Many years ago people made fancy garden mazes to delight their friends. They trimmed hedges to form pathways where others could walk and wander and try to find the way out. Many people enjoyed strolling through these large garden mazes. Others sometimes became confused in the passageways, but they still enjoyed the pleasant walk and eventually found their way out. They had to try, try, try. Garden mazes still exist, and visitors enjoy navigating through them.
Just as visitors make their way through garden mazes by making a decision at every fork in the path, each of us makes our way through life. Every day we are faced with decisions. Some of the decisions are not important. It probably doesn’t matter if you wear a blue shirt or a red shirt. But many decisions are important. When you are faced with a decision about whether to tell the truth or tell a lie, it is important to tell the truth.
For important decisions, you can make the right choice if you ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?” When we try to be like Jesus—when we try, try, try—we will do what is right. Jesus always did what was right. Our faith grows when we follow His example.
With your finger, trace a path through the garden maze. Every time you come to a choice, decide which choice Jesus would make. Beginning at “Birth,” follow Jesus’s example until you get to “Eternal Life.”
Spend money on a toy
Stay home and watch television
Go to church
Be nice to others
Say mean things to someone
Dress in a popular but immodest style
Say my prayers each morning and night
Pray only when I need help
Sing a Primary song
Get angry and say a bad word
(Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook unless otherwise noted; GAK = Gospel Art Picture Kit, TNGC = Teaching, No Greater Call.)
1. Write the numbers “6 2 3 2 3 6 5 2 4 4 2 2” on a chalkboard. Explain that these numbers represent the number of letters in each word of a scripture. Have the children look up 2 Nephi 31:12 and find the last 12 words. Invite one child at a time to erase one number and replace it with the word. Each time a word is added, have the children recite the scripture, clapping once for each word that is not yet written. When all the words are written, ask the children to close their scriptures and recite the scripture. Erase the board and recite it again.
Explain that following Jesus’s example will help us return to our Heavenly Father. Ask the children what an example is, and give illustrations. For instance, a teacher might solve a math problem to show students how to solve other problems. A soccer coach might kick a ball to show how to kick. Tell them that following Jesus’s example can help us make good choices. Prepare case studies (see “Case Studies,” TNGC, 161–62) of true-to-life situations. Give one case study to each class, and have them discuss the problem. Ask the children to solve the problem by asking, “What would I do if I followed Jesus’s example?” Have each class report on how they could follow Jesus. Sing “Jesus Once Was a Little Child” (p. 55). Point out that the last three words of the song are “try, try, try.” That same word appears many times in the song “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (pp. 78–79). Explain that to be like Jesus, we must try. Testify that following Jesus’s example will take effort, and it will make us happy.
2. For older children: Bring a dictionary, some Bibles, and a hymnbook. Tell the children that they are going to use the books to study the scriptures. Explain that when we study the scriptures, we do more than just read them. Ask the children to look up James 1:5. Divide the Primary into groups. Give one group a dictionary, and ask them to look up the difficult words such as liberally and upbraid. Have another group use the Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, or Guide to the Scriptures to look up revelation and find out ways that Heavenly Father answers prayers. Another group could use the Bible Dictionary to find out who James was. Another group could look up Joseph Smith—History 1:11, a footnoted scripture in James 1:5, to find out why this scripture is so important. Have a teacher show a group how to use the scripture index in the back of the hymnbook (pp. 410–14); have them find a song that relates to James 1:5. Have each group report on what the group learned. Joseph Smith read this scripture, and it prompted him to pray. Tell the children that Heavenly Father will answer our prayers too.
For younger children: Help the children memorize the poem “I Will Follow Jesus Christ,” with actions in the second part:
Jesus Christ was baptized,
and I’ll be baptized, too.
I’ll follow His example.
That’s what I want to do.
I’ll follow in His footsteps. [walk in place]
I’ll study [put hands together to form a book], and I’ll pray [fold arms].
I’ll try to be more loving [hand on heart]
each and every day.
(Elizabeth Giles, Friend, May 1999, 24)
Explain that our prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, also teaches us to pray. Sing a song he wrote, “Don’t Ever Forget to Pray” (Friend, Apr. 2006, 11). Bear testimony of the blessings that come through prayer and scripture study.
3. Display a calendar, and ask the children which day is the Sabbath day. Tell them that before Jesus’s Resurrection, the Sabbath day was the seventh day, as it says in Genesis 2:2–3. Explain that two of the older children are going to explain more about the Sabbath. The week before, ask one child to prepare a summary of “History of the Sabbath” and another to prepare a summary of “The Lord’s Day” from the Gospel Principles Sunday School manual, pages 160–61.
Invite the children to help you make a list of ways to keep the Sabbath day holy. Focus on what we should do rather than on what we should not do.
Sing “The Sabbath Day” (Friend, Nov. 2004, 27). Encourage them to think about the Savior and feel the peace that comes during the song’s introduction, interlude, and ending. Display a picture of Jesus Christ during these intervals. Express your love for the Savior and your happiness that we have a special day each week to remember Him.
4. Invite the bishop or branch president to talk about preparing for the temple. Have him show the children his driver’s license. (Any kind of license, such as a fishing license or a marriage license, would also work.) Have him tell the requirements he had to meet to get it. Then have him show his temple recommend. Ask him to tell the children some of the things they need to do to get a temple recommend.
Prepare slips of paper on which you write gospel principles one needs to live to go to the temple, and a number of steps. For example, “You keep the Word of Wisdom—advance 2 steps.” Place a picture of a temple on each wall of the Primary room. The Church has temples all over the world, and today you have temples all around the room. Have four children begin in the center of the room, and have each one move toward a different temple by pulling a slip of paper out of an envelope, reading the principle, and moving the number of steps it indicates. (Clarify that this is not a competition. You want all four of the children to reach the temple, and it doesn’t matter how fast they get there.) When each child reaches the temple, have him or her look on the back of the picture for the name of a song. Use the four songs listed in the Children’s Songbook index under “Temples.” Sing the song, and continue the game. After you have sung all of the songs, bear witness that the temple is the Lord’s house and that we receive great peace when we go there. Encourage the children to live worthy.
5. Song presentation: “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (pp. 78–79). Show the picture that accompanies the song in the Children’s Songbook. Ask the children to imagine why the little girl might be crying. Ask what the boy is doing and who he might be. Suggest that the boy might be the girl’s older brother. Sing “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus.” Explain that Jesus comforts us, teaches us, and loves us, just like the older brother in the picture. Teach the verse by having the children finger clap (two fingers of one hand tap against the palm of the other hand) the rhythm of the first line while you sing it. Point out the similarity in the second line. Have them sing the opening lines several times with you. Sing the second part of the verse. Invite them to look up John 13:34 and compare the words of the scripture with the words of the chorus. Explain that when we love one another, we are keeping an important commandment because “these are the things Jesus taught.” After singing the chorus several times, practice going right from the verse into the chorus. Encourage them to be like the boy in the picture by loving their families, friends, and neighbors. When they love as Jesus loved, they follow His example. Bear testimony of the importance of following the Savior.
6. Friend references: “Show You Know,” June 2003, 16–18; “Ways to Study the Scriptures,” Sept. 2005, 45; “Declare the Exciting Message!” Feb. 1990, inside front cover; “The Lifeline of Prayer,” July 2003, 2–3; “Prayer,” Jan. 2005, 24–25; “Heavenly Father Hears Me,” Sept. 2005, 18–19; “A Letter to Grandma,” Oct. 2005, 4–6; “Temples Dot the Earth,” Nov. 2002, 24–25; “Worthy of the Temple,” Sept. 2002, 42.