One of my greatest blessings is knowing that my family can be eternal!!
Monthly Scripture: “The family is ordained of God” The Family: A Proclamation to the World, paragraph 7
Week 1 Heavenly Father planned for me to come to a family.
* “The Lord organized the whole program in the beginning with a father who... provides, and loves and directs, and a mother who... nurtures and feeds and trains. The Lord could have organized it otherwise but chose to have a unit with responsibility and purposeful associations where children train and discipline each other and come to love, honor, and appreciate each other. The family is the great plan of life, as conceived and organized by our Father in Heaven” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 324).
Preface that not all families are perfect and no one needs to worry about it. God will make everything right in the end! No one should feel bad for things that they have no control over!! Draw a large square on the blackboard. Invite children to come up and draw different members of a family. We're making a visual of this great family plan!! We have moms, dads, grandparents, cousins, pets. After they have drawn pictures, brainstorm the different roles/jobs of each member.
Repeat the quote, "The family is the great plan of life!! Organized by our Father in Heaven." We all have our different roles to make sure the family is happy! One member that might be forgotten is The Savior, make sure to put up His picture in the end. What is His role in our families?
* Pass out wordstrips with the following words, one per strip - ALONE, ADAM, HELP MEET, WOMAN
You are going to read a scripture and when the children with the words hear their word, they need to come up front.
Read Genesis 2:18, 21, 22 "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."
Why was it not good for man to be alone? What is a help meet? Who became Adam's wife?
From the beginning of time we see the importance of family!!
In the Garden of Eden, a family grew! What can we do in the garden of our homes to help our families grow? Have a bunch of fake flowers arranged like a garden. Invite children to come up front and pick a flower. On the flowers you can have scriptures, questions, songs all having to do with families.
In the middle of the lesson, have a pesky little bee that stings a few children. There will always be someone or something that tries to destroy our home and families, but with Heavenly Father's help good will always win! Invite a child to whack the bee with a fly swatter.
Bear testimony that it is not good for man to be alone. We must all help our families grow and bring forth good fruit!!
* Write the word SACRED on the chalk board. What does this word mean? Have some primary friends come up front and hold pictures of temples, church meeting houses and a couple pictures of homes. Have the children take a vote as to which is the most sacred picture up front.
Read the following quote, "I invoke the blessings of the Lord upon you, all of you here, with reference to your home and your families. It is the choicest of all life’s experiences. I urge you to put it first. The center core of the Church is not the stake house; it is not the chapel; that is not the center of Mormonism. And, strangely enough, the most sacred place on earth may not be the temple, necessarily. The chapel, the stake house, and the temple are sacred as they contribute to the building of the most sacred institution in the Church—the home—and to the blessing of the most sacred relationships in the Church, the family” (Boyd K. Packer, Family Togetherness—the Core of the Church, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [13 June 1963], 10)
Have the children share experiences where they have felt sacred and peaceful feelings in their homes. Give each child a piece of paper and ask them to draw (if younger) or write (if older) things they can do to make their homes sacred places. Have them share.
*Bring in a couple family photo albums. Show the kids some fun vacations you've taken. Who here has also had fun family times? Families can be awesome!! Heavenly Father planned for all of us to come into families. Pass out some squares of paper to the children. Invite them to draw pictures and write thank you notes to some of their family members. The happiness and joy we have each day in families is only possible through The Savior. We have our families here on earth and love them so much, but even greater is the love of The Savior and The Father. We can't really send Them thank you notes like the ones we just made, but we sure can give thanks in our prayers!!
Week 2 Family prayer, family scripture study, and family home evening can strengthen my family.
*How many of the primary children have family members that serve in the military? Would we ever want those family members to have to fight without armor?
Alma 43:19-21 "And when the armies of the Lamanites saw that the people of Nephi, or that Moroni, had prepared his people with breastplates and with arm-shields, yea, and also shields to defend their heads, and also they were dressed with thick clothing— Now the army of Zerahemnah was not prepared with any such thing; they had only their swords and their cimeters, their bows and their arrows, their stones and their slings; and they were naked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins; yea, all were naked, save it were the Zoramites and the Amalekites; But they were not armed with breastplates, nor shields—therefore, they were exceedingly afraid of the armies of the Nephites because of their armor, notwithstanding their number being so much greater than the Nephites."
Our families are at battle against evil in the world. We need armor to protect our family! Special armor like family prayer, family scripture study and family home evening!
* Have 3 priesthood holders come into primary. Have one do a few push ups. Have another do some sit ups. Have another do a few jumping jacks. All these things help make our bodies strong. But what are some things that can help make our families strong? Have the priesthood holder briefly testify how family prayer helps strengthen his family. Have the sit up man briefly testify how family scripture study strengthens his family. And have jumping jack man briefly testify how family home evening strengthens his family.
Have a jar with physical things for the kids to do and a question or scripture or song about the weeks theme on it too. Invite one friend to draw a paper and have the whole primary do the movement. Just as we need to do things to strengthen our body, we need to do things to strengthen our family!
For example- do 2 lunges! When should we pray as a family and what are some of the things we can pray for together?
Or do 5 air push ups (since girls are in dresses! They push the air as hard as they can, arms squared, really using their muscles... just be careful of friends around you!!) What can we do to make sure Family Home Evening is a time when the spirit is felt?
"The First Presidency taught that by teaching and rearing children in gospel principles, parents can protect their families from corrosive elements. They further counseled parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities." Elder Robert D. Hales General Conference April 1999 Strengthening Families: Our Sacred Duty
Do we want our families to be like this bridge? Chewed away, brittle and just plain yucky? What did Elder Hales say we have to do to protect families from corrosion?
Have a little picture of a family. Have a blue piece of paper to represent a lake. Maybe even have a little shark in the water! Then have a piece of paper that says Strong Family! Invite the children to come make a bridge of popsicle sticks across the lake, but in order to do so they have to answer questions, read scriptures or sing songs about the week's theme.
Week 3 The Priesthood can bless and strengthen my family.
* I'd like to clarify why I think the following story is a good opportunity to talk with children. In the Book of Mormon we have the story of Alma the younger and how he persecuted the church. Wicked children are a common theme within our scriptures. This story shows that even a prophet's son had a heart that was not Christ like. This story shows that our wonderful country made terrible mistakes. This story shows that President Kimball knew the Lamanites/Native Americans were precious and important. Here lies the question, should we ignore hatred or honor the lives of those gone before us? Many children do not know the rich heritage of Native Americans. Many children do not know that their land was stolen from them. Now obviously we don't have to go into great detail but during certain times in this story there is opportunity to ask the children how does that feel? Does that feel right? Does that feel wrong? The spirit can guide a beautiful discussion if we are willing to pray for help. Also, it's important for children to realize that sometimes even the wicked are blessed. The sons were "full of fight and eager to smell gunpowder"... yet the priesthood blessing was fulfilled. Ask the children, with all the bad things that happened to Native Americans, do you think God will bless them and make everything right? How can we do our part to make sure our hearts love all of God's children?
Tell the children the following story:
"In the spring of 1866, during what is called the Black Hawk War, our pioneers were struggling to beat back deadly Indian attacks on many settlements in southern Utah. Two of President Heber C. Kimball’s sons were called into military service for a three-month expedition against the Indians. Before they left he gave them a priesthood blessing. Apparently concerned that his sons might shed the blood of their Lamanite brothers, he first counseled them about the great promises God has made to this branch of the house of Israel. He then blessed his sons and promised them they would not see a single Indian on their campaign. His sons, full of fight and eager to smell gunpowder, were disappointed at this promise, but the blessing was fulfilled. When they returned three months later, they reported:
“We … rode hundreds of miles, following the tracks of different bands of hostile Indians, and were close upon them a great many times. They were attacking settlements all around us, killing the settlers and driving off stock.” But the company did not see a single Indian. (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, an Apostle, 2d ed., Salt Lake City: Stevens and Wallis, 1945, p. 429).How did the priesthood bless and strengthen their family? We are modern day pioneers whose lives can be blessed and strengthened by the Priesthood! Break into groups and tell them that a wagon is going to be coming along. Have them discuss what is on the wagon and any personal experiences they'd like to share. Any scripture stories they can think of that involve it too! How does it strengthen family?
THIS wonderful talk by Elder Oaks)
Rotate the wagons between groups!! Have children share some interesting things they learned at the end! Bear testimony that you know the Priesthood can bless and strengthen our families!!
*This is a longer quote, but a GREAT one!!! From President Faust, full talk HERE:
"Priesthood blessings can help us in the small and great decisions of our lives. If, through our priesthood blessings, we could perceive [see] only a small part of the person God intends us to be, we would lose our fear and never doubt again.
As a small boy, I remember being intrigued [interested] by my grandmother’s magnifying glass which she used in her old age to read and do needlework. When the glass was in focus, everything I looked at was greatly magnified [made larger]. But I was most intrigued by what happened when the lens concentrated the sunlight on an object. When it passed through the magnifying glass, the sunlight’s power was absolutely amazing.
Blessings strengthen and magnify us. In the Church, blessings are available to all who are worthy through those authorized to give priesthood blessings. Worthy fathers and grandfathers, as well as other Melchizedek Priesthood holders, may give blessings to members in times of sickness and when important events occur. Such individual blessings are part of the continuous revelation that we claim as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Like the images in my grandmother’s magnifying glass, [through priesthood blessings] we can become stronger, our talents and ability can be magnified and multiplied, our understanding can be greatly enlarged, and our spirituality can flower."
Play a game of hide the magnifying glass. Bring in a magnifying glass and invite someone to answer a question or read a scripture about the priesthood. After have another person go outside. When they come back in, sing a song about the priesthood and when they are close to it, sing louder. When they are far away sing it softer. Repeat!!
* HERE is a wonderful video about how Priesthood strengthens the family. It's from the 2013 Worldwide Leadership Training. Some of the language would definitely be harder for the little children to understand, but there are so many beautiful images. You could easily stop the video along the way to ask children where they see examples of the Priesthood blessing families! Count how many examples you see!
Week 4 Heavenly Father wants me to marry in the temple and have an eternal family.
* One of the most fun singing times we had was when I gathered some "love" stories for the Sunday before Valentine's Day. I briefly read the story and the children had to guess who's family it might be. I got pictures emailed to me of their wedding day and then showed the children. In my email to people in the ward I asked them to answer 2 things:
1. Why did you choose to be married in the temple?
2. How did you meet and fall in love?I did preface the activity though that not all friends have moms and dads and that's OK. Not all friends have moms and dads that were married in the temple. No one here should ever feel bad!! God is good and we don't need to worry about things that we can't control!! But we will have control about the choices WE make!! And we should make the choice to get married in the temple like the stories I'm about to share!!
In between stories we sang songs about the temple and families! I think we had time for about 4-5 stories.
* Have a bunch of temple pictures throughout the room. Invite a child to come up front and stand by a temple they might like to get married at. Discuss the location of that temple. There are currently around 140 temples!! HERE is a gallery of all the pictures of all the temples. That's a lot of different places you can go to get married! HERE are some questions about the Temple and answers.
* HERE is some good information about why we build temples and the history of temples throughout the ages.
* Read D&C 131:1-4 "In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase."
Sketch out the plan of salvation. Many children might not know that the Celestial Kingdom has 3 degrees in it! Ask the children to listen very carefully one more time to the scripture and then answer How does a man or woman enter the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom?