Thursday, May 20, 2010

Song Helps "The Holy Ghost" (Children's Songbook page 105)

Image courtesy creative commons license by qusic march 2010

* Make the song into a paper quilt (comforter) with pictures/words. Let the children put the quilt together as they learn the song, then as it has sunk in, you can hold up different quilt squares and review different parts of the song randomly. Or if you're super ambitious, a real quilt with iron on pictures in the different sections. Then the children can wear it at the front as you learn the words! I bet they'd get excited about that!

* When singing, stand and then have the children get small (close to the ground) on the words whisper and still small voice.

* Have a paper dove attached to a stick and invite children who are trying hard to sing, come up and lead the song with the stick.

* Since the Holy Ghost teaches us the truth of all things, write/or sing the phrases in the song either correct or incorrect. Have the children give thumbs up if it's true or thumbs down if false. Change all false parts into the right and true words of the song. Have the children sing the true words.
(For example: When Christ was on the earth, He didn't promise he would send, the Holy Ghost to comfort us, our true eternal angel. False! )

*Invite 5 men with the Melchizedek Priesthood to come in and sing this song. Invite the children to guess why you wanted men to sing this song? Because it is by the laying on of hands that we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

June 2010 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Image courtesy creative commons license by knowhimonline July 2007

June Theme: The Holy Ghost testifies of the Truth of all things.

June Scripture: “By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know he truth of all things.” Moroni 10:5

Week 1 The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead.

* Play Holy Ghost Win-Guess-and Draw! Have little sheets of paper for the children to draw out of a sack. On the paper have the following words written separately:

Brain (Moroni 10:5)


Body (“The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a Spirit in the form of a man. The Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit, and has a spirit body only. His mission is to bear witness of the Father and the Son and of all truth. As a Spirit personage the Holy Ghost has size and dimensions. He does not fill the immensity of space, and cannot be everywhere present in person at the same time. He is also called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of Truth, and the Comforter” (Joseph F. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:38)

Blanket (Comforter)


Father and Son

Glue (The Holy Ghost seals upon worthy individuals the promises of God)

Have the children draw on the board with chalk and give the whole primary an opportunity to guess. No shouting out though! You have to raise your hand! Whoever can guess the picture gets to come up and draw the next one! Talk about each picture and how it relates to the Holy Ghost. Ask the children questions and have a couple scriptures or songs to go along with certain words/pictures.

* Have a large sheet of paper, some stamps and stamp pads. Have an official document where you can show the children what a seal is.

“The Holy Spirit of Promise is the Holy Ghost who places the stamp of approval upon every ordinance: baptism, confirmation, ordination, marriage. The promise is that the blessings will be received through faithfulness. Every ordinance is sealed with a promise of a reward based upon faithfulness. The Holy Spirit withdraws the stamp of approval where covenants are broken.”

Have questions, songs and scriptures having to do with the Holy Ghost. Invite a child to answer and then stamp the paper on the board. As children leave, you can stamp their hands to help them remember to be faithful so the Holy Spirit can seal our good choices!

* Pass 3 bean bags around 3 different circles (1 per circle) while you sing “Listen, Listen” (CS p. 107) or other songs about the Holy Ghost. Whoever has the beanbag when the song ends, stands, answers a question, reads a scripture or can contribute any thought/experience they have had with the Holy Ghost. Ask the children why the #3 is important, thinking about the gospel. Like the sharing time outline says, have the children memorize the first article of faith by standing up in their groups as you say each phrase.

* Have a birthday invitation. How would you know if someone was having a party if there wasn’t an invitation? Food for thought: how will the Holy Ghost know he’s invited in our lives and daily choices if we don’t pray and invite Him to be with us?

*A medley of great ideas: Margaret Lifferth, “Sharing Time: The Gift of the Holy Ghost,” Friend, Aug 2005, 15

Highly recommend making the handout for the children to do at home with their family! You’ll need to give them a small box or bag also.

Week 2 The Holy Ghost speaks in a still, small voice.

*Time to break out the grapes and jalapenos! Ok, maybe not jalapenos… maybe lemons? “The inspiring influence of the Holy Spirit can be overcome or masked by strong emotions, such as anger, hate, passion, fear, or pride. When such influences are present, it is like trying to savor the delicate flavor of a grape while eating a jalapeƱo pepper. Both flavors are present, but one completely overpowers the other. In like manner, strong emotions overcome the delicate promptings of the Holy Spirit." Richard G. Scott, "To Acquire Spiritual Guidance," Ensign, Nov. 2009, 8

* Act out the story of Elijah!! (1 Kings 19) Act out the story of Nephi building a ship and emphasize his response to Laman and Lemuel (1 Nephi 17: 45 “Ye are swift to do iniquity but slow to remember the Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words; wherefore, he has spoken unto you like unto the voice of thunder, which did cause the earth to shake as if it were to divide asunder.”)

* Joseph Smith described the Holy Ghost as such, D&C 85:6 “Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest…” Sometimes small things can have a big impact!!! Take a balloon and a small pin, poke the balloon.

*Put on your listening ears, go outside and see what sounds you can hear. Have children close their eyes and volunteer what they heard. Explain sometimes, the Holy Ghost can speak to us, other times it might be more of a feeling. How might the Holy Ghost feel?

"That sweet, quiet voice of inspiration comes more as a feeling than it does as a sound. Pure intelligence can be spoken into the mind. The Holy Ghost communicates with our spirits through the mind more than through the physical senses. This guidance comes as thoughts, as feelings through promptings and impressions. We may feel the words of spiritual communication more than hear them and see with spiritual rather than with mortal eyes." Boyd K. Packer,, "Prayer and Promptings,"Ensign, Nov. 2009, 44

*Another great medley of ideas. Always goes to show you, when you want the best ideas, just head to Elizabeth Ricks, “Listen to the Still, Small Voice,” Friend, Aug 2007, 10–12

Week 3 The Holy Ghost can guide and protect us.

*The Sharing Time Outline has the best idea for this week! Very awesome!

* "The gift of the Holy Ghost operates equally with men, women, and even little children. It is within this wondrous gift and power that the spiritual remedy to any problem can be found. '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)." Boyd K. Packer, "Prayer and Promptings," Ensign, Nov. 2009, 45

Have a first aid kit. Invite the children to come up and choose items from the kit that have questions, songs and scriptures about the Holy Ghost on them.

* Have the word “Holy Ghost” written in about 10 different languages on the board.

“In every language, the Spirit of God—the Holy Ghost—guides, or can guide, every member of the Church.” Boyd K. Packer, "The Cloven Tongues of Fire,” Ensign, May 2000, 7

Have a globe with small numbers attached. Invite a child to come up and spin the globe, using their finger to stop it. Have the numbers correspond to questions, songs and scriptures having to do with the Holy Ghost.

* The story of Sara Jane is one of our favorites. I let my girls drop rocks when they hear the right part. Scroll down to how the Holy Ghost can Guide and Warn us HERE from the Primary 2 Manual.

* Great ideas by Karen Ashton, “Sharing Time: The Holy Ghost Can Help Me,” Friend, Jul 1997, 36

Week 4 By the power of the Holy Ghost, we may know the truth of all things.

* Have the door shut. If the Holy Ghost were on the other side of the door, what gospel principle opens the door to the Holy Ghost? “Obedience opens the door to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. And the spiritual gifts and abilities activated by the power of the Holy Ghost enable us to avoid deception—and to see, to feel, to know, to understand, and to remember things as they really are.” David A. Bednar, “Things as They Really Are,” CES fireside for young adults, May 3, 2009

* This might be a little easier for the Senior Primary to grasp…. How does a radio work? Little waves we can’t see carry the music to our radios. Bring in a radio and play something from a classical station. Pretty amazing! Even more amazing is this, the Holy Ghost!!! “He is broadcasting all eternal truth out into all immensity all the time” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah 16)

* “Explain that the Holy Ghost can help us know when something is true or real. Show the children a bag with an object in it. Tell the children that there is something in the bag, but do not show them the object. Is there something in this bag? Explain that even though the children cannot see the object in the bag, they know it is there because you told them it was there. Even though few people ever see Heavenly Father and Jesus, the Holy Ghost can help us know that Heavenly Father and Jesus are real and that they love us. Explain that this knowledge is called a testimony. Sometimes people bear their testimonies in Church meetings and tell us that they know that Jesus lives. The Holy Ghost has helped them know this is true.” Lesson 7: The Holy Ghost Helps Me,” Primary 1: I Am a Child of God, 19

* Have children write down their testimonies on a piece of paper. (Fulfilling a Faith in God Requirement) How do they know what they know? Because of 3 simple words… The Holy Ghost. “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost” (1 Corinthians 12:3)

* Have a small white board and write with permanent marker on it, “By the power of the Holy Ghost, we may know the truth of all things.” Have a child come up and try to erase it. Invite a couple more to try.

“When a man has the manifestation from the Holy Ghost, it leaves an indelible impression on his soul, one that is not easily erased. It is Spirit speaking to spirit, and it comes with convincing force. A manifestation of an angel, or even of the Son of God himself, would impress the eye and mind, and eventually become dimmed, but the impressions of the Holy Ghost sink deeper into the soul and are more difficult to erase” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 2:151). (And just so you know, you can go over the permanent marker with a dry erase after church and it should come back off with an eraser)

* President Smith also said, “Through the Holy Ghost the truth is woven into the very fibre and sinews of the body so that it cannot be forgotten” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:48).

Have the children make paper weaves. Let them write words or phrases of things they know are true on the strips of paper. Have teachers and children help each other. See HERE on how to make a paper weave. Invite the pianist to play soft music as they work. Have children share their work when done. (This will be too hard for most sunbeams and 4 year olds, you can try to adapt by making less slits and wider strips to weave)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thoughts on Reverence

Image from Google search, no accredited source

I have a friend who recently wrote:

"I am in a Primary Presidency in MA and absolutely love all your ideas. Our primary is about 80 kids which naturally brings a lot of enthusiasm and energy. Our reverence, while never fantastic, has recently plummeted. I am trying to find ideas or techniques and tools that might help us bring a little more reverence into Primary so the kids have more opportunities to feel the Spirit. I have found a few ideas online but the majority involve bribing the kids. Our kids already get candy--and lots of it--from their teachers (despite requests to limit it). I don't think providing them with more sugar would be too helpful. I am okay bribing them with experiences or privileges but don't want to do more treats. On the other hand, since it is something I would hope that we could have more routinely than not, setting up the expectation for benefits for polite behavior gives me pause.
Anyway, I wondered if you would feel like doing a post about any reverence thoughts you have. Thanks."

Sigh. Reverence.

Can you relate?
I pray for the spirit to guide me.

Let me preface first with this, if you are struggling and sometimes come home after church with a headache and feelings nothing short of frustration and sorrow... I want you to know you are doing a great job and everything will work out. If we had star trek technology I'd beam on over and give you a big hug and kiss on the cheek. Maybe split some watermelon and just relax together listening to Bob Marley. But more importantly, the Savior knows you and is ready to give you a big hug and tell you the exact same thing and help out however you let Him. Perhaps, sans Bobby.

I was struck with this quote from Robert D. Hales, “Our Duty to God: The Mission of Parents and Leaders to the Rising Generation,” Ensign, May 2010, 95–98"

" For our interactions with youth to truly touch their hearts, we have to pay attention to them just as we would pay attention to a trusted adult colleague or close friend. Most important is asking them questions, letting them talk, and then being willing to listen—yes, listen and listen some more—even hearken with spiritual ears! Several years ago I was reading the newspaper when one of my young grandsons snuggled up to me. As I read, I was delighted to hear his sweet voice chattering on in the background. Imagine my surprise when, a few moments later, he pushed himself between me and the paper. Taking my face in his hands and pressing his nose up to mine, he asked, “Grandpa! Are you in there?”.... Being there means understanding the hearts of our youth and connecting with them. And connecting with them means not just conversing with them but doing things with them too."

I bring up that quote in connection to reverence in that sometimes we are the ones with the lesson to learn. Jesus, our Savior, said "Suffer little children, forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19:14) Our children are perfect, so it's up to us to "pay attention" and alter our teaching to accommodate maximum learning by the Spirit.

Best ways to establish reverence:

1. Pray to Heavenly Father for help.
Sometimes we forget, as terrible as it is to say. But if there is a problem, the best solution is the Big Man Himself.

2. Know the primary children!!
Have a solid relationship with them where they know YOU care about THEM.

* Become friends! Call children up on the phone to see how their day was and thank them for such a wonderful talk last week, go to school musical performances, stop by a baseball game to cheer, say hi to children by name as they enter the room, pat a child on the back and say "I'm so glad you are here to today!".... We will get more out of our callings if we put in more.
* Do you spend more time talking to your counselors and teachers or the children?
* Do you smile at the children and make them feel welcome?

3. Plan lessons that involve the children, get them moving and are age appropriate.
I'm going to say something and it might not sit well, but it's true: 95% of the time, if sharing time doesn't go well it's the adult's fault.

* No one likes to be talked at. Children should talk more than you do! It's called Sharing Time, not Lecture Series of the Gospel for 5 year olds.
* Children shouldn't have to sit still (especially Junior Primary) the entire time. They should be allowed to wiggle and use their bodies in the learning process.
* If you are going to get the children moving, there will be noise... BUT SET EXPECTATIONS CLEARLY (see #4)... Please share your answer with your neighbor and remember! I should hear mouse voices, NOT lion voices!!
* Give warnings before you want to wrap things up... Ok my friends, 30 more seconds and everyone should be in their own seat! I'll know you're ready when I see your arms folded and smiles on your faces. Thank you!
* Do you follow the sharing time outline and really think about the 2 questions that are repeated at the top EVERY MONTH - "What will the children DO to learn, and how can I help them feel the spirit?"

4. Set your expectations high and make them very clear.
Church is the place where we come to worship and learn about our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It's OK to have fun, but boundaries need to be set... and they need to be clear to the children.

* Hands need to be raised, we need to listen to each other respectfully, keep all body parts to ourselves.
* Follow through on things you say, if you've warned Johnny about kicking Billy and told him you're going to take him to mom if he does that again... take him to mom! Primary needs to be a place where children feel safe, it's OK to go over rules with children often... just do so in a manner where they are engaged. Can you show me with your hands what we do during sharing time? What about with our feet? Can you blink your eyes very fast if you think we should listen to others while they share answers? Or with older children, Can someone tell me something Laman and Lemuel would do during primary? What about Nephi?
* If you want the children to listen to you when you talk, then listen to them when they talk. DON'T TALK OVER CHILDREN. If they can't hear you, then they need to quiet down. What you have to say is important, so wait until you have FULL ATTENTION. You don't have to be overly stern about it either, "My friends, I love you. I have an important Duty to God to be a good teacher. You also have an important Duty to God, and that is to learn of Him. Neither you or I can do our duty unless we have on our listening ears and our mouths wait their turn to speak. Please take out your pencils (fingers) and write in the air, I can do my duty! Exclamation mark! Thank you. Now pencils down, eyes on me, by raise of hand who can tell me..."

5. Be Energetic!!
I'm not talking spazzy cheerleader energetic... just a hint of enthusiasm, moderate volume, happy to be at primary energetic. I know it might seem contradictory to be upbeat when you might want more of a calm atmosphere, but if you can grab their attention and keep it, you'll have your window of opportunity to share what is most important.

* In all honesty, how do you learn? Do you learn best from talks at Sacrament that are dry, lifeless and monotone... or do you learn from talks that are peppy, to the point and positive?

*******Now, going back to my friend... you've mentioned a few things that have red flags popping in my mind:

1. You are absolutely right to NOT want to give the children candy. They don't need it. Hello, thank you Jaime Oliver and Food Revolution. Not to mention the handbook which the PROPHETS have given us states for us to not have food in primary!! As for teachers that are not following the handbook, if you've asked them to stop and they're not, take it up with the Bishop. It really is a serious matter and again, you're right... sugar will not help the matter.

And before I get some crazy comment, here it is "What is the policy for food in Primary? Food should only be provided when it is included as part of a lesson or as a snack for the children in the nursery class. Be sure to consult with the parents of each child about any dietary restrictions that may be caused by conditions such as diabetes or allergies (see Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2, 239)." Don't get upset with me, take it up with the Prophet.

2. Bribing children.... no thank you!!! They are perfect, despite what we may be thinking as they spend 4 minutes straight picking a booger and then eating it. Yum.

There is a big difference between bribing and rewarding good behavior.

I prefer the spontaneous positive reinforcement... "Oh my! You all are being such great listeners! Thank you so much, you know what... Sister So and So can you please go get a member of the bishopric and bring him here so I can tell him what a lucky ward we are to have such fantastic children who listen so well! And then do so!! Or tell the children, wow... everyone has participated so nicely, raised their hands politely and helped out our lessons so well that I'm just going to have to call your parents!! I'm going to go home and surprise 3 wonderful primary friends with a phone call!!! Thank you!! Thank you!!!

I also liked choosing sticks for a reverent superstar of the day. You want to keep it positive,so tell the primary they were all so helpful and wonderful you can't choose one yourself- you have to draw sticks! (Like popsicle sticks with all the children's names on it in a can) It makes them feel special and you're using the fairness of a can.... make sure everyone gives themselves a big pat on the back though because primary wouldn't be primary without ALL their happy and reverent shining spirits! And never use this to threaten the children, like I'm going to take your stick out so you can't be chosen. Keep primary a happy place, children don't need downers and grumps in their lives... they need loving, supportive and patient leaders.

Draw a mystery picture or phrase on the board. Say the only way to figure out the mystery is to have good manners and listening in primary. Reverence is the key to unlock! Then as you go throughout the lesson, thank children and state what they have done right and draw a piece of your picture. Tell them how proud you are that they could earn their whole picture at the end by being so great!

Reverence-O-Meter! Right on! Draw a thermometer on the board, then fill in with chalk as you notice the children participating and showing good manners. Make sure to tell them what they did right as you fill in, "Oh Sara! You are so helpful, thank you for raising your hand to share your answer, and I'm going to fill in a little more on this because the class behind you was listening very carefully and showing you respect while you spoke. Thank you!!"

Bring our Savior into the matter. "You guys, do you see what picture I'm standing next to? Who is this? Jesus, yes!! You have been holding your feet so still, and singing so nicely during the songs and thinking so hard for all our questions... how do you think you've made our Savior feel? I bet you're right, I think Jesus is smiling a really big smile because you've made Him so happy with your good manners. Thank you so much!"

I also wanted to bring up when you use good manners with children, you'll get it back. Don't expect thank you's, please's and excuse me's when you yourself aren't using them... I think I'm starting to ramble now, so time to get back on point. There is no need to "bribe" children. We don't want to be the reason behind tomorrow's future political failures.

3. Always make sure as the children come in, that the proper tone for the sharing time is set. Prelude music should be playing, there should be soft voices... you can have a child that is being reverent come up to the front and hold a picture of Christ, then choose another child to hold it and have the other one sit down as everyone files in. The room should already be set up (if possible). When you have a good start, that makes things easier.

You can click HERE to see what the church has to say on teaching and expecting appropriate behavior.

You can also click HERE to hear me babble some more on behavior in primary.

If I may end by repeating again this phrase from Elder Hales, "Most important is asking them questions, letting them talk, and then being willing to listen—yes, listen and listen some more—even hearken with spiritual ears! " Prepare good lessons way ahead of time, pray to Father for guidance, and get to know those whom you teach. These are the keys to having a happy Primary, and when you have a happy Primary- reverence is sure to follow. Lastly, REFLECT. Think about what is working and what is not. Take whatever you are struggling with to the Big Man and He will lead you.

I encourage anyone else out there to share ideas that have worked for them too! This is a very common issue, one that every primary has to deal with at one time or another. Don't stress about it, Jesus is awesome... it will all work out. Much love to you my friend in the Bay State... hooray for outlawing greyhound racing! And thanks for your kind words and for writing!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!!! LDS Primary Mother's Day Gift Idea

Wow. Really Sofia. The Wednesday before Mother's Day.... and you're just posting now?

I'm sorry.
I hope this can be of help to someone who perhaps may be in a last minute pickle.

Materials Needed: Paper, cotton swabs, yellow ribbon to tie around paper and lemon juice (small containers/paper cups for the lemon juice)

In primary have the children use the lemon juice and swabs to write a secret message/ secret picture to their special lady. Have them roll it as a scroll and tie with ribbon. Explain that they will need to go home with their special lady (mother, grandma, aunt, sister... whoever :) ) and put it by a toaster*********(See update) or candle flame to see the message! Make a practice one for them to see!

Have lemon bars or a lemon cupcake with the following poem for the children to take home for their special lady....

(By yours truly, Sofia Lykes... feel free to use, just don't sell to a publisher or say you wrote it because when we're in heaven I will ask/hint at Heavenly Father to use a taser on you as your punishment . Also notice it doesn't say mother, I just always go the safe route because I'd never want any little ones to feel bad if they don't have a mother at home)

A special surprise for the one I love,
The message is quite out of sight...
But add some warmth and soon you'll see
A small treasure for your delight!

It really is no secret,
You are the best around!
You make each day a joyful one,
Our blessings do abound!

Thank you for being the woman you are!
For turning life's lemons to sweet.
You fill my soul, you light up my life....
You make our home complete!

Or click HERE for last year's idea involving a date and some M&M's....

The toaster barely will work!!! The children and special lady will need to hold it carefully over a candle flame or use an iron!!!! Click HERE to see an example of what will happen. Sorry for the not so clear explanation!!!!