"Trust in the Lord" (Proverbs 3:5-6) by the talented James Johnson, HERE is his website.
I love everything about this picture. It embodies everything about the monthly theme and truly captures the beauty of this journey we are on, Christ always ready to lead us along.
Monthly Scripture: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Week 1 I am a child of God and can be like Him someday.
* Have a basin of water. Have a laminated picture of a toe or foot. Have a laminated picture of a child in a swimsuit.
"When it comes to living the gospel, we should not be like the boy who dipped his toe in the water and then claimed he went swimming. As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we are capable of so much more. For that, good intentions are not enough. We must do. Even more important, we must become what Heavenly Father wants us to be." President Uchtdorf Of Regrets and Resolutions Oct. 2012 (Awesome talk- highly recommend reading!!)
Is dipping our toes in the water going swimming? We are children of God and we can be like Him someday, but we need to work hard!!! Just dipping our toes in is not enough. We need to get in all the way and swim hard!! Have a list of case scenarios and invite a child to come up front. Have them decide whether that person was just dipping their feet in the gospel or swimming to be like Heavenly Father someday!
A few ideas for the case scenarios:
A friend earned $5 for doing chores and decided to buy a toy instead of paying tithing.
A friend had a birthday party to go to on Sunday but chose to go to church instead.
Susie was very tired and decided to go to bed early instead of reading her scriptures.
Arnold decided to only read books with good language in them.
Percy decided to invite a boy to play with him who usually played alone at recess.
Harry always made sarcastic comments.
* Have a nicely decorated table with flowers, crumpets, a teapot, and herbal decaffeinated tea. Wear a robe and crown. In your best British accent invite the children to explain all about royalty. What is a throne? What is an heir? How does one inherit the throne?
We may not be princesses and princes who will rule earthly countries, but we are royal heirs!! (Insert my 9 year old daughter's personal interpretation/rendition of a popular radio song that she felt wasn't teaching it right.... quoting Christina "And yes we are royal! (Royal!) We are children of The King, Our Heavenly Father loves us so... and one day we'll be like Him, if we follow Jesus (Jesus)....We can have eternal life and baby we'll rule (we'll rule, we'll rule, we'll rule) the eternities... I know. I have the most awesome children on earth.)
Have a primary friend read Romans 8:16-17 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
One day we can be like Heavenly Father because we are His children!! Have come slips of paper in your teapot. Invite children to draw a strip of paper and share what Heavenly Father is like:He is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering, and full of goodness (see Psalm 103:6–8)
He does not change, and his course is one eternal round (see D&C 35:1)
He is a God of truth and cannot lie (see Ether 3:11–12)
He is no respecter of persons (see Acts 10:34–35)
God is love (see 1 John 4:8, 16)
He has all power (see Alma 26:35)
He is completely just (see Deuteronomy 32:4)
(These statements are from Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3 HERE)
After the children either read the scripture or statement, ask them how they can be like Heavenly Father in that way? For example, Heavenly Father is slow to anger... what can you do at home to be more patient? Invite others to share their thoughts too!
End with repeating Romans 8:16-17 and bearing testimony that you know we are children of God and can become like Him someday!
* Show the children a picture of a sculpture or an actual sculpture. What do the children think about this work of art?
"Each of us was born with the potential to become like our Heavenly Father. Through our experiences and by properly using our agency, we can turn our lives in the direction of God and become like Him. Or we can be distracted by the world and fail to achieve our potential as it was promised to us. Figuratively, we all have the potential to become beautiful works of art in the Lord’s hands. In this sense, He is the sculptor and He uses a hammer and chisel to mold us through our experiences day by day. If we allow the Lord to shape us, the result will be wonderful."
Becoming a Work of Art
Give the children a chunk of play dough or salt dough for them to make a beautiful work of art. After about 3-4 minutes, invite children up front to share their work and something that we can do to be like Heavenly Father.
Is hard clay easy to work with? We need to make sure that we are not hard hearted and allow Heavenly Father to help us become His beautiful masterpieces!!
Week 2 Heavenly Father provided a Savior and makes it possible for me to return to His presence. &
Week 4 I can return to Heavenly Father by Following Jesus Christ.
I thought the week's themes were very similar, so I combined the ideas, which I don't usually do.
* HERE is a story from The Friend called Finding the Way Back. Read the primary children the story. Have a ball and a bucket for children to gently try to kick the ball into. In the story, Timmy kept kicking the ball farther and farther away from where he needed to be! Invite a child up to try to make a goal and answer a question, read a scripture or sing a song about Heavenly Father provided a Savior and has made it possible for us to return to Him!
Some questions could include: What is the atonement? How can we repent? How did the Savior show us the way back to Heavenly Father? Who has the Father given to us as a gift to help guide us back to Him? When was the plan for a Savior given and did we choose that plan?
* Have about 10 different paper airplanes hidden throughout the room. Have a large picture of Elder Robert D. Hales. Tell the children that he used to be a jet fighter pilot in the US Air Force. In his group of pilots in the Air Force they would paint motto's on the side of their planes to help inspire them. His squadron/group's motto was "Return with Honor". Have a child write that on the board.
What does it mean "Return with Honor" and how is that inspiring?
Elder Hales has said, "This same motto, “Return with Honor,” can be applied to each of us in our eternal plan of progression. Having lived with our Heavenly Father and having come to earth life, we must have determination to return with honor to our heavenly home. How do we return to our Heavenly Father with honor? Just as aircraft pilots must obey certain rules in order to avoid disaster, there are laws, ordinances, and covenants we must understand and obey as we go through this earthly life—this preparatory period—if we are to reach our goal of eternal life." (April 1990 Ensign talk found HERE)
On the paper airplanes have questions, scriptures, and songs having to do with the week's theme. Invite the children to come fly a plane and then do what is says on the inside. Really, if we think about it.... the only reason we can fly home is because Heavenly Father and Jesus provided us the airplanes, map, gas, training... everything!!
* Tell the children the following (The exact words can be found HERE, an Ensign Article by Elder Marvin J. Ashton): A man was once on a train in England. The train conductor was walking around punching travelers tickets and stopped to ask each one "Where is your destination?". Elder Ashton was asked the same question, "Where is your destination?" He replied a small town by name and the conductor said that they would be there in 10 minutes. However, Elder Ashton thought about the question. He needed to go to that place, but there were also many other places he needed to visit after! What does destination mean?? In the journey of life, what is our destination???
"As we pursue our journeys, let us ever bear in mind that in train travel and in life, there are stations, there are departures, calls, schedules, and opportunities for being side-tracked and diverted. Wise is the individual who follows in his, the Savior’s, paths. Safety and joy belong to those who will come and follow him. I bear witness to you today that God is eternal. We are eternal, and God never intended for us to travel alone. What is your destination? I humbly pray our Heavenly Father to help each one of us realize it is eternal life, exaltation in our Father’s kingdom."
Have a train track on the chalkboard with about 10 stops and a bunch of spaces. What could some of these stops in life be?? Perhaps baptism, serving a mission, temple marriage.... all are necessary and goals that will help us to our final destination!! Have a picture of a train with a magnet on the back so you can move it easily. Children can roll the dice to move the train. When they get to a stop, have them answer a question, read a scripture or sing together a song having to do with Jesus and how He has made it possible for us to return to Heavenly Father.
Make sure they reach their final destination!! Eternal Life with Heavenly Father and Jesus!!
Some questions could include: Where did the Atonement of the Savior take place? (Show a picture of the Garden of Gethsemane... but also, as part of the Atonement Jesus had to die, so you can show a picture of Him on the cross... don't be afraid to teach children names of places!!) What are 3 things the Savior did in His life to give us as an example to follow? What can you do to gain a testimony of The Savior? Why did Heavenly Father sacrifice His perfect Son for us- how does that make you feel?
Week 3 Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me to follow.
* Show a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Then show about 5 more. There are lots of recipes out there to make chocolate chip cookies, just like there are lots of good examples of people for us to be like in life. But there is a big difference between chocolate chip cookies and us!! There is only ONE PERFECT example for us to follow and I need all my primary friends to point to a picture in the room of who that PERFECT example is!! That's right!! Jesus!
Let's choose this recipe to make some cookie batter for the Bishop. When we follow a recipe we have to be very careful, or else what can happen to the cookies?? Let children add ingredients when they can correctly identify Gospel Art Book pictures of The Savior's life. What did Christ do in the picture as an example for us to follow?
Our Savior always served others, so let's do some service and have a friend deliver this to the Bishop! Like the outline says, challenge the children to think of a way they can follow The Savior this week!
* Have a large plastic bowl and a wash towel. Tell the children that you are going to read a scripture passage to them and you want them to picture themselves at that place with a bowl of water and wash towel. You can also have a primary friend hold a picture of Jesus washing His disciples feet. It's a longer passage, so make sure when you are reading, you read with expression and move around a little. John 13:1-15 emphasizing the last verse, "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you."
What does this scripture mean? How did you feel as you heard these words? Remind the children that when we have feelings of peace, this is the Holy Ghost confirming truth to us.
Have children write down ways that they can be like Jesus on strips of paper. Have them put them in the bowl. Pass around the wash towel reverently as you sing a song about Jesus. When the music stops, whoever is holding the towel can draw a paper or 2 from the bowl and share what other friends have written.
"Jesus wanted the Twelve—and He wants each of us—to learn that humility and service are worthy characteristics we should seek to obtain. He taught that no one is too important to serve others." Barbara Thompson As I Have Loved You Ensign 2011
* 1 Peter 2: 21 "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps"
Have numbered 1 through 10 footprints cut out and spread out in the room. Invite children to choose a footprint. Have a corresponding numbered Gospel Art Book Picture for the children to look at from the life of The Savior. Invite them to share all they know about that story and what they can do to follow Jesus' example.
When the primary children have found all the footprints, invite them to reverently walk beside the footprints and then back to their chairs as we sing "Come Follow Me" (Hymns 116)
* Sing "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus" (CS 78-79). President Eyring had an experience one time as he watched other children sing this song. He said, " It seemed to me that they were not just singing; they were declaring their determination. Jesus Christ was their example. To be like Him was their fixed goal. And their eager looks and their shining eyes convinced me that they had no doubts. They expected to succeed. They believed that the instruction of the Savior to be perfect was not a hope but a command. And they were sure He had prepared the way.
That determination and confidence can and must be in the heart of every Latter-day Saint. The Savior has prepared the way through His Atonement and His example. And even the children who sang that song knew how.
Love is the motivating principle by which the Lord leads us along the way towards becoming like Him, our perfect example." Our Perfect Example General Conference October 2009Have about 10-12 paper hearts throughout the room with questions, scriptures, and songs having to do with The Savior's example and how we can follow Him. Invite children to choose hearts and participate.