Have you ever wanted a toy, a game, or a piece of sports equipment so much that you asked for it over and over again, and even imagined how happy you would be playing with it? If you finally got it, was it everything you expected? Were you disappointed? Did you tire of playing with it? Did it break or wear out? Sometimes we think that having things will make us happy, but lasting happiness does not come from that.
Happiness often comes, however, from doing something kind or thoughtful for someone else. Have you ever planned a special surprise for a friend or family member? Wasn’t it fun! Have you ever worked hard to give someone a gift that you knew he would like? Wasn’t it exciting! Have you ever helped a younger child do something that he couldn’t do by himself? Or spent time with someone who needed your love and attention. The happy feelings that come when we love and serve others can stay with us for a long, long time.
The thirteenth article of faith helps us remember that “We believe in … doing good to all men.” When we do good to others, we receive great happiness.
Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” You could say that it will make you happier to give than to receive.
Instructions: Mount or trace the gift box pattern on a heavier sheet of paper.
Decorate or color the pattern, then cut it out along the solid lines. Punch out the two holes. Fold the sides and the tabs along the dotted lines. Glue the top and bottom tabs together.
Think of a family member or friend you would like to surprise with a special gift of time and love. Write down what you will do for that person on one of the gift slips. Slide the slip through one of the side openings in the gift box. Thread a piece of string through the holes at the top, and tie the ends together. Now your gift box is ready to hang on the tree or give away. You may use this gift box as a pattern and cut out many others from heavy gift wrapping or wallpaper.
Talk to the children about giving gifts of time, love, and service to others. Divide into classes. Roll out large sheets of butcher paper, newspaper roll ends, or freezer paper. With a large, blunt crayon, trace around each child to create a full body silhouette. Let each child cut out his own silhouette and then draw in his own face. On the back of each silhouette, glue a small note with these words: This year I give the gift of self—my smile, my love, my help. Fold each silhouette carefully, and tie it up with a piece of yarn or ribbon. You could also use paper plates and let each child draw his own face on the front of the plate.
Collect and bring to Primary a wheelchair, a walker, a blindfold, a book in Braille, a brace, crutches, and a cane. Pictures of such items could be used. Sing “I’ll Walk with You” (Children’s Songbook, p. 140). Explain to the children some of the conditions under which a friend, family member, or neighbor might need to use the equipment. Talk about the kind of help, patience, and understanding each child could show to an individual using that equipment. If there is a child in the Primary who is currently using any of the equipment, give him a chance to express what kind of help is welcome. Be sensitive. Divide into groups and let each child have a chance to maneuver a wheelchair through a doorway, climb a stair with a brace on, open a door while using a walker, read a book written in Braille, etc.
Prepare a group of questions to test the children’s understanding of the principles taught in the Articles of Faith. Bring a large bag of building blocks to Sharing Time. Have the children sit in a circle. Spin a bottle, or draw names, to determine who gets to answer each question. When a question is answered correctly, stack a block on a pile in the center of the circle. Work together to see how high the stack of blocks can grow before it tumbles.
Prepare a list of the gifts Heavenly Father and Jesus have given us, and write them on separate slips of paper. Place each slip of paper in a box, then wrap the boxes as presents. Number each box, and write on it a clue to help the children discover the gift mentioned inside. Place the boxes all around the room. Give each child a paper and pencil. Have them walk around, look at the boxes and the clues, and write down what they think is in each box. After they are seated again, open each box. Discuss the gifts they have been given by Heavenly Father and the kinds of gifts they can give in return. Younger children would enjoy looking at pictures of things God has placed on the earth for them.
Have, in a paper bag, a collection of small items familiar to a young child. As you pull out the items, talk about gifts of love and kindness the children could perform in their homes using the items. For example, a toy—you can pick up your toys; clothing—you can put away your clothing; a picture book—you can help a younger brother or sister look at a picture book; a picture of a smiling child—you can be cheerful and happy.
Invite two or three good storytellers from your ward to visit Sharing Time. Have each share a personal story that will encourage the children to “do good to all men.”