Have you ever held a baby? Did you ever wonder where babies lived before they were born? Did you ever wonder where you lived before you came to your family? The First Presidency explains on the first page of the Faith in God guidebook: “You are a child of God. He is your Heavenly Father. He loves you and cares about you.”
How can you know that Heavenly Father loves you? One way our earthly parents show their love is by providing food and shelter for us. They also teach us to choose the right. Our Heavenly Father has provided us with many things that remind us of His love for us every day—the beautiful earth, the scriptures, the living prophets, and our families. Best of all, He sent Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus Christ, we can return to live with Heavenly Father if we choose the right.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has taught that we can show our love to our Heavenly Father as we speak to Him in prayer and keep His commandments. When we do this, President Hinckley promises: “He will watch over you and guide you and protect you. He will bless you in your schoolwork and in your Primary. He will bless you in your home, and you will be a better boy or girl. … Never forget, my dear young friends, that you really are a child of God who has inherited something of His divine nature, one whom He loves and desires to help and bless” (“You Are a Child of God,” Ensign, May 2003, 119; Friend, May 2003, 6).
Make a crown frame to remind you that you are a child of God. Remove page 17, and attach it to heavy paper. In the frame, attach a mirror or a picture of yourself. Cut out the frame, the slits on the frame, and the crown cutouts. Fill in the blanks on the crown cutouts. Every month attach a new crown to your frame by inserting the tabs on the crown into the slits on the frame.
I can become more kind as I ____________ .
I can do better in school as I ____________ .
I can share the gospel when I ____________ .
I can learn more about Heavenly Father and Jesus when I ____________ .
I can be an example by ____________ .
I can increase my faith in Jesus Christ as I ____________ .
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. Help the children memorize the following lines from the Faith in God guidebook (inside front cover): “I know Heavenly Father loves me, and I love Him. I can pray to Heavenly Father anytime, anywhere. I am trying to remember and follow Jesus Christ.” Adapt a scripture story on prayer into a simple role play (see TNGC, p. 178)—for example, Nephi with his brothers on the ship (see 1 Ne. 18) or Daniel in the lions’ den (see Dan. 6). Let the children role-play this story, using simple costumes or name tags. Use questions to review the story and reinforce the principle of prayer (see TNGC, pp. 68–70). Repeat with the children the memorized lines. Group each class of children with their teacher, and let them tell their favorite scripture stories or their own experiences about prayers being answered. Let each class choose a child to tell their story to the whole Primary as time allows.
2. Teach the principle that making choices is an important part of our life on earth. Our right to choose is called agency (agency or moral agency—not free agency). As we use our agency to choose the right, we are following Jesus Christ and can return to live with Him and Heavenly Father. The scriptures will help us choose the right. On the chalkboard, post a picture of Jesus with a 10-step path leading to Him and a paper child at the other end of the path. Pass out to each class a paper in the shape of a road sign with one of the following scripture references printed on it: Ex. 20:8; Matt. 19:18; 2 Ne. 32:9; Mosiah 13:20; 3 Ne. 12:34; D&C 42:21; D&C 42:27; D&C 51:9; D&C 89:7–8; D&C 119:4. Have the classes look up the references and write on the paper the principle we are to obey. Post the “road signs” so they are visible to the children. Prepare case studies (see TNGC, pp. 161–62) that require the children to make a decision—for example, “You hear someone talking unkindly about a friend. What do you do?” “You have saved money for a special game but discover that it costs more than you have. You would have enough money if you didn’t pay tithing. What do you do?” Let the children respond by matching the case study with a scripture road sign, telling what they would do, and moving the paper child along the path toward the picture of Christ. Sing songs from the “Choice” section of the Children’s Songbook (see p. 307).
For younger children: Substitute simple pictures illustrating the principles taught in the scriptures. Let them solve the case studies and move the child along the path to Jesus.
3. Teach the principle that Heavenly Father planned for us to come to a family and have a physical body. It is important for us to take care of our bodies and keep them strong and healthy. Prepare the following wordstrips: Exercise, Healthy Foods, Rest, Good Hygiene, Protect Your Body, and Things to Avoid. (For children who can’t read yet, include pictures that illustrate these concepts.) Place the wordstrips on the chalkboard, leaving room to write under each one. In a bag or box, bring items or pictures of items that illustrate what we need to do to take care of our bodies. These could include pictures of foods recommended or forbidden in the Word of Wisdom (see D&C 89), a bar of soap, a toothbrush, a bandage, a small ball, a small pillow or blanket, a comb, and pictures from Primary packets (1-8, 1-15, 1-37, 1-38, 1-40, 1-41, 1-51, 2-23, 2-27, 2-48). Invite children to pick an item from the box, match it with the heading, and tell why it is important for our health. Support principles being taught with songs such as “The Lord Gave Me a Temple” (p. 153), “The Word of Wisdom” (pp. 154–55), and “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” (p. 275).
For older children: Sometimes doing what is healthy for our bodies will require a difficult choice. Tell the story in Daniel 1 of Daniel refusing the king’s meat. Bear testimony of the Lord’s promise in D&C 89:18–21. Also review “A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth” (Ensign, Jan. 2001, 2–11) regarding piercings, tattoos, and modesty. Invite the bishop or branch president to discuss President Hinckley’s counsel for the children.
4. We show our love for Heavenly Father as we keep the commandments. Repeat John 14:15 with the children. Help them memorize the scripture by using simple visuals such as a cutout heart (love) and a representation of a Ten Commandments tablet. Teach the children that Jesus showed His love for Heavenly Father by always being obedient. Display GAK picture 227. Read with the children the story of Christ in Gethsemane from Matt. 26:36–39. Explain that even though it was not easy, Christ was willing to do what Heavenly Father wanted Him to do to help us return home to Him. What are some things Heavenly Father has asked us to do? Take responses from children. Post My Gospel Standards, and attach small hearts to corresponding standards as the children give their answers. Post GAK pictures 212–216 on the board. Teach that one way to keep the commandments is to love and be kind to others. Invite the children to share ways the pictures show that Jesus loved and served others. Sing “Love One Another” (p. 136). Pass out paper, pencils, and/or crayons to the children, and invite them to write a note or draw a picture to send to a missionary, member of the military, someone who is homebound, or your bishop or branch president. Have the pianist play while the children complete this project. Sing “Keep the Commandments” (pp. 146–47). Send home a few paper hearts with each child. Explain that they can do anonymous acts of kindness and leave a heart as a clue that they are showing love to Heavenly Father by keeping the commandments.
5. Song presentation: Teach “A Child’s Prayer” (pp. 12–13) by asking questions to direct the children’s listening as you sing it. To teach the first verse, post GAK picture 216 (Christ and the Children), pictures 3-24 (boy praying) and 3-60 (girl praying) from Primary 3, and a drawing of the moon and stars (representing heaven). Sing the first two lines, and ask the children to listen for the questions the child has about Heavenly Father and prayer. Take their responses, have a child choose and hold a picture that represents those lines, and sing that much together. As you sing the next two lines, ask the children to listen for what the child has heard about heaven and then for a clue that the child may be receiving an answer to his or her questions. (“But I feel it close around me as I pray.”) Take responses, let a child choose another picture, and sing all four lines together. As you sing the next two lines, ask the children to listen for something the child remembers. Take responses and sing that much together. Take GAK picture 216 from the board, and discuss the story from the back of the picture (see Mark 10:13–16). When you sing the last two lines, ask the children what the child is going to do because he or she remembered the story of Jesus. Sing and take responses, have a child hold the last picture, and sing the whole first verse together. Repeat the verse, referring to the pictures and using other singing methods (for example, right side of the room sings first four lines, left side sings second four lines; sing parts louder or softer).
The second verse answers the child’s questions with a firm testimony of prayer. Have the children listen for what this person knows as you sing the second verse. Take responses and teach the blessing of testimony. Teach this verse in sections using visuals (GAK picture 605—Young Boy Praying, a mouth, a heart, GAK picture 608—Christ and Children from around the World), repetition, and by marking the beat. When the children have learned both verses well, sing them together as a duet.
6. Friend references: “You Are a Child of God,” May 2003, 2–6; “I Can Pray to Heavenly Father Anytime, Anywhere,” Aug. 2003, 24–26; “I Am a Child of God,” Jan. 2004, 15; “I Am a Child of God,” Mar. 2003, 18; “Show You Know,” June 2003, 16–18; “Powerful Ideas,” Mar. 2003, 17. These references and others can be found at www.lds.org. Click on Gospel Library.