Sing a Song of Discipline

It happened one day as I found myself yelling and threatening the children for the umpteenth time—with no positive results. The children, ages 3 and 4, had become mother-deaf; and I, the mother, was frustrated with the idea of teaching kindness and love when I felt neither. There had to be an answer to my dilemma. But what?

That afternoon as I prepared the songs for Primary singing time, I thought of how much my own mother had sung as she worked around the house when I was growing up. It made my childhood home such a happy place—quite a contrast to the mood of my own home at the present time. Then the impression came to me that maybe my calling as Primary chorister could help with the problem of disciplining the children.

The next time the children started quarreling, I fought back an urge to get angry and started singing, “Jesus said love everyone; treat them kindly, too. When your heart is filled with love, others will love you.” Both children stopped quarreling and looked up in happy surprise. Mother was singing!

From then on it seemed that minor disputes could be handled with songs. “Kindness Begins with Me,” “Be Happy, Sings the Little Bird,” “Beautiful Words of Love,” and many other songs found their way into our lives. When neighbor children would begin a quarrel, I could hear our three-year-old start to sing, “I Want to Be Kind to Everyone,” and I knew that a positive attitude was forming in our home. And besides that, the children knew more Primary songs than ever before!

The high point of the experience came one day as a neighbor child was playing at our house and became upset with our children. He jumped up from the circle of play, pointed his finger at them, and broke into the song, “Little Bunny Foo Foo, I don’t like your attitude.” Here was a new song to be learned, and the quarrel was over.

There are still times when talking has to be done, but young children seem to respond better to songs. You’ve heard the saying, “A stitch in time saves nine”; in our home, we have found that “A song in time saves a lot of quarreling.” Margery A. Small, Brigham City, Utah

Family Puppets

Storytelling can be made more fun and effective through the use of puppets. Simple puppets can be made to represent story characters or even members of the family. Each puppet should have one distinguishing feature such as hair, glasses, or a mustache to identify the person it is to represent. The rest of the face should be blank.

Then all kinds of different facial features and expressions can be made out of felt, backed with a bit of Velcro. Small pieces of Velcro should also be glued or sewn on each puppet for eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. As the story is told, the various expressions can change to fit the tale. Even very young children can enjoy using this imaginative means of bringing their stories to life. Marge Pack Ericksen, Omaha, Nebraska

I Know I’m an LDS Daddy When …

… I hear our four-year-old daughter sing the Father’s Day program songs a little bit louder and a little bit flatter than the other kids.

… I sit in tithing settlement and watch the bishop give our six-year-old son a computer printed receipt marked “full tithe payer”—in the amount of 16¢.

… I bless our four-week-old baby, using a microphone, and no one can hear me because she’s louder.

… during family home evening my five-year-old reprimands me for not being reverent because I kissed my wife on the cheek during the opening song.

… I hear our six-year-old in an argument with one of his friends saying, “My dad goes to more meetings than your dad!”

… I find out our seven-year-old daughter had the bishop (who is also her dentist) pull out her loose tooth in the hallway after Sunday School.

… I ask our four-year-old what she learned in Primary today and she proudly announces that she learned that the president of the United States is Spencer W. Kimball.

… our six-year-old bears his testimony on fast Sunday and the first thing he’s thankful for is his dog.

… our Sunday School teacher begins explaining how we should all strive to develop our talents just as our two-year-old climbs up on the bench and begins to play the piano.

… our four-year-old daughter wants to know, since we have a “Book of Mornin’,” if we also have a “Book of Afternoon.”

… I tuck them in bed, and I look at their precious faces, and they say, “I love you, Daddy,” and I realize that we are each other’s forever. Lawrence Heywood, Covina, California

[illustrations] Illustrated by Phyllis Luch