them. What helps me is to remember that love — God’s pure love, or charity — is a gift of the Spirit that I can pray for. Moroni, as he was being hunted day and night, wrote these profound words: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren [he’s talking to us, his readers in the last days], pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.” (Moroni 7:48)

Surprisingly, some of the children that were most challenging for me to deal with have been the ones that I ended up loving the most, once we broke through to each other. And we taught each other a great deal along the way.

More importantly, I have earnestly sought to feel the love that God feels for this child. Sometimes those prayers are answered with surprising loveforce. As I like to say, you can’t have that kind of love flow through you without getting any on you.

Ready for some fresh ideas on loving each one, dealing with distractions, and discipline? Try these ideas:

God has entrusted us with His children — ALL the children. We can love them today — even the unresponsive ones — and maybe we can teach them tomorrow.


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um . . . who else is here?

by John Lautermilch at

Much to my astonishment, I checked the stats yesterday and found that this PrimaryinZion blog you’re looking at, right here, has visitors from 176 countries. Read my thoughts about it at What’s Primary like in Nepal or Bahrain?

I’m mystified how this happens — I’m just posting ideas, many generously contributed by guest authors. I’m thrilled that so many folks all over the world find this blog useful as we join hands with our children on our way back to the God who made us all. (Comments always welcome below! We’d love to hear from YOU!)

As children begin to realize that there is more to the world than their town, ward or branch, they too may be asking “um. . . who else is here” in God’s kingdom? Looking to add more multicultural flavor to your Primary? Try these ideas:

God bless the children — ALL the children — wherever in the world they are.



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Meeting Children At Their Level

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

Children are a heritage from the Lord; they are a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3, New International Version)

It is true, children at times can be rowdy, but if we look we will always enjoy the angels inside. You’ve just got to love them.

The Primary sacrament meeting presentation was about to begin. The busy Primary president saw a 10-year-old boy sitting with legs folded together, arms crossed, and scowling face, defiantly pouting at the base of the pulpit in the chapel. She went over to him, knelt down by his side, and spoke softly to him. Then she stood and went about caring for other children. The boy then stood with a smile on his face and joined his class. It showed those of us who watched the tense scene how the boy’s attitude was changed by a loving leader. I asked the Primary president to tell me her wisdom. She said, “It is important to meet a child on his/her level, whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual. All children need understanding.”

To have the privilege of working in Primary is fulfilling a promise from the scriptures: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6, King James Version)

– Emma Lu

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Supporting refugees: Children are needed!

Click on the photo to watch the 1 minute video.

To all of our readers, throughout the USA and in the 168 countries who have visited this blog, we express our love and support for you and your neighbors, no matter what religion or none, no matter what skin color, no matter who you are or where you live — you are God’s child and we love you.

On Saturday, January 28, 2017, the following was published on Mormon Newsroom, the official LDS media source: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned about the temporal and spiritual welfare of all of God’s children across the earth, with special concern for those who are fleeing physical violence, war and religious persecution. The Church urges all people and governments to cooperate fully in seeking the best solutions to meet human needs and relieve suffering.”

Latter-day children of all faiths (or none) can join the effort! It can be as simple as befriending someone new, or as robust as these ideas:

Teach children these songs to help them internalize this message and apply it every, EVERY day:

  • “Jesus said love everyone, treat them kindly too.” Children’s Songbook, 61
  • “If you don’t talk like most people do, some people talk and laugh at you, but I won’t! I won’t!” from “I’ll Walk with You,” CS, 140
  • “I’m trying to be like Jesus.” CS, 68

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; Naked, and ye clothed me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”   Matthew 25:35-36 #IWasAStranger

God bless the refugees and those who seek to help them.


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Service with Kids in 0, yes Zero, Minutes

You read that right. Zero minutes. Yes, service with kids.

Service rightly takes center stage in December, thinking of others at this joyous time of celebrating the Savior’s birth. I love the church’s “25 ways over 25 days” — an advent calendar of 30-second videos and service project ideas until Dec. 25. But busy, overwhelmed parents and Primary leaders may feel like they’re doing well to get through another day! How can we add more thing to a busy season, added on top of a busy life?

Michelle puts it this way: “I would just like to remind all of us to recognize and give ourselves credit for ALL the amazing things we are already doing for our family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. We are raising children, serving in our church congregations, teaching our children morals, visiting our neighbors, volunteering at school, smiling at our fellowman, offering words of encouragement, supporting our spouses, helping our extended families and so so much more! These acts of service do not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

“During your lunch break, or if you’re doing dishes today or sit down to fold laundry here’s a little workshop video all about service and how to ‘Create a Culture of Service’ in our families without killing ourselves: Video Workshop: Kids and Service.” Check out the resource sheet and service grids on that same page with ideas for service projects that can be completed in 0 minutes, 5 minutes, a few hours, or 1/2 day.

Service in zero minutes? It boils down to doing something you’re already doing, but focusing it on service. You can have books in your home about being a good friend and neighbor, post a picture of someone your family knows who is serving a mission, or genuinely say “You really tried hard on that” or “I love you.” And never underestimate the power of children and families simply praying for someone in need — a refugee, a family member, a ward member, or a stranger. God hears and answers those prayers offered to Him as genuine acts of service — calling down the powers of heaven on behalf of someone in need.

Also see:

Make it a merry Christmas — through service in as little as zero minutes!

God bless,


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