Saturday, January 14, 2017

In the premortal life, I chose to follow God's plan.

I made a chart to help me teach this lesson tomorrow about the beautiful Plan of Happiness or Plan of Salvation. I love this topic! Using advice from the sharing time manual, week 3, I put together the list of songs that takes children through God's plan and how we can chose to follow it. I then matched it with scriptures and pictures. I found some of the scriptures by searching the scriptures, some by looking at different articles on the Primary resources page under Plan of Happiness, and by looking at the references for each of the songs I am highlighting. You can go to Children's Songbook online to easily find the references. I highlighted them in the red box below for you to see:



Here's my reference table. I'll use this differently in Senior vs. Junior Primary. Explanation below the table.

(I pulled pictures by googling "LDS GAK" to go to the LDS image library, and also by using pictures found in some of the articles about this topic in the Primary resources page I referenced above.)


TOPIC
SCRIPTURE
PICTURE
SONG
Before I came to earth, I lived in heaven.
D&C 138:55-56
55 I observed that they were also among the noble and great ones who were chosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God.
56 Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.
Spirit World (picture of people dressed in white in a pretty place)
I Lived in Heaven - CS 4
I chose to come to earth to receive a body.
Heavenly Father presented a plan for us to become like him. Let’s learn about the plan here:

Moses 1:39
39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
Picture of family on earth (to show earthly bodies + families + earth)
I Am a Child of God - CS 2
I will be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
Acts 2:38
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Genesis 9:11-15
11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
Child getting baptized
When I Am Baptized - 103
I can prepare to go to the temple.
D&C 138: 47-48
47 The Prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers,
48 Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.
Temple picture
Families Can Be Together Forever - 188
I will be resurrected.
John 3:16
16 ¶For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 13:15
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Jesus Christ resurrection picture
He Sent His Son - 34

For Junior Primary:
1. I'm going to have these pictures all over the room. Then I'm going to talk about it, and have the children look all around the room and point to the topic I'm talking about. Then, I'll have the pianist play the first few notes of the song and have children raise their hand if they recognize it and want to guess the song.  Then, time pending, we'll sing the song to reinforce the lesson and the message.

For Senior Primary:
1. I'll have different children hold the pictures and see if the class can unscramble the order of the pictures, then put them on the chalkboard.
2. Then, I'll have the children draw from a bowl. Each item they draw will have a song # on one side and a scripture on the other side. Depending on which one they draw we'll either read the scripture or guess and then sing the song. Then we'll discuss. Time pending, we'll go back and sing more songs.

++++

One last note. I'm going to start sending occasional lesson plan emails to families as I plan my lessons, and my presidency is welcome to do the same on the weeks that they teach. I had this inspiration last night as I was outlining my lesson and started writing this email:

Dear Primary Parents,

We're so excited to kick off another year with your wonderful children. I wanted to share some information with you as we start off the new year. The overall Primary theme for 2017 (as directed by the First Presidency) is "Choose the Right." The theme for January is "Agency is the Gift to Choose for Ourselves."

This Sunday's Primary Sharing time lesson will be about the Plan of Happiness/Plan of Salvation. 

We often find a lot of great material that we don't end up using as we prepare our lessons. We will sometimes send you material that might inspire your Monday Family Home Evening lesson. There will of course be relevant material in this month's Friend magazine. For FHE on Monday, you may want to consider some of these materials that will reinforce the Primary Sharing time lesson for Sunday:

The July 2013 Friend has a recommendation to create a family banner in a manner similar to Captain Moroni, since families are part of Heavenly Father's plan. This may be a fun Family Home Evening activity! You can read about it here:

There is also a great craft activity in the January 2014 Friend here:

For older kids, there is a a bit of board game that you can play with them:

Thanks,
Esther Sumner



Friday, December 16, 2016

Primary Christmas Sharing Time

Sunday is our last Primary Sharing Time together before the new year, because we will only meet for Sacrament on Christmas Sunday. That means we had only three weeks this month to teach the four lessons in the Sharing Time lesson manual. On top of that, we felt inspired to focus on the #lighttheworld initiative to "Follow our Savior Jesus Christ. In 25 Ways. Over 25 Days" in our Primary sharing time lessons for the last couple of weeks. This initiative goes very well with the lessons for December so it is not a complete departure, but I want to make sure to wrap up this Sunday by bringing all of the lessons for December together.

December Lessons:

Week 1: Prophets prophesied about the birth of Jesus Christ.
Week 2: Jesus Christ was born.
Week 3: Jesus Christ will someday return to the earth.
Week 4: To prepare for the Second Coming, I will follow Jesus Christ.

To help prepare me spiritually for planning, I watched the 2016 First Presidency Christmas Devotional, which I had not watched yet. As I prepare this lesson, it has been quite inspiring to be reminded from watching the devotional that the lessons we are teaching our children, which seem so basic, are the exact lessons that were being taught in this devotional to adult men and women, teenagers, and children, around the world. We learn about the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ, the miracles and prophecies that told of his coming, and how Jesus Christ taught while he was on this earth to prepare us to return to Him someday, and to give us peace and hope in our times of trial.

My lesson will go something like this:

I'll start with the "Encourage understanding" idea on Week 3 of the lesson manual, and have four children come to the front of the room to hold up four pictures that I've laminated (just to mix it up for the kids). We'll talk about each of the four pictures for a bit, then I'll have the class help me to put these pictures into the right order.



I'll then put them up on the chalkboard under the following signs and then give the children an opportunity to talk about each section for a little bit.

1. Prophets prophesied about the birth of Jesus Christ
What did Samuel tell in prophecy? (Hint: "Samuel Tells the Story of Baby Jesus" song.)

2. The Savior was born.

3. Jesus taught the people.

4. Jesus will someday return to the earth.
Matthew 16:27 - "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."

From the lesson manual for Week 3, as well:

1. What are some wonders that will take place when Christ comes again?
Joseph Smith - Matthew 1:33, 36-37
A: sun shall be darkened, moon shall not give light, stars shall fall from heaven, a sign will appear of the Son of Man in heaven, Son of Man will come and send angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet

2. When will the Savior come again?
Joseph Smith - Matthew 1:38-40
A: only the angels of God in heaven know

3. Why should we prepare for the Second Coming?
D&C 38:30
A: If ye are prepared ye shall not fear

4. How long will the Savior dwell on the earth?
D&C 29:11
A: A thousand years.

Talk about Light the World.

We can prepare for the second coming by following Jesus Christ and by doing good things each day. We have been encouraging you children to participate in the Light the World initiative this entire month. All of those things you have done to Light the World, such as serving others and praying, help us prepare for the second coming. These are things that you can't have others do for you, that you need to do yourself.

Encourage children to raise their hands and share things they have done to Light the World. Or if they brought their strips of paper, because we've been building a paper chain for Light the World in our Primary, then we'll keep doing that. We've done this twice now though so I'm tempted, at least with Senior Primary, to ask them questions about specific Light the World topics.

I thought about even attaching the topics to a nativity so that the child would choose a nativity item and then it would have a specific day from Light the World that we would talk about. I don't think I have time for that in the format I am doing so I might need to try a condensed version. I'm thinking of focusing on, time pending:

1. Dec 12 - Jesus Taught Others and So Can You
a. Give an example - I talked to someone about the Book of Mormon last who, who is not a member of the church and did not know many of the stories.
b. Ask if anyone invited a friend to FHE, or taught someone how to do something, maybe someone that was struggling in class or a younger brother or sister.

2. Dec 13 - Jesus Showed Humility and So Can You
a. Give an example - Jesus showed humility when he washed the feet of his Apostles.
b. Ask if anyone asked their parents for help with something this week, or asked for advice for a person problem they are facing, are were willing to admit they were wrong about something.

3. Dec 14 - Jesus Taught Us to Clothe the Naked and You Can Help
a. I donated a bunch of clothes this week. My friend that used to live in this ward would crochet baby hats and donate them to the hospital.
b. Has anyone been able to donate clothes, help knit a hat, or anything else?

4. Dec 15 - Jesus Worshipped through Son and So Can You
a. Ask - how many participated in the stake Carol to Our King last Sunday? (We have a stake sing-along where every choir in the stake sings one song.)
b. Did anyone invite a friend to hear the choir sing today?

5. Dec 16 - Jesus Showed Compassion and So Can You
a. Jesus felt for others. What have you done this week to show and feel love and concern for those who are suffering?
b. Have you prayed for anyone? Said something positive to someone? Opened the door for someone that had their hands full?

6. Dec 17 - Jesus Cared for His Mother and So Can You
a. Did you write your mom a letter telling her all the things that you love about her?
b. Did you maybe do something nice for another person in your life who is like a mother to you?
c. Did you ask your mom questions about her life history?

7. Dec 18 - Jesus Honored the Sabbath and So Can You
a. You can visit a family member
b. Memorize a favorite scripture or a religious quote
c. Do some family history work
d. Write in your journal. Maybe write about special things you can do to draw closer to God.

Also, if time: The Parable of the Ten Virgins - Matthew 25:1-13. Also a great discussion on this parable here: https://www.lds.org/liahona/2009/03/the-parable-of-the-ten-virgins?lang=eng










Sunday, November 27, 2016

Light the World - How our Primary is Participating

Our Primary began our official participation in the the Light the World initiative today. I want to share what we are doing.

I posted this message on various neighborhood social media pages today:

The [Our Ward Name] Primary taught about "Light the World" with the Primary children today. This is a 25-day "event" starting on December 1 to "give us a chance to look at the things Jesus Christ did and resolve to do the same." You can read about it here: https://www.mormon.org/christmas/in-25-ways-over-25-days



The children were also given a physical calendar (I attached a PDF to the actual post but have a partial screenshot of it above). We've encouraged them to look for ways to serve each day and write what they have done on individual strips of paper, to bring to church on Sunday. We will add links to our paper chain each Sunday in December to visually show the children how each different way that they choose to follow Christ adds up. This is an amazing opportunity to share the light of Christ. We encourage you to talk about "Light the World" in Family Home Evening on Monday. 

This event is not limited to children that regularly attend our church. If you have children that would like to participate, Primary is in the [Our Building Address] church building from 12-2 p.m. on Sundays. All are welcome!



The #LIGHTtheWORLD initiative began Friday, November 25 and runs through Christmas Day. For our introduction to this topic today, our counselor first focused on what we have been learning in past weeks (about reverence). This was to review what they have learned but also to lead into what she would teach next. She then showed the brief Light the World video that shows modern-day service and how it parallels the Savior's example. She talked with the Primary children about how we can be a light.

Next week, we'll see how many children remember to bring their paper chains, and spend some time around this. We'll send an email reminding parents on December 1 that the initiative has begun, and perhaps a reminder on Saturday night not to forget their paper chains!

Next Sunday, I'd like to spend more time talking about the specific items highlighted for each of the 25 days. The items listed in the calendar are generally for adults but can easily be adapted to children. For example, December 12 says, "Jesus Taught Others and So Can You." The suggestions given are to share a favorite story on social media, pass down something you have learned from your parents or grandparents, or watch an online tutorial to learn a new skill to benefit others. These suggestions are great but more geared toward adults. I think we can have a great participatory discussion in Primary though where we have children give ideas for each day. For this theme, some ideas could be:

1. Help Teach the Family Home Evening lesson
2. Share a passalong card (or a kid's version of one) with a friend.
3. Help your parents make dinner so you can learn a skill there. My parents taught me how to make pancakes at a young age, and it was something I really enjoyed making with them, and then when I got older, for them.
4. Teach a younger brother or sister something you have learned in school or at church.

Since we are focusing our lesson around "Light the World" for two Sundays and then have a stake conference in-between, we are going to combine the scheduled lessons from the Primary Sharing Time manual into one big Christmas lesson on December 18. I'm considering different ways to combine this lesson. We could have something interactive and bring in Nativity clothing or a nativity set. We could break into groups on blankets on the ground for a special storytelling. We try to make our Christmas lesson extra special as it is honoring such a special event, the birth of the Savior of our world!! I'd love to also focus on teaching a lesson in a way that they can take what they have learned home and teach it for Family Home Evening on December 19, Monday. So many ideas! We'll discuss as a presidency when we meet next week, because were 2 or more are gathered, He is there, and he can give us inspiration and guidance as we decide together the best approach that will be the most meaningful for the wonderful children in our ward.

I wanted to also share that when our counselor was teaching this lesson and introducing Light the World, there was a girl in Junior Primary and a boy in Senior Primary, who are siblings, who both raised theirs hands and were excited to share that when they went to visit Grandma for Thanksgiving, she showed them the video (which our counselor hadn't shown yet) and gave them a journal so they could write down every day something they were doing to Light the World. I thought it was great that what their grandmother had done for them had made such a strong impact. I'd love to see other families look for other ways to incorporate Light the World so that what the Primary is doing is simply supporting families as they seek to make this Christmas meaningful.

One other thing. This is a very busy time of the year but I'm hoping that we'll be able to figure out a way that we can serve as a Primary, together, this month. We'll meet and discuss this as a Primary Presidency next week. My biggest idea right now, for something that is simple but that we can do together, is to have the Primary meet to sing Christmas carols to some of the sweet single sisters and maybe even the single brothers (widowed, divorced, and/or empty nesters) in our ward. I think there are so many other great things we can do though so we'll meet and discuss, and in the end, we may just focus on having the Primary do things with their families - but I wanted to throw that idea out there because this is such a wonderful time of the year, but because it's so wonderful, it can also be a struggle for some, and I'd love to have the Primary children find ways to share their beautiful light with others.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Primary Program - Post-Program Activity

We held our Primary Program today. We wanted to do something special during class time for this special day. However, I'm always worried about the line between just having "fun" and recognizing that they are in church to feel our Savior's love and learn about the gospel. So I always want to make sure the lesson time is used appropriately and focuses on the topics that the Primary is assigned to teach.

First, we started with "crazy, mixed up Sunday" where we had the chorister give the opening prayer, the pianist be the chorister, a presidency member play the piano, etc. The children totally got a kick out of it! We then had Sharing Time first instead of Singing Time, all part of the "crazy, mixed up Sunday."



Our theme last month was missionaries and missionary work. So, today, we talked about how the program today gave them the opportunity to share their testimonies with the congregation and be missionaries. We then had the children write letters to missionaries that are serving all over the world from our ward today. I had emailed the missionaries from our ward beforehand. So, we split the children into groups, and had someone read a letter from a missionary to each group. Then, the children wrote letters to an assigned missionary.

We set up four large tables. This is one of them:



We had a strip of paper with the name of the missionary in front of them. We involved other leaders in the Primary who told the children a little about where the missionary was serving if they had that information. We gave each group 2-3 missionaries to write to, or in the case of younger children, draw pictures to send. It worked best when we had a letter from the missionary to whom they were writing. However, to keep this activity low-stress when we were also planning a primary program, I really tried to keep it simple with the preparation. If a missionary didn't write back, I didn't stress about it! They are busy!

I specifically asked the children to share what they had learned this year in their letters to the missionaries. I was so impressed with how well the children listened to me and followed that instruction. One child (Ethan, who is 7) wrote his line from the program, which was to share his favorite scripture reference (2 Nephi 2:25) and the scripture, about how "Men are that they might have joy." Another child (Charlie, who is also 7) wrote about Heavenly Father's plan. He had a talk assigned to him for the program and shared some of the things he spoke about in that talk. I wish I had thought to take pictures of those deep letters! We used scrap paper that another sister in the ward had donated to the Primary.

Also, in the spirit of keeping things simple (advice from our wonderful President Uchtdorf), I am handing these letters to the parents of the missionaries to mail with their next package rather than trying to track down current addresses and mail them all myself. Which I've done before. Also, I've had to buy a bunch of stamps and get a refund from the ward, where I think this is one way we can avoid using ward budget where I don't think the missionary parents mind slipping a few extra letters into their next package. Many of them are getting ready to send Christmas packages anyway, since some of these packages take a long time to reach their children in countries all over the world!



Another thing we did today: We have an amazing Primary chorister and two amazing Primary pianists, all three of which have been with us in Primary for us a long time, and all of whom are extremely reliable and dedicated to serving the children. We can always count on them. We don't do this every year, but this year, we wanted to take the time to thank them in a bigger way than usual. So, on Saturday night, I put a vase full of two dozen roses in the clerk's office. On Sunday, during Sharing time, I separated the roses into three sets, one for each pianist and for our chorister. One of our pianists wasn't here this Sunday so we didn't choose to sing to her, but we sang to the other two.

I picked out a song I knew from the Children's Songbook called, "A Song of Thanks," and work with me to quickly re-write the words to lines 1-3:

                                     

We then asked our two sweet sisters to come to the front of the room where we sang the song to them on the fly (I did this in Senior Primary where the kids can read and quickly picked up the tune) and then gave them the flowers.

Lastly, our amazing Stake Primary Presidency always makes sure someone from the stake attends the Primary Program. They always take the time to write a letter to the Primary children and share specific things they enjoyed about the program. We made sure to read that letter, too.



Our Primary chorister also planned the perfect low-stress Singing Time activity that went really well with our plans. I wish I had remembered to take a picture (I don't usually take pictures during Primary but I knew I wanted to blog about today.) She brought in an office chair, and created a pizza-shaped grid on the ground with tape. She then had each child write down a favorite song, which she put into each pie wedge. A child would spin in the chair, and wherever their feet landed indicated a song they would sing.

Also, we have had a tradition in past years of bringing in healthy snacks on the day of the program - cheese, grapes, pretzels, and sliced apples are typical - but this year, we felt this would be a fun and different thing to do instead. We also checked with our chorister, who made them a fun thank you snack, and felt it was not necessary to overlap and have two separate snacks. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Primary Sharing Time September 2016 - Missionary Work

Our Primary has been focusing on missionary work this month. I have had fun experiences all week while thinking about this lesson. I'm excited to have the children participate and talk about different ways that they can be missionaries now. My favorite is just being a good example. We remember the people around us that have done kind things for us, and that makes us want to be more like them. We also remember people that are happy and want to be around people like that.

LDS resources has about 40 really great stories and articles about missionary work. I have read most of them and highly recommend you spend some time in there, both if you are teaching it, but also as a child and as an adult. These are great stories that apply to everyone, everywhere: https://www.lds.org/children/resources/topics/missionary-work?lang=eng

In particular, I was so inspired by the story about how Abish was a missionary, that I ended up re-reading Mosiah 27, and Alma 17-19, to fill in all the details on the back story. I plan to discuss some of this story with the children tomorrow. This is really the story of several missionaries and several moments of great faith. In Mosiah 27, Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah don't believe in God, and because they are good speakers, they are successfully confusing people and leading people away from God. Finally, an angel visits them and tells them that he has been sent because, in Mosiah 27:14,  "the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth ..."

After this great experience, the five of them are converted, repent of their ways, and become great missionaries. I want to note that this is significant because in 1 Nephi, Laman and Lemuel are visited by angels more than once, and quickly forget and fall back into their sinful ways. Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah had great faith and great resilience. After this amazing experience that lead to their conversion, the five of them weren't all together again until 14 years later, in Alma 17. They rejoice upon meeting up because they are all still doing good and teaching the word of God. They then split up, and continue on their five separate ways, teaching others. Ammon goes into the land of Ishmael in Alma 17:19, and is immediately captured by King Lamoni, who's usual plan is to kill or jail all Nephites who fall into their hands.

Ammon is not imprisoned or killed. Instead, he impresses the king, refuses the honor of taking one of the king's daughters to wife, protects the King's sheep, and one day, defends the sheep against so many bad men that it's clear to the other shepherds and to the king who later hears this tale, that he they all believe him when he tells them about God. So much so, that the king loses the ability to move or speak for two days and two nights, and pretty much looks like he's dead. In Alma 19:10-11, the queen has gone to Ammon for help. Ammon tells her that the king is not dead and that he will rise the next day (so don't bury him!). The queen believes Ammon, even though she has to go on only Ammon's word and the word of the servants. Ammon says in Alma 19:10, "I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites."

Then, a servant named Abish, who is also a believer of God because her father was converted when he had a great vision, sees all that is happening and the opportunity to show others that God is real and true. She runs out, telling everyone the story, and inviting them to come witness it, because she knows that when the king arises, there are many that will believe. Abish is right, and because of her faith, the queen's faith, King Lamoni's faith, and Ammon's perseverance, it says in Alma 19:36, "thus the work of the Lord did commence among the Lamanites; thus the Lord did begin to pour out his Spirit upon them; and we see that his arm is extended to all people who will repent and believe on his name."

Children are SMART! I know many of them will at least know parts of this story so I want them to help me tell this story, and in Senior Primary especially, look up pertinent scriptures. I love that in Alma 17:2-3 it talks how about Ammon and his brothers were prepared to serve, that they prayed, fasted, and were open to the spirit of prophecy and revelation. And how Abish, in Alma 19:16-17, "knew that it was the power of God," and that she had an opportunity to share the word of God with others!

In our times, we have so many simple opportunities to share the gospel. There are ten great suggestions here. Or in this story about how a primary girl knew her articles of faith.

In general, my suggestion for this lesson is that since it's about the fact that they can do missionary work now, it's a great lesson in particular to get a lot of participation so they can practice raising their hands and sharing their thoughts. I'm thinking about even having every child say one way they did or can be a missionary now. They can discuss it in their classes first, and come up together, but everyone would share something. Or I have scenarios I could have them respond to. There are so many ways to engage the children in this one ... I've also thought about putting categories on the wall, like "Family Home Evening," "School," "Primary Program," "Favorite Scripture Story," "Article of Faith" and calling on children in some fun way to come pic a category and add a story or way they can be missionaries today under that topic. If they land in or pick the "Article of Faith" category I'd like them to recite an Article of Faith and then with the classes' help, tell us what it means.

I also emailed all of the missionaries in our ward that are out serving and have asked them for advice on what they would tell the Primary children today. I printed out the emails they sent back, and will share some of their messages from there, too. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August Week 4: Reading, watching, and listening to wholesome things keeps my mind clean.

This is my general lesson plan so far for August Week 4: Reading, watching, and listening to wholesome things keeps my mind clean.


Attention Activity + Review:
Last week, one of the things that Sister B talked about was the Word of Wisdom. Both are things that are good for our bodies. She said that the Lord made us promise, that if we eat things that are good for our body the Lord has promised us that we will walk and not be weary, run and not be faint. (D&C 89:20).

Q: Can anyone tell me what that means, that we will "walk and not be weary, run and not be faint?"

She also talked about how the food we eat makes our brains healthy, too. Today, I want to talk about something else that makes our minds strong.

It has to do with these three things: (make the motions suggested in the lesson for reading, watching, listening). Then, ask the children to raise their hand and identify the motions as I go through them again. Have them do them with me. (At least in Junior.)

1. Do one motion at a time, and then have them guess after each motion.
2. Have them copy you with the motions.

Okay, remember those four things I shared. And then I'm going to share this picture with you. Take a good look.

This is where I show them a picture of the Savior with children, as recommended in the lesson here:

"Show the children a picture of Jesus Christ with children, and ask them to look at it for a few seconds. Cover the picture and ask the children to tell you details they remember about it. Help the children understand that we remember the things we see. Explain that when we fill our minds with good things we also think of good things."

Our mind remembers things, so it's important to fill our minds with good things. Also

Doctrine:
Doctrine and Covenants 130:18
18 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.

Q: Can anyone tell me what the scripture means?
When we fill our minds with good things, it helps us to remember the Savior here on earth, but it also prepares us to return to be with him.

If you think you can recite the Thirteen Article of Faith, raise your hand.

 13 We believe in being honest, true, chastebenevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuouslovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Application:
Let me give you an example. One of the reasons we spend a lot of time every Sunday singing with Sister O. is that the music we sing fills our mind with wholesome things that teach us and help us remember Jesus Christ. Sister O. has been helping you practice the songs with this Olympics theme but do you know, it really is like the Olympics because you are strengthening your mind.

To show you how wholesome music helps you to learn and fill your mind with good things, I have a little game today. I have a bunch of questions here, but I also have a hint of how to get the answer. Just like in Heaven, everyone here is on the same team. We're just trying to get from here to here:
I'll draw a little board on the chalkboard with earth as the starting point and the clouds/Heaven as the destination. I'll use a magnet to move along the board, and let the children move the magnet to the next step.

I'm thinking of making these questions into nice game cards that the children can come to the front and choose. I have a fabric square with pockets in it, and might just put each question in each pocket so the kids can come up and choose the question from the pocket - or some other fun way to deliver the questions and answers.

Game card questions and answers:
Q: When Sister S. plays these notes, what words come to your mind? (Play the first four measures of page 26 of the Children's Songbook (which is "Reverently, Quietly")
A: "Reverently, quietly, lovingly we think of thee;"

Q: Name four things that the Holy Ghost does for us. Four of these things are listed in the third verse of "If I Listen with My Heart."
Hint: The song starts, "I feel the Holy Spirit as He ..."
A: "teaches truth and right. He comforts me in times of needs; He testifies of Christ."

Q: Your life is a gift. Your life has a plan. What was it? The answer is in "I Will Follow God's Plan.
Hint: "It starts with, "My choice was ..."
A: "to come to this lovely home on earth And seek for God's light to direct me from birth."

Q: Our prophet teaches us to be true. When he says to be true, he means, that at work or at play, in darkness or light, we should be true, be true, and what?
A: "Stand for the right."

Q: In which waters was Jesus baptized?
Hint: "It's the beginning of 'This is My Beloved Son," that starts "Jesus entered ..."
A: "Jordan's water"

Q: When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, God the Father spoke from heaven. What did he say?
Hint: It's the part of 'This is My Beloved Son," that says, "God the Father spoke from heaven; This is ...."
A: "My beloved son"

Q: The temple is a holy place. What is one special thing we can do in the temple because a family is forever?
Hint: "I Love to See the Temple" talks about this in verse 2, "For the temple is a holy place where we are ..."
A: "sealed together."

Q: When Sister S. plays these notes, what words come to your mind? (Play "Praise to the Man," on page 27.  First four measures.)
A: "Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!"

The things we listen to help us learn and remember. They are good for our minds. How many of you have heard a scary story, maybe at a sleepover, or saw something in a movie or on tv that bothered you and didn't make you feel good? Those things become a part of our mind, too.

Things that are good for our mind can help us in a lot of good ways. Can anyone share an example of something that they watched that was good for their mind? how about something they read? or listened to?

My back-up examples to help prod the kids:

> Watch - The Olympics - I mountain bike and when I watched the mountain bike race right before my next ride, it made me feel stronger, faster, and more inspired to push myself.

> Read - I love to read. e.g., of a good book that inspires and educates in some way, outside of a gospel book.

> Listen - I often listen to the scriptures while I'm driving to work. That helps me to focus.


Conclusion:
Filling our mind with good things helps us think of good things.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Serving in the Face of Adversity

I subscribe to LDS Daily Messages, a subscription service that sends a daily inspiring quote. Today's quote really hit upon some things I've been studying recently, as I prepared and gave a talk in stake conference on Saturday about overcoming adversity. 

Today's Quote

"Even in the midst of great personal sorrow and pain, our Exemplar reached out to bless others. … His was not a life focused on the things he did not have. It was a life of reaching out in service to others." 

-- Howard W. Hunter

President Howard W. Hunter with his counselors, 
President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson. 

During my talk about overcoming adversity, I mentioned that there are some questions that a section on "Adversity" on LDS.org suggests we ask ourselves when we experience adversity.

1. What am I to do?
2. What am I to learn from this experience?
3. What am I to change?
4. Whom am I to help?
5. How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial?

These questions are often difficult to answer in the face of adversity, especially trials that last for long periods of time, even a lifetime. So, I especially appreciate seeing how President Hunter, one who saw much personal sorrow and pain, dealt with his adversity. President Hunter grew up in a part member family, suffered job loss and the accompanying financial hardship, lost an infant son, cared for a failing wife for 13 years, and died at age 87 from prostate cancer that had spread to his bones.

At his funeral, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "Much has been said about his suffering. I believe that it went on longer and was more sharp and deep than any of us really knew. He developed a high tolerance for pain and did not complain about it. That he lived so long is a miracle in and of itself. His suffering has comforted and mitigated the pain of many others who suffer. They know that he understood the heaviness of their burdens. He reached out to these with a special kind of love."

I feel that the Savior comforted and mitigated President Hunter's pain the way President Hunter was able to comfort and mitigate the pain of others here on earth, and the way we can mitigate pain for those around us.

Service, especially service given in the spirit of charity, and service accepted in the spirit of humility, is an amazing beautiful thing. Service is the tie that binds friendships, adds perspective, uplifts the mood, and brings peace to the soul for both the provider of service and the recipient of service. 

I'm grateful for those friends and family who have been particularly great examples of service to me, for those that I have been able to serve, and for those who have served me. These experiences are many of the most memorable moments of my life and they have strengthened me and carried me through times of sorrow.