Image courtesy creative commons license flickr.com by PetitPlat Aug. 2011
Monthly Theme: Agency Is the Gift to Choose for Ourselves
Monthly Scripture: "Wherefore, men are free . . . to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men" (2 Nephi 2:27).
Week 1 and 2: Agency is the gift to choose for ourselves.
* God bless whoever invented ice cream! Who has ever enjoyed going into an ice cream shop and having a bunch of flavors to choose from? What are some favorites? Personally, it's Rocky Road or bust for me! Have an ice cream cone and different colored ice cream scoops made out of paper. Write scriptures, questions and songs having to do with agency on the back of the scoops. Invite a child to choose a scoop, then do what it says on back and build a tall cone on the black board! There are a lot of choices out there and it's God's gift of agency to us, to let us choose!!!
* Choices! Choices! Choices!! Have 20 envelopes in sets of 2. In each envelope have names of different scriptural characters and some sort of simple instruction like hop 5 times on one foot. Invite a primary friend to come up front and choose a set of envelopes, then choose another primary friend to choose one of the 2 envelopes! Have them talk about the scriptural character and choices they made. Then have the primary do the simple instruction.
Some examples could be:
Nephi - tug on left ear 3 times
King Noah- rub your elbows together while
It's always nice to get bodies moving!! It is possible to move and maintain reverence so don't be scared to try. Children (& most people) learn best when actively involved!
* Try to have the children learn the scripture "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15 by you saying it and randomly leaving out words and having them fill in what word you left out. At the beginning of primary you could challenge the children and see if anyone can learn the scripture to recite by themselves by the end of primary. Have an outline of a house on a piece of paper for each child. Invite children to draw in their home or write about good choices we can make. Have them share with the whole primary or in groups. Our choices and the choices of our family decide whether we'll have a happy or not so happy home!
* Have 2 gift wrapped boxes up front. Invite a child to come up and choose a gift. In one gift have a bunch of demands like sweep the floor, do 50 push ups, eat 6 spoonfuls of mashed potatoes, walk 10 minutes to the store and buy milk only, sip 4 times a cup of that milk, wash your hair for 2 minutes in cold water, lie on the floor for 45 minutes to take a nap, read the dictionary for 6 pages and then freeze. Woah! Does that sound pleasant being told and forced to do certain things? In the other box have the simple phrase, "Choose for yourself". Which gift is better and why? Agency is God's gift to us, and what we do with that agency is our gift to God! Have the children write down a couple choices they can make this week that would make Heavenly Father and Jesus happy. Then give them a brown paper bag with a bow on it, have them put their choices in it and share with their family what they'll do this week with their agency!
* Bring in a checkers board. You, as the teacher, can be black and the children can be red. Invite 1 primary friend at a time to come up and answer a simple case scenario, then they can make a choice on the checkers board.
For example, a case scenario could be:
Maria is walking home from school and sees garbage on the ground. How could she use her gift of agency wisely?
Teddy is mad at his brother. How could he use his gift of agency wisely?
Nice and short! Try to get as many children involved, up and thinking as possible! At the end you can conclude with our life is like a game of checkers. Some choices are very important and can mean all the difference in winning our eternal exaltation!
(And as a fun fact, did you know President Monson loved to play checkers?? He even read a book on different checker strategies and memorized moves and game plans so he'd never lose!)
* Have 3 cups and plenty of chocolate kisses! Invite a primary friend to the front and have them turn around while you hide one chocolate under one upside down cup. Mix up the cups. Preface at the beginning you are going to play a game. You might win a chocolate, you might not. But don't worry at the end everyone will get a chocolate!! Have Gospel Art Pictures of different scripture stories. Invite the primary friend to tell a little about the story and how they used their gift of agency. Then let the friend choose a cup and see if they got a chocolate!! Have about 10-12 different scriptural pictures. Sing Choose the Right Way (CS pg. 160) and look for super singers. Invite a couple of those super singers up to try choosing a cup! Whenever we make a good choice in life, we'll get something better than a chocolate kiss... a blessing from above! We might not see it right away, but it will always be there.
* Life is full of good choices and sometimes we can even make those good choices better! Have a couple friends act out the story of Mary and Martha as you read Luke 10:38-42. Mary sits and listens while Martha cleans dishes, serves food and hustles and bustles about.... What did the Savior teach us about the gift of agency?
List a bunch of good choices on the board, and then have the primary children share ideas on how to make even better choices!! For example:
Pray at breakfast ( A better choice could be to pray always!)
Read Scriptures ( A better choice could be to ponder and study the scriptures!)
Go to Church (Participate and ask questions and share at church!)
* Have the children act out the parable of the talents (Matthew 25). Focus on each of the choices the servants made.
“Every one of us will have to give an account for the deeds we do in the flesh, and that every man will be rewarded according to his works, whether they be good or evil.” Joseph F. Smith (Principles of Government in the Church, Improvement Era, Nov. 1917, 10-11)
Week 3: In the premortal life, I chose to follow God's plan.
* “No principle in time or eternity is so cherished as the right of agency. A war was waged in heaven over our agency- a war that was transferred to earth. Satan is determined to blind, bind and lead captive through ignorance and sin everyone he can. Understanding our agency is imperative for our spiritual survival and fulfillment in Christ.” Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual Rel 430 &431, pg.30
Have a backpack and name it our agency survival kit. In it have items with questions or scriptures attached. I’d have about 10 items inside. For example:
Flashlight – Who helps us see through the darkness and make good choices?
(Jesus, the Holy Ghost, Parents, Teachers, Good friends)
(Jesus, the Holy Ghost, Parents, Teachers, Good friends)
Suncreen- How do good choices help us from being hurt?
Cell Phone- What can we choose to pray for?
Canned Food- Name some soul food, or scripture stories that teach us about good choices.
Water- John 4:14 “ But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” What did the woman at the well choose? Show gospel art kit picture and briefly go over story.
* “Someone once said, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” But it doesn’t work that way. The Savior said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” President Faust, Ensign 1995, Serving the Lord and Resisting the Devil
Draw on the board what a fork in the road is. Show one path leading to a picture of the Savior and the other a frowny face. We made the wonderful choice in the premortal world to follow the Savior. Now that we’re here on earth, let’s name some good and bad choices we make and the paths that follow. Bring in a toy car and let children come up to the board and name examples and drive their car on each path to show everyone.
* "Endowed with agency, you and I are agents, and we primarily are to act and not just be acted upon. To believe that someone or something can make us feel offended, angry, hurt, or bitter diminishes our moral agency and transforms us into objects to be acted upon. As agents, however, you and I have the power to act and to choose how we will respond to an offensive or hurtful situation.", "And Nothing Shall Offend Them," Ensign, Nov. 2006, 90
Bring in a long coat, hat and magnifying glass. Super Secret Agent time! Have each primary child write down a choice they have made in their life that was a good one and their name! Put all the choices into a box and invite a primary friend to dress up as a super secret agent and as you read a choice from the box, they can guess who made it!
Re-read the words of President Bednar, “As agents, however, you and I have the power to act and to choose how we will respond….” In the premortal life we chose Christ, so let's make sure our choices here support all we did before!
Week 4: Jesus Christ created the earth as a place where I can learn to choose the right.
* Click HERE for a Reader's Theater. Happy acting!