“Do you have a rope?” the man in the boat called out. The man’s family had been fishing when their boat motor stopped. They had no way of getting to shore. Weldon’s dad steered his boat closer. Weldon’s brothers got a long rope and threw one end to the man. When the rope was securely tied to both boats, Weldon’s dad slowly towed the man’s family and their boat to shore.
Looking at the rope, Weldon asked his mom, “Is our rope strong enough to pull the boat?”
“Look closely at the rope,” Mom replied. Weldon could see the rope was made of lots of individual strands twisted together. “When all the strands work together, the rope is strong—just like our family,” Mom said.
Weldon asked, “What do we do to make our family strong?” Mom said he was strengthening their family each time he answered, “I will!” and happily did his assigned jobs or was kind to his brothers and sister.
What are you doing to make your family strong? Do you show love for each family member? Do you answer, “I will!” when asked to help? An important way to have a happy family is to do things together, whether working in the garden or taking a trip.
You can contribute to the happiness in your home. When asked who will help, you can answer, “I will!”
To prepare: Remove page 34 and mount it on heavy paper. Cut out the game board and circles. Make additional game boards for family members as needed. Fill in the blank squares on the boards by writing in each square the words found on each circle (be sure to write the words in different places on each board). Place the circles in a small sack. You will need several small game pieces for each player (buttons, coins, or beans). Place a game piece on the center (free) square of your boards.
To play: Pick a circle from the sack and read it. If a player has the phrase on his or her game board, he or she may cover that square with a game piece. The first player to cover five squares in a row—horizontally, vertically, or diagonally—calls out, “I will!”
FREE SPACE I WILL!
Participate in family activities
Say thank you
Happily do my chores
Pray for my family
Respect others’ property
Hug a family member
Give a compliment
Work with my family
Be a cheerful helper
Say I’m sorry
Obey the prophet
Listen to others
Be a good example
Show love for my family
Plan a family home evening
Read the scriptures
Strengthen my family
Follow Jesus Christ
Honor my parents
Note: If you do not wish to remove pages from the magazine, this activity may be copied, traced, or printed out from the Internet at www.lds.org. Click on Gospel Library.
(Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook unless otherwise noted; GAK = Gospel Art Picture Kit, TNGC = Teaching, No Greater Call.)
1. President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) said: “Thank God for the joys of family life. I have often said there can be no genuine happiness separate and apart from a good home. The sweetest influences and associations of life are there” (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties , 178). We can contribute to the happiness in our homes. Invite the younger children to draw pictures of giving service to a family member. Tape the pictures together, and place them in a roller box (see TNGC, 178–79). (The front of the box could be made to look like a house.) Sing the first verse of “When We’re Helping” (p. 198), and roll the pictures for the Primary to see. At the end of the verse, invite the child whose picture is showing in the box and two other children to act out ways they can be happy helpers in their home. Let the Primary guess what they are doing. Repeat so more children can participate.
2. On a large strip of paper, write “Successful … families are established and maintained on principles of … respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” Cut the sentence into individual words. Hide the words under selected chairs before Primary. Invite the children to look for the words and work together to arrange them. Just as they worked together to arrange the sentence, it is also important to work together in our families.
If possible, sit in a circle and tell the children you are going to play a game to help discover things we can do to strengthen our families. Hold up a wordstrip that says, “I strengthen my family when I __________ .” Fill in the blank with a short phrase that suggests a way to serve, work, or show love to family members (for example, wash the dishes, take care of the baby, say kind words, clean my room, hug my dad). Then hand the wordstrip to a child, and have him or her repeat everything you said, then add his or her own suggestion of what we can do. The child then passes the wordstrip to the next person, with each person continuing to repeat what has been said and adding to it. When the statement becomes too long to remember, start over at the beginning. Encourage the children to strengthen their families this week by doing what they discussed.
3. To introduce September’s theme, give each child a copy of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). Read paragraph seven (beginning with “Happiness in family life is …”) together.
Many Primary songs teach us about the principles in the proclamation. Hold up a picture of your family. Tell the children you will hold up the family picture on a keyword that is found in both the song and the proclamation. Sing the song; then ask the children if they recognize the keyword (or the similar word). Have them locate it in their paragraph and underline it; then write it (or draw a symbol that reminds them of it) on the outside frame of their paper. Discuss one or two ways the children can live the principles taught in the proclamation. Teach them that when we live these principles, we will be happy and our families will be strengthened. Bear testimony with a personal experience, and invite the children to place the proclamation in their homes where it will be a reminder for them. Examples of songs and keywords: 1. “A Happy Family” (p. 198), happy (happiness); 2. “Families Can Be Together Forever” (p. 188), families; 3. “Kindness Begins with Me” (p. 145), kind (respect); 4. “Love One Another” (p. 136), love (compassion); 5. “I Will Follow God’s Plan” (pp. 164–65), work.
Ask the children to share some of their favorite family activities and act them out as you sing “Fun to Do” (p. 253). Have the children underline the words wholesome recreational activities, and use simple figures to draw a favorite family activity on the back of their papers.
4. The following activities could be used as individual sharing times or as one sharing time with the children divided into four groups and rotating between stations. Sing songs about kindness while the children move from group to group.
Group 1: One way we can show love and respect is by speaking kindly to family members. Have a stack of craft sticks (enough for four groups of children) and a garbage can or a paper bag labeled “garbage can.” Ask a child to break one of the sticks. Explain that using “garbage-can words”—words that are inappropriate or hurtful—in our homes can make our families weak like the single stick and more easily broken. We should not use words that hurt family members but should throw those words away. Throw away the broken stick in the garbage can. Explain that we should instead use words that build up and strengthen our families. Ask the children what words strengthen families (“Thank you,” “Please,” “You did great,” “May I help you?” and so on), and let them write them on the sticks. Give each of the children who suggested words or phrases a stick; then gather them up to create a bundle of sticks. Tie them securely together, and ask a child to try to break the bundle. Like the bundle, families are much stronger when family members build each other up by saying kind things to one another.
Group 2: Prepare several small heart cutouts, and write case studies (see TNGC, 161–62) on them that help children see how they can show kindness (for example, “You are leaving to play with a friend and notice your younger brother is crying. What could you do?”). Let the children choose a heart, read and answer the case study, and discuss it. Have the children look up and read John 13:34. Display a picture of a family (Primary 1-5 or 1-7). Each day we have many opportunities to show love and kindness in our families.
Share a personal experience of how showing love and kindness has blessed your family. Leave enough hearts blank so each child can take one home. Each child could draw or write on a heart one thing he or she will do to show love to his or her family during the week.
Group 3: Display a picture of King Benjamin (GAK 307). Let the children sit on a blanket, look up at the picture, and read together King Benjamin’s message to families (see Mosiah 2:1, 5–7; Mosiah 4:13–15, 30).
Have the children play a matching game using duplicates of pictures that depict family togetherness (for example, Primary 1-6, 1-45, 1-51, 1-53, 2-42, 3-25). Place the pictures facedown on the floor. Have the children turn over two at a time to try to make a match. Share an experience of when your family was blessed by following the Church’s counsel for families.
Group 4: This group will need a blackboard or large paper to draw on. Whisper to a child one way we can show love and compassion to a family member (for example, making your sister’s bed, sharing your toys, and so on). Give the child 30 seconds to draw the scene, and allow the group to guess what it is. Choose another child to draw and repeat.
To adapt for groups with younger children, see Sharing Time Ideas, June 1996, 44. Encourage the children to share these activities with their families in family home evening.
5. Other Friend references: “Our Family Garden,” June 2002, 48; “Road to a Happy Family,” May 2002, 24–25; “From Latter-day Prophets: Ezra Taft Benson,” May 2001, inside front cover; “Book of Mormon Story: Jared and His Brother,” June 1996, 48; “Love at Home,” June 1996, 44; “Family Love,” Apr. 1983, 17.