Artwork Brian Kershisnik - Ten Lepers Healed
Monthly Theme: We Are To Thank God In All Things
Monthly Scripture: "He commanded them that... every day they should give thanks to the Lord their God" Mosiah 18:23
Week 1 I am thankful for my body, and I know that it is a temple.
* Invite an adult to come up front. Have a large stack of post it notes and invite children to talk about why they are thankful for their bodies. Using good judgement, select body parts like eyes, ears, mouth, elbows, knees, hair on head, heart, stomach, feet, fingers... and have the children say a reason how that part of the body helps us. Write it down on the post it and YOU stick it to the adult. Our bodies are covered head to toes in blessings. Now take the post it's and make a temple on the chalkboard. (4 on bottom, 3 on next level centered, 1 on next in middle, 1 on next in middle, 1 on next in middle) I am thankful for the blessings of my body and I know that it is a temple!!
* Have some pictures of temples, children, church houses, malls... invite children to come up front and hold the pictures. Those with pictures of temples need to stand by the piano. Did the pictures of the children move over there too? “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? … The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17)
Have a basket of good things for your body: fruit, clothes, medicine, scriptures, good book, little weight... Have children come up front and choose things that are good for our temples out of the basket. Have them tell why they are good for our bodies and a reason that they are thankful for their body.
* Bring in a mirror and invite a child to come up front and fill in the blank of this sentence from the last General Conference, "Each time you look in the mirror, see your body as _________________".
The answer is A TEMPLE!!! (From Decisions for Eternity by Elder Nelson Oct. 2013)
Have about 8 different paper mirrors with tinfoil, numbered. Let children find them throughout the room and then read corresponding quotes from Elder Nelson's mentioned talk and questions.
1. "My professional years as a medical doctor gave me a profound respect for the human body. Created by God as a gift to you, it is absolutely amazing! Think of your eyes that see, ears that hear, and fingers that feel all the wondrous things around you." What is one of your favorite things to see?
2. "Your brain lets you learn, think, and reason." What is something you enjoy learning about?
3. "Your heart pumps tirelessly day and night, almost without your awareness." Can you put your hand over your heart and feel it beat?
4. "Your body protects itself. Pain comes as a warning that something is wrong and needs attention. Infectious illnesses strike from time to time, and when they do, antibodies are formed that increase your resistance to subsequent infection." Why should we be grateful for pain and sickness?
5. "Your body repairs itself. Cuts and bruises heal. Broken bones can become strong once again. I have cited but a tiny sample of the many amazing God-given qualities of your body." When is a time you were hurt and healed?
6. "Stellar spirits are often housed in imperfect bodies.11 The gift of such a body can actually strengthen a family as parents and siblings willingly build their lives around that child born with special needs." How can we show others love who don't have bodies that are like ours?
7. "Because your body is the temple for your spirit. And how you use your body affects your spirit." How does the word of wisdom help or hurt our spirits?
8. "The aging process is also a gift from God, as is death. The eventual death of your mortal body is essential to God’s great plan of happiness.12 Why? Because death will allow your spirit to return home to Him." If we treat our bodies like temples, make good choices and repent... will we be prepared to meet Heavenly Father?
Challenge the children each time they look in the mirror to remember their body is a temple!!
* HERE is a fun little muscle man for children to put together from The Friend.
* HERE is a great article from The Friend. It has a story of how President Kimball kept his inner temple bright! If you had a stuffed cow, you could pass it around while you sing My Body is a Temple (CS 153). When the music stops children can say a way to keep their temple bright or a reason why they are thankful for their body/temple.
Week 2 I am thankful for temporal blessings.
* The dictionary defines temporal as "relating to earthly life". Separate into groups and give each group a picture of the earth. Let them brainstorm blessings they are thankful for that are temporal, having to do with earthly life! After about 5 minutes, have each group share one blessing at a time. Count the blessings!! Tally them one by one!! If other groups got the same answer, then give additional tallies for that answer. See how many tallies you can get as a primary. End your sharing time by singing Count Your Many Blessings (Hymns 241).
* Have some stapled paper and make booklets for the children. These can be "Gratitude Journals" for the upcoming month. They can start today by listing (or drawing) things that they are thankful for in the pages.
"There are two little words in the English language that perhaps mean more than all others, they are thank you." President Hinckley Ensign Jan. 2001
This will be our Thank You book to Heavenly Father as we think about and are grateful for all that He has given us!
* A lot of children do this at home, but a lot don't. You can have a turkey and a bunch of blank feathers. The children add things they are thankful for to the feathers, then add to the turkey. You could give to the Bishop to hang in his office for the month.
November is a month we think about Thanksgiving feasts and turkeys.... but gratitude is something we should keep in our hearts always!
Ephesians 5:20 "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"
* If you take an egg carton, cut, paint blue and green... you have little earth halves. Make about 5.
Like so. Have the children name a temporal blessing they are thankful for. Write it down on a tiny piece of paper. Then have them put it under one of the earths. Switch them around and invite another friend to come find the blessing. If they can find it, have them share another temporal blessing they are thankful for and then hide it. Repeat and try to get as many children up as possible! Invite the children to do the activity at home with families!
Week 3 I am thankful for spiritual blessings.
* Gifts of the spirit can be a little confusing. Make sure you know what you are talking about by reading THIS!!! Gospel Principles Chapter 22!!
* Have your primary pianist come up and wear a sign that says, "Great Apostasy". What does apostasy mean? Have her also hold an envelope and take it away from her. What was taken away from the earth during the apostasy? Thank her for her help and for the wonderful job she does playing the piano every week. We know that truth was taken away from the earth... and so was something else! Gifts of the spirit! See HERE for more information.
We have some tricky questions that our wonderful primary pianist has at the piano. Have a child come up to the piano and choose a question about spiritual blessings.
Some questions could include:
If you are a faithful member of the church, at least how many spiritual gifts does Heavenly Father give you? (at least 1, but often times more)
What are some gifts of the spirit? Have friends with scriptures look up 1 Corinthians 12:1–12, or Moroni 10:8–18.
How does our Patriarchal blessing help us understand spiritual blessings?
What can you do to seek spiritual blessings? D&C 46:7, 9, 30–33
How many spiritual blessings does Article of Faith #7 talk about?
* Do the classic demonstration of the glove and hand. The glove is our body. The spirit is our hand. Does the glove move without the hand? Our bodies live because of our spirits! Last week we talked about temporal blessings, these often have to do with our bodies and earthly life. Hold up the glove and have the children come up with 5 blessings, one for each finger.
This week, we'll talk about spiritual blessings. After a short lesson, have the children trace their hands on paper and write or draw some spiritual blessings on their paper.
* THIS TALK is a must read for the week. It is explicitly clear on what Spiritual Gifts are. It is entitled "Spiritual Gifts" by Elder Oaks (Ensign Sept. 1986)
I like the fact that he mentioned, not everyone gets the same gifts. You could have children with brown hair stand up. Now children with blue eyes stand up. All girls please stand up. We're all different and have been given different bodies! It's the same with our spirits. Our spirits are different from each other and we all have different spiritual gifts! (D&C 46:11)
For Senior Primary, you could even give each child copies of the talk and highlighters, then have them highlight all the spiritual blessings they can find!
* HERE is a spiritual gift chain that children can make from The Friend.
* Invite a child to come up to the front. Ask them if they have ever seen their own heart? How do they know their heart is there if they've never seen it? We don't see our spirits, but we know our spirits are real. It's the same with spiritual blessings. We often don't see them, but we feel them and have a sure knowledge of them.
Have about 3-4 different stories, all about different spiritual gifts for the children to rotate and hear. Divide into 3-4 groups. Have the person tell/share the story, not necessarily read it. They could even dress up to act out a part in the story. Each story should be about 2-3 minutes.
Some great stories:
The gift of tongues- The Lord Took Over (A Missionary is able to teach the gospel, even though he didn't know the language)
The gift of Translation- Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon
The gift of Wisdom- Solomon and the story of the 2 woman who claimed to be mother of a baby
The gift of believing the testimony of others- Nephi believed his father Lehi and prayed to know the truth, he ended up having his own vision of the Tree of Life
The gift of faith - The Miracle of the Brick Kiln
We feel gifts of the spirit and get them by the gift of The Holy Ghost. We are thankful for spiritual blessings!
Week 4 We should thank Heavenly Father for all our blessings.
* Have 10 children come up to act out the story of the 10 lepers, give them each a Band-Aid to put on their face. Have a picture of Jesus. When they are healed they can take off their band aid and reverently shout yeah!! Designate 1 of the 10 children to be the one who comes back and says Thank You.
Read Luke 17:11-19
President Monson has said, "Through divine intervention those who were lepers were spared from a cruel, lingering death and given a new lease on life. The expressed gratitude by one merited the Master’s blessing; the ingratitude shown by the nine, His disappointment.
My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love." (Ensign Nov. 2010 Best talk ever a must read HERE!!)
Have little paper band aids (they could be just strips of paper) for children to write/draw things they are thankful for on. Have 9 cups to represent the 9 lepers who didn't say thank you! We can be more grateful than they were and show Heavenly Father how thankful we are for all of His blessings He has given us. See if we can fill up those 9 cups!!
* When it's time for sharing time, leave the room and tell the children to watch how you come back in. Strut yo' stuff!!!!! Walk really exaggerated like you are the most special thing on earth, perhaps even doing a beauty wave or two.
How would you describe that walk? A little prideful maybe??
President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives.”
How do we "walk with a spirit of thanksgiving"? We give thanks to Heavenly Father for all our blessings and do so often!! Have 12 different footprints on the ground labeled with places we can walk with thanksgiving. (Home, School, Grocery Store, Church, Park, Vacation, Garden, Temple, Family Home Evening, Friend's house, Library, etc.) Bring in 2 dice and let the children roll, to walk that many footprints. Once they land on one, they can name a blessing they are thankful for there from Heavenly Father... for example if they land on School, "I am grateful for safety and good teachers." or Family Home Evening, "I am grateful to be able to share testimonies as a family together."
* President Joseph F. Smith has said, “The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life.” He continued: “Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!”Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. (1939), 263.
Bring in a super big pair of glasses, they sell them at the Dollar store. Have children come up front and wear the glasses to look for things that they can be grateful for. Hide items throughout the room that represent blessings Heavenly Father has given us.
We don't need really big glasses to see our blessings do we? We just need to have grateful hearts and let Heavenly Father know how much we appreciate all He does for us!
* Have the children look up some scriptures on how Jesus showed gratitude to Heavenly Father.
(All examples taken from an awesome talk by Elder Hales... love you Bob... found HERE)
Giving thanks before Sacrament 1 Cor. 11:23–24 and Mark 14:23
The story of Lazarus, giving thanks for Heavenly Father hearing prayers John 11:33-41
The Loaves and the fishes, thanks for miracles John 6:5–14
Thanks for The Holy Ghost 3 Ne. 19:20–21
Have pictures to go along with each story. Was Jesus a grateful person? Should we be?
Read Alma 34:38. We are commanded to live in thanksgiving daily!!
If possible, give the children a plastic cup and Ziploc bag of small pom poms. Invite them to fill up their cups every night with pom poms. To do so, they must name something Heavenly Father blessed them with that day!
*President Benson said, “The Prophet Joseph said at one time that one of the greatest sins of which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty is the sin of ingratitude. I presume most of us have not thought of that as a great sin. There is a great tendency for us in our prayers and in our pleadings with the Lord to ask for additional blessings. But sometimes I feel we need to devote more of our prayers to expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for blessings already received. We enjoy so much.” (God, Family, Country, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, p. 199.)
Have about 25 frowny faces drawn on a chalk board. We need to erase the sin of ingratitude from our lives!! We can do so, starting today, by coming up with things we are thankful for from Heavenly Father. Once we share how thankful we are, we can come up and erase and draw a smiley face instead!