Name some of your favorite Primary songs. Why did you choose those particular songs? You probably enjoy them because they have a good melody or an important message.
One song that is a favorite for Primary children throughout the world is “I Am a Child of God.” It was written for a Primary conference in 1957 by Sister Naomi W. Randall and Sister Mildred T. Pettit. Sister Randall prayed for help in writing the message. She awoke in the middle of the night with the words of the song in mind. She mailed the words, or lyrics, to Sister Pettit, who lived in California. Sister Pettit put the words to music.
A few years later, President Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, suggested changing “Teach me all that I must know” to “Teach me all that I must do.” He said that “to know isn’t enough. … We have to do something.” (Friend, Oct. 1984, 14.)
In Primary, you learn some important truths when you sing this song. You learn that you really are a child of God. You learn that Heavenly Father has sent you to a home with parents to help you. And, especially, you learn that when you do what is right, you can one day return to live with Heavenly Father.
Cut out the frame on the thick dark line and glue it to heavy paper or lightweight cardboard. Fold under the strip at the bottom as a stand for the frame. Decorate it by cutting out the items—or drawing other items—that show things you like to do or want to do, then gluing the items to the frame. Attach a picture—or draw one—of yourself in the middle of the frame. Place it where it will remind you that you are a child of God and have been blessed with many talents.
(Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook (CS) unless otherwise indicated; GAK = Gospel Art Kit; TNGC = Teaching, No Greater Call)
1. Display pictures of some of the children in your Primary. Tell how each child is different—and special. Testify of each child’s divine nature.
Help the children memorize Articles of Faith 1:7 by writing it on the chalkboard. Have the children repeat it, then choose a child to erase one or two words. Continue the process until no words remain on the chalkboard.
Discuss various talents and personality traits, such as being good at athletics, music, or art; being friendly; being kind. Have the children stand in a circle. Choose one child to be “It.” The child who is It tosses a beanbag or other item to someone standing in the circle and calls out a talent such as “athletics,” then counts quickly to 10. The child who catches the beanbag must name an athletic talent, such as “playing soccer,” before It reaches 10; if not, he or she becomes It. Sing “I Am a Child of God” (pp. 2–3).
2. Have the children suggest people from the scriptures whom they admire, such as Moses, Daniel, David, Esther, Paul, Nephi, Alma. Write the list on the chalkboard. Divide the children into groups and allow them to choose one of the people from the list and dramatize a story from the life of that person (see TNGC, 166). As they take turns presenting their dramatization, allow the Primary to guess which person’s story is being portrayed. After each presentation, discuss the qualities of nobleness and greatness shown by the scripture person. Sing songs that talk about these qualities. Read Abr. 3:22–23. Bear testimony that all of these scripture people were among those who were chosen in pre-earth life. Moreover, each child was also “chosen before [he or she] wast born.” Challenge the children to live their lives like the noble and great people in the scriptures.
3. Review the stages of our lives in the plan of salvation with the children. Make wordstrips of the various parts of the plan, or make copies of the figures from Primary 6 manual, Lesson 1, p. 2. Place the wordstrips around the room. Have children locate a wordstrip or figure, then stand in the correct order.
Use simple costumes to have additional children represent a mother, father, and grandparent. Place this family in front of the Earth Life sign. Choose another child to stand in front of the Premortal Life sign. Sing “I Lived in Heaven” (p. 4). Discuss the blessings of coming to an earthly family. Have the child move from Premortal Life to the family in front of Earth Life. Have the mother place a baby blanket around the child to show the love that a family provides. Sing “A Happy Family” (p. 198).
Explain that part of the plan is to leave earth life. Move the grandparent from Earth Life to Spirit World and talk of the sadness the family feels because the grandparent is no longer with them, but of the peace they feel in knowing that his or her spirit lives on. Sing “Families Can Be Together Forever” (p. 188). Discuss the role the Savior plays in the plan of salvation. Have a child hold a picture of Jesus Christ in front of the Resurrection sign. Sing an Easter song. Discuss how each child can qualify for the celestial kingdom as he or she chooses the right. Sing v. 4 of “I Am a Child of God” (pp. 2–3).
Bear testimony of your love and appreciation for the Savior.
4. Help the children understand the qualities they have because they are sons and daughters of God. Obtain two objects that are similar, yet different, such as different-size balls, differently colored books, and types of shoes. Also locate a picture of a child and a picture of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, such as The First Vision (GAK 403). Hide the objects and the pictures in the room before sharing time. Have children take turns locating the objects and pictures and then matching them. Discuss how the balls, although different in size or color or purpose, also have similarities. They are round, they roll, they bounce, etc. Discuss the other objects. Discuss the differences and similarities the children have with Heavenly Father and the Savior.
Review some of the Savior’s qualities and what each child might do to develop these qualities. Divide the Primary into eight groups and give each group one of the following GAK pictures representing His teachings: 208, 212, 213, 216, 217, 218, 221, 226. Have the children review the story on the back of the picture or read the scripture references given there, then decide what quality Jesus taught or exhibited. Have them think of a modern situation in which they could use the same quality. Have the groups take turns presenting their modern situation to the Primary, then showing their picture and telling the story of what Jesus taught or did in that situation. Sing songs that reinforce the principles each group teaches.
Use the same GAK pictures to sing the first verse of “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (pp. 78–79):
“I’m trying to be like Jesus; I’m following in his ways. [208, John the Baptist Baptizing Jesus]
“I’m trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say. [226, Jesus Washing the Apostles’ Feet]
“At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice, [221, The Ten Lepers]
“But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers, [217, Woman at the Well]
“‘Love one another as Jesus loves you. [216, Christ and the Children]
“‘Try to show kindness in all that you do. [218, The Good Samaritan]
“‘Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought, [213, Jesus Healing the Blind]
“‘For these are the things Jesus taught.’” [212, Sermon on the Mount]
Invite the children to share their favorite story about Jesus Christ with their family in family home evening.
For younger children: Hide the GAK pictures listed above in the Primary room before sharing time. Repeating the following process for each picture, have a child locate a picture by giving a clue: move your hands farther apart as he or she gets farther away from the picture, and closer as he or she gets closer to it. Have the child retell the story shown in the picture and discuss what quality Jesus showed or taught. Just as it was easier to find the picture when the child watched and followed your clue, it will be easier to develop qualities that help us to return to Heavenly Father as we watch and follow the Savior’s example. Working with the class teachers, have the children think of a situation in which they could exhibit that quality today. Invite a class to dramatize that situation. Sing a song that reinforces the principle, such as “I’ll Walk with You” (pp. 140–141).
5. Help the children understand that as a child of God, each can help his or her family by having an understanding heart. Briefly share the story about Solomon, who desired to be a good king and asked God for an understanding heart (see 1 Kgs. 3:5, 9–12). Discuss what it means to have an understanding heart.
On paper hearts, write some case studies (see TNGC, 161–162) of family situations, such as 1) A younger brother hurt his arm in an accident with your scooter. You have an understanding heart. What can you do? 2) Your mother is late making dinner because she picked up your sister from soccer practice. You have an understanding heart. What can you do? 3) Your friend wants you to play. You see your father working in the yard after a hard day at work. You have an understanding heart. What can you do?
Put the paper hearts into a container. Have the children take turns choosing a situation from the container and then answering it. Sing “Where Love Is” (pp. 138–139).
Have the children make coupons of acts of service they will do for members of their family through the week. A coupon could be given to each family member or placed in a booklet. Have the children share some of their ideas for service, such as make one bed (in addition to the child’s own bed); do the dishes; set the table; baby-sit for an hour; read to a younger child; help with homework.
Sing songs from the CS “Service” listing in the Topics index.
Class presentation: Assign class members to write the situations, find songs, and practice reading aloud 1 Kgs. 3:9–12 for this Idea. Also ask each class member to perform an act of service for someone in his or her family before the presentation. At the conclusion of sharing time, have the class members report on the services they did for their families, what they learned, and how it made them feel. Invite the entire Primary to do something during the week to help a member of their families.
6. Song presentation: Enlarge a picture of a family, then cut the picture into eight horizontal strips. Write one line of each of the four verses of “I Am a Child of God” (pp. 2–3) on the back of each strip. Do not write out the chorus. Place the pieces in random order, with the words facing outward, throughout the room.
Sing the song and have the children join you for the parts they know. Have a child raise her or his hand when she or he has located the correct line of the song, then place it on the front board or wall. Continue singing the song, stopping to re-sing lines or verses if the children are unsure of the words. When the lines are in order, tape it together and reverse it to show the completed picture. Bear testimony that the children are indeed children of God.
Invite members who speak other languages to sing and teach the first verse of “I Am a Child of God” in those languages.
7. Additional Friend resources: “God’s Power Within You,” Jan. 2002, 2–3; “All About Me!” Jan. 2002, 13; “Lacy’s Talent,” Jan. 2002, 42–44; “Spiritual Power of Our Baptism,” Mar. 2000, IFC; “Love at Home,” June 1996, 44–45. Ensign resources: “Gifts of the Spirit,” Feb. 2002, 12–20; “Them That Honour Me I Will Honour,” May 2001, 45–47.