Monthly Theme: The Family is Central to God's Plan
Monthly Scripture: "Marriage between a man and woman is ordained of God and... the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." The Family: A Proclamation to the World
Week 1 The family is central to God's plan.
* Play a game of PLASTIC darts! (Or some type of game where there is a bull's-eye! You could even have a taped circle on the ground with the word family in the middle... and have children throw a bean bag to see how close they can get to the central point!) Divide the primary into groups and give them different examples of families from the scriptures. Have them discuss the stories of these families, what they did to be happy or unhappy families, and what we can do to make sure our families are eternal! After a few minutes, invite 3 members of the group to share what they talked about and throw the dart!
* “The family unit is fundamental … to our hope for eternal life. We begin to practice in the family, the smaller unit, what will spread to the Church and to the society in which we live in this world"
President Eyring "The Family" Ensign, Feb. 1998, 18
Have a bowl of water and a small stone. What is a ripple effect? Have a child drop the pebble in and show that at the start of the pebble dropping, waves and ripples spread out to the end of the bowl.
What we do in our family is like that pebble and spreads out into the world as President Eyring said! In fact, it even spreads into eternity if we work hard enough!!
Have a bucket full of pebbles, have some painted a different color with a number on it. Invite a child to pick a pebble. Have questions, songs, or scriptures having to do with family that correspond with the number. 10 should be about right. After they answer the question or you sing the song as a primary, have them drop it in the bowl of water to see the ripple effect!!
* "Carefully observing and.... living in accordance with righteous family patterns on earth is at the core of our quest to know the Father. Heavenly Father and family are inseparably connected."
Elder Quentin L Cook The Doctrine of The Father Ensign Feb. 2012 Such a great talk! Highly recommend reading it!
Bring in a stuffed animal and about 10 paper apple cores. We have a little friend today who wants to know all about families! Hasselhoff the horse! What is the central part of an apple? Or it's middle part? The core!! Like Elder Cook said, the core to knowing the father is understanding families!! Families are central to Heavenly Father's plan!!
Hide the cores throughout the room and invite a primary friend to take Hasselhoff (or whoever your stuffed animal friend is) to find a core. Have scriptures, songs, and questions having to do with families on the cores! Make your questions GOOD questions!! Too simple of questions like- are families important? or Should we be good in our family? are a waste. These sweet children are smart!! Yes or No answers can sometimes be too easy and create boredom.
What are 3 things you should do in your family to make sure you can be an eternal family?
Name 4 different places you can go to start an eternal family. (They'll have to name 4 different
Was there family in the premortal world? How do we know? (Yes, because we have a Heavenly
Father and a Heavenly Mother and the scriptures say we are His children.)
If children get stuck, have them call on another primary friend to help them!
* "The family is the primary support structure in God’s plan to help us resist evil, overcome weakness, and work out our salvation. For this reason we should do all we can to strengthen the family..." From the Dec. 2004 Liahona Article "Strengthening the Family: The Family is Central to the Creator's Plan found HERE
Bring in some legos!! If you have quite a few legos , divide into bags for groups. Can we build things if we don't have a good base? A good base is what gives the tower good support so it doesn't fall over!! Have the children brainstorm in their groups experiences when they have felt the importance of family. When have they had happy family memories? What can they do to make sure their family is eternal? Have them build something with their legos in their group as they share. Make sure there is a strong base!! After a few minutes, have a couple children from the group come up front and share something they discussed as well as the thing they built!!
Week 2 Parents have important responsibilities in the family.
* Mothers! Fathers! LIVE!! Welcome the Primary children to our live taping of the TV Show Mothers! Fathers! LIVE!! Today we will be having future successful mothers and fathers sharing with us what we need to know about the important responsibilities parents have in the family!!! (You could even have a little fancy hat and shawl for the mother and a suit jacket for the dad if they'd like) Delegate a child to be the camera man (a box made to look like a video camera) and have a microphone (toilet paper tube with foil on the end in the shape of a ball). Have 3 chairs up front.
Have a bag of topics for the children to draw out and talk about. For example, some topics could include education, family home evening, work, chores, church, bed time, etc. What are some ways you as a future dad can help at bed time if they are home? Read a book and tell everyone to gather for family prayer! Great answer! What about you as a future mom? Tuck us in and sing a primary song! Good thinking! Remember there is no set in stone answer because every family is different!!
This idea focuses on the children drawing from their own experiences at home but ultimately putting the answer of what they will personally do when they are parents! Thus, if their home life isn't the traditional mother/father, they don't have to feel bad.
* HERE is a lesson from Teachings of Brigham Young. In it, he says, "Parents should never drive their children, but lead them along, giving them knowledge as their minds are prepared to receive it."
Have a simple path drawn on the chalk board with spaces. Have a picture of a family holding hands with their child. Add a magnet to the back of the family so it can move easily on the chalk board. Parents don't push their children around!! We hold hands and parents lead us along, just like in the song I am a Child of God. (Which you could then sing!)
Let children roll a dice. Whatever number they roll they can move, but they also have to name that many responsibilities parents have in the family!! Make sure you make your own list so you can help "prompt" answers.
For example, a child gets stuck... you respond, What about school? How can parents help you when you are at school all day? (Possible answers, they give us rides or walk us to school, they help with homework, they read to us and teach us the importance of reading and math, maybe parents are students themselves and set a good example with the education they have received)
For the end, have a picture of Jesus. Parents have important things they need to do to help families be eternal!!!
* Do you need some specific examples of what moms and dads are supposed to do? HERE is the Gospel Principles Chapter: Family Responsibilities with plenty of those specifics. I really like the quote "....Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners” The Family: A Proclamation to the World
A good demonstration would be to have a couple heavy books. Is it fair to have one person carry all the books all the time? Give one book to one child and another book to another child. It's easier when we share the load!!
* Have a few guests come in (with the bishop's approval)!! You can divide into groups and rotate through the guests (2 moms, 2 dads... each separate). At each "station" that adult talks about some of the important responsibilities they have and maybe a funny story (with a visual) having to do with responsibility. Have each adult share a favorite scripture about parenting with the children. If you have 4 adults, you'll need to rotate every 2-3 minutes.
At the end, thank the guests and bear testimony.
Week 3 Children have the responsibility to obey their parents.
* HERE is an interview for children to ask their parents from The Friend. (It would be a good handout to take home) The article also says, "In 1974, the First Presidency stated: “Honoring your parents by living a good life and by showing them that you love and appreciate them are gifts that last forever. To your earthly mother and father and to your Heavenly Parents, you are their most valuable treasure. Their love and concern for you never ends” (Friend, Dec. 1974, 3).
Have the children make "YES!! I will!!!" bags. (Brown paper bags are just fine!) The children take squares of paper and draw or write things that they can do this week to be obedient to parents! Have them add a bow as a gift they can give to parents!!
* "The commandment to honor our parents has strands that run through the entire fabric of the gospel." Elder Dallin H. Oaks "Honor They Father and Thy Mother" April 1991 Ensign HERE
Make a simple paper weaving together!! Cut the paper and then have a child come up front to weave a strand in. (Younger children will have to have another adult or older child help them while you continue with the lesson)
* HERE is a story about a little boy who decides NOT to be obedient to his mom. There really is no point in me sharing this other than the fact that I would be the mom who laughs (instead of having tears in her eyes, unless they are tears from laughing)... then tells my kid to suck it up because you never know where you'll serve your mission.
* Demonstrate the importance of following a recipe. For example, if you have some lemonade mix you need to add sugar... not salt. If you decide not to follow the recipe what happens? Is there a brave soul who would like to try the salt lemonade?
Obedience, following the Savior, will bring sweet happy results. Not obeying will bring bitterness and unhappiness. We have been commanded to obey our parents. Christ showed us the way as He obeyed Heavenly Father. Sometimes obeying our parents is hard, even Christ said, "Let this bitter cup pass" but He knew the importance of following Father and said, "Not my will, but thine be done." Sometimes things are hard, but Heavenly Father will make it all worth it if we are obedient because He loves us very much.
Invite the children to make a recipe for obedience and share!! Here is an example I made on power point. You can take a blank paper and have them draw a picture of something they can do to be obedient at home. Please be aware of your children. If they don't have a mother or father at home, parents means whoever is taking care of them and loving them.
Week 4 I can show love to each member of my family.
* Secret Service Spies!!! Bring in a spy kit: magnifying glass, binoculars, trench coat, hat, flashlight, watch, sunglasses, compass, feather duster, envelopes with paper....
Times are tough and there are many who want families to be unhappy! It was the same in the Book of Mormon, Zeniff and his people were not safe from the hatred of the Lamanites "But I had sent my spies out round about the land of Shemlon, that I might discover their preparations, that I might guard against them, that they might not come upon my people and destroy them." Mosiah 10:7
We need modern day spies too!! Boys and girls who are brave and willing to spy out opportunities to serve within the family!! In doing so, families will be strong and eternal!!
Let children come up front and choose spy gear and discuss:
Magnifying glass- We need to look really closely at family members. We need to do small things to help each other. What are some small things we can do for others?
Binoculars- We need to constantly/always be looking for opportunities to make each other happy!! Am I looking carefully to see the needs of others before my own, or am I too busy playing video games? What is something I can do less of this week to make more time for service to my family?
Trench Coat- We put on our coat and hide in the shadows. Does service always have to go noticed? Do we need to make a big fuss about it, or can we be sneaky? Matthew 6:4 says, "That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."
Hat- A spy hat always helps our minds think!! Sometimes service can be something that happens or sometimes we can think about and plan out a service idea! What would be a BIG service for your family that you might have to plan out?
Flashlight- John 5:35 "He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light." Who is the ultimate light? Jesus! What were some things He did in His family to show love?
Watch- No matter what time of the day or night, we can show love and service. Aha! You say! What if we're sleeping? Well what if a little brother needs a hug and is scared of the dark. What if you are tired and annoyed that he is crying and you can't sleep? How could you show love! What about at breakfast time or family home evening time?
Sunglasses- Be prepared. Once service has started in a home, the happiness can become very bright and you'll need sunglasses to see through all the brightness to keep on finding ways to serve.
Compass- Do you need directions to find your way? The scriptures are our compass. One of the greatest ways to show love in a family, is to sit down together and read our scriptures! Can the children find a way to fit in an extra 10 verses of scriptures this week with families?
Feather Duster- Dusting for fingerprints and finding clues is important to spy work. A big way to show love is to help clean up. You might find a clue that your sister dumped out the box of barbies... it would be easy to ignore or make your sister feel bad... however, a secret service spy would do what?
Envelopes with Paper- If there is time, have children draw or write out a secret service mission plan for the week! Have them come up with ideas for ways to show love at home and then of course do it!
* Write or draw thank you notes to members of our family!
* Have children cut out hearts and write nice things about family members on them. Have them hide the hearts throughout the week where family members can find!
* One of my favorite singing times is when I had a garage sale for good singing. I just went through junk in my house and brought it to primary and the children could choose 1 thing to take home. We have allergies in our primary, so we don't do treats. Teachers had a great time and said to let them know so they could clear out some things in their homes too! I know that you can never have too much singing! If you sings some songs about families, love, and service... after each song you can reverently invite a couple children to come up and get something to GIVE to a family member!! Have another adult help with paper bags to wrap/stuff the item in. I always tell the children that they have to choose quickly, because at a garage sale if you take your time, someone else will swipe up the bargain! If someone chooses something you were looking at, remember it's not a big deal! There are other fun things to give! Have them raise their hands if they can agree that it's not a big deal if someone else chooses something you were looking at. OK! All hands are raised and we're ready to show some love for our family!