Category Archives: Reaching the One

Meeting Children At Their Level

lds.org

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!

IWasAStranger.lds.org

IWasAStranger.lds.org

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.

-Marci

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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,

Marci

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Filed under Activity, Christmas, Reaching the One

The Power of Music and Sign Language in the home, community and Primary classes

ocdeaf.org

ocdeaf.org

Today’s guest author is Pamela, aka Grammy Pammy, whose motto is Make your influence felt in a positive way. She writes:

Our two oldest grandsons were diagnosed with autism when they were very young.  Aunts, uncles and grandparents rallied to support by learning enough American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with the one diagnosed as non-verbal.  Years later, he speaks as well as anyone—when he has something to say.

With ASL still fresh in my mind, I was asked to help with the nursery in our ward.  I wondered if their fidgety little hands would better focus on singing if they were signing some of the words as we sang. I taught the nursery children a few signs to use during Singing Time.  Eureka!   They became more focused on singing.  Doing signs helped them remember the words to the songs and helped them keep their hands to themselves.

One of the nursery teachers had an older son who needed to do a service project. She and her family went to a local nursing home and entertained the residents, many of whom were hard of hearing. Doing the signs helped the elderly folks connect to the music and feel the joy of being engaged. It was a wonderful event for the singers and listeners alike.

-Pamela

For related posts, see “Why Sign Language?”

“Music in Nursery: Teaching the Gospel” and

“Music”

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Filed under Music, Nursery, Reaching the One, Special Needs

Kids Answering Each Other’s Questions

This intriguing idea comes from the new manual “Teaching in the Savior’s Way,” page 24: “Invite learners to help answer questions. When prompted by the Spirit, you may decide to do this even if you feel that you know the answer. When you ask learners to search the scriptures and other Church resources for answers to gospel questions, you provide them with excellent learning opportunities.”

There are at least three advantages I can think of to having children answer each others’ questions:

  1. The best way to really learn something is to teach it to someone else.
  2. Children might hear a message more clearly when it comes from a peer, in kid-friendly words, than when it comes from an adult. Videos like the above, of children explaining gospel principles in their own words, can speak to a child in ways that grownup words can’t. It always astonishes me what children will do when invited by a peer that they would never do when invited by an adult. (See more Bible videos for kids by kids at https://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/collection/childrens-bible-videos/)

However, the teacher must take care to not let a few children dominate and answer every question. Open-ended questions like “What do you think about ____?” or “How have you seen this work in your life?” are questions that any child can answer, since there is no right or wrong. You may need to be more blunt to balance airtime for all: “Let’s hear from someone we haven’t heard from yet.” Or “Who hasn’t had a chance to share their thoughts yet?” You can say “Take a minute to think about this, then let’s hear your ideas” to give more time to everyone to ponder the question before someone pops up with an answer.

Besides, when you let children answer each other’s questions you just might learn something “out of the mouths of babes”! (3 Nephi 26:16 and Psalm 8:2).

-Marci

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Autism, Life Threatening Food Allergies and Primary

photo provided by author

photo provided by author

Today’s guest author is DeeDee, a wife and mother of two who loves the temple and loves to be outdoors enjoying nature with her family. See her 3 specific suggestions below about caring for her children in Primary. 

My beautiful son is four years old. He was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 3. My amazing eight-year-old daughter has life threatening (anaphylactic) allergies. Both of these conditions shape our children’s experience in Primary.

What is it like to have a child with autism at church? For me it is wonderfully challenging, but I recognize it’s an opportunity for growth and development, for both me and for my child. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a variable diagnosis. That means each child with ASD has unique strengths and challenges. Before my son was diagnosed he was struggling in nursery. A sentence kept going through my mind at that time, “The one matters.” I know that every child matters to the Lord and belongs in Primary, at church and in other church activities. Figuring out how to make that happen is the challenge.

What is it like having a child with life-threatening anaphylactic allergies at church? Life-threatening allergies are about safety. I want my daughter to be safe at church, in Primary and at church activities. It is scary for me to know that if my child eats a certain food it can result in a life-threatening allergic reaction. This makes church different for me than it was before I had a child with severe food allergies. My husband and I are diligent about constantly checking to see if food is involved at church. Sometimes snacks are given in class or as a reward for performances (like Primary programs). Other times food is used to make crafts, provide service or celebrate holidays. We have strict rules for our daughter about food & washing hands. She is very careful about what she touches and eats at church. My guard is always up to some degree at church because I want her to be safe and have a good experience.

What has helped our family:

1. We take responsibility for our children. My husband and I have learned that it is our responsibility to ensure our children are set up for success in Primary. Simply dropping them off doesn’t work. Our experience has been that things go best when we communicate our children’s unique needs with ward and Primary leadership so we can partner with them in helping our children do well in Primary. My 4-year-old son with autism doesn’t communicate verbally like many children his age. When he was diagnosed I notified our Primary presidency and spoke with his nursery leader about his unique challenges. His wonderful nursery leader did well with him, keeping the classroom calm and encouraging open play that doesn’t require 2-way verbal communication. She speaks to him as she does other children but also gives him gentle nudges to help him as needed. I also shared with her behavioral signs that may suggest he is having a difficult time, when it may be best to include me or my husband. Similarly, my daughter can’t eat nuts. Her life threatening allergic reactions can result in death or serious injury. My husband and I take responsibility for her condition by sharing applicable medical information with Primary leaders and our plan to help her if she has a reaction in Primary. We keep emergency medication near her at all times and ask to approve any food offered her in Primary. We hope that Primary leaders and teachers appreciate the steps we take to educate and include them so they aren’t left to interpret things on their own.

2. Have realistic expectations. We attempt to maintain realistic expectations at church. Church leaders, Primary leaders and teachers are imperfect people, volunteers at best. They make mistakes and can misinterpret things like we all do. A Primary leader may misinterpret my son’s behavior. A teacher may bring a snack my daughter is allergic to and forget to check with us first. These things can happen, and it helps to remind us to keep working with ward and Primary leaders.

3. Listen to the Spirit. Numerous times at church my husband or I have felt prompted to check on one of our children in Primary, sometimes urgently. We recognize these as promptings from Holy Ghost and are very grateful for them.

~DeeDee

 

For related posts, see Special Needs page and

Helping children accept others with special needs

Also see “Accepting Allergies” by Thira Christianson from a kids’ point of view in the Friend magazine, Sept 2011, 18-19.

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Safe and Loved in Primary

Coloring page from lds.org, artist is Cora Lu, age 7

Coloring page from lds.org, artist is Cora Lu, age 7

Although it has been decades since Emma Lu was in Primary, her story illustrates how Primary can influence a child for eternity. Today’s guest author Emma Lu is a wife, mother of seven, and grandmother. She is an author and lecturer, and she enjoys writing histories and life events.

As a young child, I hurried along the cool, dry sidewalk toward the church-house. I had an appointment to keep. I did not want to be late.

When I arrived at the chapel, I joined my friends on the church bench, where my feet barely touched the floor. As I sat there, listening to soft music on the piano, I knew I was in the right place at the right time. My home seemed so unhappy and messed up. Often times my mother and dad didn’t speak to each other. It was a cold war. My sister and I lived in fear, because of my dad’s occasional demons of alcoholism. But at Primary I felt happy, safe, and loved. Primary made all the difference.

Just like today, we began with an opening prayer followed by singing time. The chorister was a jolly woman whose well-groomed hands led us in the fun and sacred Primary songs. Often she told us we were bearing our testimonies in song. I felt a warm, joyous feeling and with gusto raised my singing voice. She encouraged my love and talent for music.

Our classrom teacher gave each child personal love. As she shook my hand, she cupped her hands around mine and gave me a pat on the back. I remember the twinkle in her eyes as she told wonderful stories of Jesus and led us in rousing classroom discussions. For me, one benfit of being in her class was to open a need for Christ and his teachings. My testimony blossomed in Primary.

I saw my teacher often in our neighborhood, and her eyes always had the same twinkle sending love. To me she appeard as if she were a heavenly angel. I felt she needed me and I needed her.

It has been some time since I attended Primary as a child, but guess what? I still love Primary. Today when I hear the beautiful children’s songs my mind and feelings wander back to our choister and teacher extending love to children. They both were on an errand for Christ. He said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16).

I love Primary. It was my salvation, my place of learning, my place of peace.

-Emma Lu

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Bringing Cultural Awareness to Your Primary Through Multi-language Music

Children's Songbook in Kekchi (also spelled Q'eqchi'), one of the Mayan languages spoken in Belize and Guatemala in Central America

Children’s Songbook in Kekchi (also spelled Q’eqchi’), one of the Mayan languages spoken in Belize and Guatemala in Central America

Sure, why not? Music is the universal language. Learning songs in another language can send a message of inclusion to all children, expose children to new ideas and new words, and even relieve boredom!

Are there children from another culture in your Primary? in a neighboring ward or branch? Are any of your children learning another language in school? Did someone serve a mission and speak a language your children might like to learn more about? Is there a favorite General Authority whose picture you’d like to show as a child, as you sing a song the way he would have learned it growing up? From “Soy un hijo de Dios” (Spanish) to “Ich bin ein Kind von Gott” (German), each child can learn that “I am a Child of God,” regardless of what language they know.

Children’s Songbook is published in 30 languages!! See store.lds.org if you’d like to consider ordering a songbook in a new language. Or visit lds.org/music, click on the globe icon on the upper right, and see what materials are available in which languages.

In my ward with lots of Spanish speakers, we alternate between Spanish and English hymns to give everyone in the ward a chance to praise the Lord in the language of their heart, and work to build unity and acceptance.

For a related post, see “What’s Primary like in Nepal or Bahrain?”

Just for fun, here’s the complete list of languages in which materials are published at lds.org. Numbers 89-115 below are entirely new alphabets for me!

  1. Afrikaans
  2. American Sign Language (ASL)
  3. Apache
  4. Aymar Aru
  5. Bahasa Indonesia
  6. Bahasa Malaysia
  7. Bats’i k’op
  8. Bislama
  9. Cakchiquel
  10. Cebuano
  11. Česky
  12. Dansk
  13. Deutsch
  14. Diné bizaad
  15. Dulegaya
  16. Èdè Yorùbá
  17. Eesti
  18. Efik
  19. English
  20. Español
  21. Euskera
  22. Faka-tonga
  23. Fante
  24. Fiji Hindi
  25. Fosun Chuuk
  26. Français
  27. French Creole Pidgin
  28. Gagana Samoa
  29. Guaraní (Avañe’ẽ)
  30. Hiligaynon
  31. Hiri Motu
  32. Hmoob
  33. Hrvatski
  34. Igbo
  35. Ilokano
  36. Íslenska
  37. Italiano
  38. Kahs Kosrae
  39. Kajin Majōl
  40. Kichwa
  41. Kiribati
  42. Kiswahili
  43. Kreyòl Ayisyen
  44. Latviešu
  45. Lietuvių
  46. Lingála
  47. Magyar
  48. Mahsen en Pohnpei
  49. Malagasy
  50. Malti
  51. Mam
  52. Nederlands
  53. Nivacle
  54. Norsk
  55. Palauan
  56. Pampango
  57. Pangasinan
  58. Papiamento
  59. Polski
  60. Português
  61. Portuguese (Portugal)
  62. Q’eqchi’
  63. Quechua-Bolivia
  64. Quiché
  65. Rarotongan
  66. Reo Tahiti
  67. Română
  68. Setswana
  69. Shona
  70. Shoshone
  71. Shqip
  72. Slovenčina
  73. Slovenščina
  74. South Sotho
  75. Suomi
  76. Svenska
  77. Tagalog
  78. Thin Nu Wa’ab
  79. Tiếng Việt
  80. Tok Pisin
  81. Türkçe
  82. Twi
  83. Vosa vakaviti
  84. Waray
  85. Xhosa
  86. Yunkay Quechua
  87. Yunkay Quechua
  88. Zulu
  89. Ελληνικά
  90. Български
  91. Қазақ
  92. Македонски
  93. Монгол
  94. Русский
  95. Српски
  96. Українська
  97. ქართული
  98. Հայերեն
  99. اردو
  100. العربية
  101. فارسی
  102. አማርኛ
  103. हिन्दी, हिंदी
  104. বাংলা
  105. தமிழ்
  106. తెలుగు
  107. සිංහල
  108. ภาษาไทย
  109. ພາສາລາວ
  110. ဗမာစာ
  111. ភាសាខ្មែរ
  112. 한국어
  113. 中文
  114. 日本語
  115. 简体中文

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Filed under Music, Reaching the One

Nontraditional families and Mother’s Day/Father’s Day

 

I hope that every child has a mother and a father who love them. But in case you know children who might need a more nuanced message, I was heartened by Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s words in April 2016 General Conference. He spoke to children who may struggle to honor parents who are less than honorable. Elder Christofferson said, “To all the rising generation, we say, wherever you rank your own father . . . make up your mind to honor him and your mother by your own life. Your righteousness is the greatest honor any father can receive” (April 2016 General Conference, emphasis added). Notice that he didn’t say “honor your parents means to do what they say.” That can be great advice for parents who give righteous instruction. But for those children in less than ideal circumstances, I appreciate Elder Christofferson’s teaching that we can honor parents by BRINGING honor to them.

How to teach this to children? Try these lesson ideas:

God bless every child, no matter what kind of family they have.

-Marci

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Filed under Lesson, Parent Involvement, Reaching the One

Recipe for Success: Dealing with Distractions and Helping Kids Focus

lds.org

lds.org

You’ve probably been there: kids spinning in different directions, sometimes all talking at once. They’ll chatter about what they had for breakfast, or their birthday coming up (in only 11 months!), or whatever. Trying to get them all to focus on your lesson can be challenging.  

Today’s Guest Author Kyoko was born and grew up in Japan, moved to California when she married, and now has a sweet college-aged daughter. She has served in Primary for many years and loves everything about Primary (the hard work and the joy)! Kyoko shares the following terrific ideas to get kids focused.

Keeping children’s interest requires preparation. Arriving in the room before the children is the first step. Setting up the room with pictures or music playing also sends the signal that something interesting is going to happen. Using variety in teaching is key; no one likes to listen to a monologue week after week.

Recipe for Success=Preparation.

  1. Arrive before the children
  2. Set up the room
  3. Use variety in teaching

But after you’ve laid the foundation with good preparation, when you need an instant focusing activity, try these ideas:

  • “Tell me that story when we’re walking to Sharing Time, OK?” This shows interest in the child and his/her life without letting them take over your lesson. Be sure to remember to ask them later, so they know you’re genuinely interested.
  • Freeze/unfreeze: Ask the children to freeze in place, whatever they’re doing. Then give the most important part of the lesson — the main point — in 1-2 minutes while they’re frozen.
  • Set the timer. “For 15 minutes, we’re doing this. Then we’ll move onto another activity.” The timer gives the children the idea that this part of the lesson will come to an end! And children often enjoy watching the countdown.
  • Ask them to take notes. Older children can take notes or draw the main points of the lesson, then share their ideas at the end. You can give them a clipboard with a sheet of paper so they can take their notes home, or a small notebook that you keep with you. Notetaking is a skill, so don’t give up if it takes a few weeks for them to figure out what you’re asking them to do. It doesn’t hurt to let them doodle for a few minutes, especially at first. Doing something often helps kids listen better, even if it’s not always apparent.
  • Substitute a child’s name. Lesson manuals often have stories about ordinary children that illustrate the points of the lesson. Instead of Bobby or Susie, insert the name of children in your class. This doesn’t work for stories about actual people — scriptural characters or modern-day prophets — but it works beautifully for the case studies or examples often found in lesson manuals. Make sure you keep track so every child’s name will eventually be used.
  • lds.org

    lds.org

    Pick a helper. I put a chair right next to me and ask a certain child if he/she wants to be my helper today. Every kids love to be spotlighted. I pick somebody who is not that happy to be there, or a child who is looking straight at me (that means ready he/she is ready)! You have to see the big smile of the child when you pick them. They look so proud of themselves!

  • Draw. I draw pictures on the chalkboard instead of showing printed pictures sometimes when I start feeling like I’m losing them. Kids laugh at my drawing sometimes but I laugh too! Then I challenge them to draw while I tell stories from scriptures. They love to participate.
  • Vary your voice. When I read scriptures, I read like a story book by changing tones, speed etc. They seem to pay more attention.

LDS.org has many resources to liven up your lessons, including related music, videos, and gospel art. To download from YouTube to your computer, so you’re not relying on the chapel’s wireless connection, put the letters “ss” before the link.

~Kyoko

More Blog Favorites: For more ideas, see the “Lovable Rascals” skit and “Your Preparation Leads to a Child’s Reverence: Two Guided Meditations.” Hold onto your funny bone while you see lessons go haywire! Drawing and note-taking particularly appeal to kinesthetic learners: see “Teaching to a Child’s Whole Body.”   Also see “Potatoes every night: Variety in Teaching.”

 

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