Sunday, August 3, 2008

No One Likes to Be Talked At

May I first start this out by thanking Liz, who commented on the August Sharing Time Helps post. It brought to my mind an experience I had and a few thoughts.

Let's just picture a primary where there are neon signs, guitar music and the kids are cheering! This is great! They are having a blast! The primary pianist can even rock out using her toes on the keys! They want more, they want to come to primary, they want to come to church and can feel.... Hmmm. What are they feeling?

Let's picture another primary. The sharing time teacher has prepared a lesson and on the board lies a make shift drawing of the temple and a pathway to it. She obviously isn't a Picasso, but we get the point, there are certain things we need to do to get to the temple. She starts to teach, asks questions, involves the kids physically and mentally, and is energetic and enthusiastic. She is using the scriptures, you can see them on the table when they aren't in her hands. What are the children feeling?

And finally, let's picture another primary. The kids are sitting perfectly still. As they ought to be, or the sharing time teacher will say, "Why aren't you being more reverent." She is talking, she telling about gospel truths and the kids are sitting there quiet as a mouse. One sunbeam stretches and says they miss their new puppy who is at home. The puppy's name is Gerald. The teacher proceeds, ignores the comment and continues with the lesson that has to be finished. What is that little one feeling?

I'm not an expert. Please don't ever think I am. I am, though, very aware of children. I love children!!

May I ask 2 questions: What type of Primary do we have? What type of Primary should we be striving for?

Our Church Handbook Book 2 Section 5 Primary (under sharing time p. 234) says, "This is an opportunity for them (members of the Primary Presidency) to INTERACT with the children and TEACH them gospel principles." It also uses words like, "ACTIVELY INVOLVE. BEAR TESTIMONY. PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES that allow STANDING and MOVEMENT."

Our Church Handbook Book 2 Section 16 Gospel Teaching and Leadership also gives 2 very important suggestions when teaching the gospel (pgs. 300-304)

Liz said, "I agree Sofia that it shouldn't be flashing lights and all, but it does need to capture their attention. No child just wants to sit there and be taught and not be drawn in...Primary can be fun and reverent at the same time. Keep it up." Well said, and if I may Liz, add no child (or adult for that matter) wants to sit and be talked at.

I'll share an experience I had in a Primary where my husband and I were called to teach the 6 year olds. We loved those children! There were 4 total, 2 boys and 2 girls all coming from very solid homes where they were taught properly the gospel. They were smart. They were amazing! As all children really are.

One week the sharing time lesson was just not going well. The teacher was trying to get the kids to memorize the 13th article of faith. There were no pictures. There was no energy in her and she was actually getting upset when the kids weren't pronouncing the words right. This was after a 5 minute "talk to" the children about reverence and sitting quietly. This was after a 10 minute (no questions, no involvement) "talk to" the little ones about why we need to know our articles of faith. I zoned out. I just couldn't do it. And then, all of the sudden she was done with 15 minutes left for sharing time and the music leader was missing.

I made my way up to the front and said thank you sister. Who's ready to shake like Solomon! We shook our hands. Who's ready to move like Moroni! We wiggled our legs and wielded a pretend sword. Who's ready to... I invited a child to come on up and pick an action and see if we could think of a person that started with that letter from the scriptures.
I don't know what we did after. But I remember how livid I was.

"Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?" Thank you Ben Stine.

This is primary!! It is my humble desire that we as Primary Teachers (this including the presidency, as we teach sharing times) will be prepared, prayerful and the gospel message presented with power.

May we find balance and harmony in our Primary atmosphere. May it be a place where the spirit is felt. May it be a place of learning. May our children have positive experiences with primary. May our children come closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ because of each Sunday in Primary.

I bear these thoughts humbly in the Name of my Master and Gracious Lord, Jesus Christ.

Here are a few scriptures as food for thought and the soul. How do these apply to what has been said above?

D&C 52: 15-17 " Wherefore he that prayeth, whose spirit is contrite, the same is accepted of me if he obey mine ordinances. He that speaketh, whose spirit is contrite, whose language is meek and edifieth, the same is of God if he obey mine ordinances. And again, he that trembleth under my power shall be made strong, and shall bring forth fruits of praise and wisdom, according to the revelations and truths which I have given you. "

John 5: 1-2 " Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments."

Galations 4: 28-31 "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free."


thebohans said...

Sunday in teaching the Valiant 7 class (The Good Samaratin/Be kind & Love your neighbor) We acted out the parable. Then we played "Do you love your neighbor" and "Kindness ball (kids sat in a circle & tossed the ball to someone & said something nice about them. Of course we also read scriptures & had strips of paper with scenarios on them also. But I broke up. Since they were so good in primary (which for some reason our chorister doesn't believe in wiggle songs...AGH!) we started with a game, then scripture, etc...

thebohans said...

maybe I'll start blog, too with this years ideas for class? I also repeat my lesson with our family on Mon nights.

Sofia's Primary Ideas said...

Sista Bohan! I initially started this as a record keeping for all my sharing time lesson plans, but it has bloomed. I thank God everyday for His hand and direction in it. Also, the Fun and Activity section of the Children's songbook is WONDERFUL! It's the BLUE section and should be used OFTEN!!! Especially with Jr. Primary. So double check with your chorister on what her definition of wiggle songs. Too often there is miscommunication.

Liz said...


Thank you for the lovely post. I feel very humbled that I inspired you. If you only new how much I was using your ideas here in our primary in my home for FHE (just ended the peace one with some small variations in it for our young family). Can I just say it was SO needed here today. 4 days of rain is getting on everyone's nerves.

If you ever make it to PEI Canada, let me know. I will get you over for supper!

Thanks again.


Stina said...

Wow. You are amazing. I love this blog. You have a gift of words and teaching and knowing just the right scriptures and helping us to feel the Spirit.

If I ever have to stop my lesson or closing exercises because children are talking...I immediately think of your previous posts where we have talked about how much we don't like the constant reminders to be reverent and to actively engage the children. On rare occassions, I may still have to draw attention to it being my turn to speak for just a few minutes (kindly always!!)...but I find that I can usually turn them around with a silly question (related to the lesson or whatever I'm doing) or by whispering or whatever.

I find myself quite animated when I'm up in front teaching and learning from them at the same time. We are silly and we laugh and we have a fun time. I always tell them how much I love them (and mean it! Kids can tell when you are just saying it) and I love to share with them my feelings about my baptism (best decision of my life thanks to you being so brave and asking me to come to church...I've mentioned you a LOT this year.) and what I have felt when I'm in the temple and how it is the most wonderful place in the world and how I'm always striving to obey the council from Heavenly Father and also our dear Prophet so that my home may be likened to the temple in the Spirit that is felt there and because obeying makes me happy and brings me joy.

Do I say this to toot my own horn? Of course not. I just had to express how much I loved my calling to serve the Lord's little one's and how much it means to me to take a small part in preparing future missionaries and adults in our Church and in the world. :)

I love you. Don't ever stop this blog. It is powerful and people all over the world are being blessed and inspired because of it.

Plus, it gives me tons of great ideas. :)

Sofia's Primary Ideas said...

Sister Liz, you are fantastic! Did I also mention how much I love Anne of Green Gables, I had such a crush on Gilbert... that was filmed on PEI right?

Stina, my love, I know happiness because of you. I look forward to the eternities together... if only we could get Ramya on board too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are sunshine! Roadtrip!! Roadtrip!!