Too Old for Primary


(Based on a true story)
All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children (Isaiah 54:13).

Jayson slumped in his seat. “This is so boring,” he thought. “I’m too old for Primary.” He looked around at the other children. Some were smiling or nodding. They actually looked interested in what Sister Simmons was saying. “How could anyone enjoy this?” he thought glumly.

For several months Jayson had dreaded Primary. He didn’t mind class so much; his teacher involved everyone with fun lessons. But singing and sharing time just weren’t interesting anymore. The lessons were for younger children, and the songs he used to love now seemed childish.

Jayson had talked with Mom about the problem. She told him that Primary was for everyone and that if he tried hard to listen, there would always be something just for him. Mom was almost never wrong, but this must be an exception.

He glanced at the clock—still 20 minutes to go. He started looking for ways to make the time speed up. He folded up his class handout. Pretty soon he started swinging his feet back and forth. Just as he was about to see how long he could hold his breath, Jayson heard something amazing. “I made a big mistake,” Sister Simmons said.

“Well, this is new,” Jayson thought. “Teachers don’t talk about their mistakes.”

“When I was 12 years old I had some friends who used bad language,” Sister Simmons said, “and I noticed that whenever I got mad a swear word would pop into my head. I wasn’t worried, because I knew that I wouldn’t actually say the words. But one day I got mad during recess and took the Lord’s name in vain. I felt so sad! I couldn’t believe that I had crossed the line between words in my head and words in my mouth.”

Jayson sat up straight, the clock forgotten. Sister Simmons told how she had talked with her parents that night and asked her father for a priesthood blessing. The bad words didn’t go away immediately, but as she crowded them out with good thoughts, they came less often. After a while, they went away completely.

Jayson couldn’t believe it! He had been having exactly the same problem. Lots of his friends at school swore, and cuss words always seemed to be floating around in his head. Just the other day he had called a boy a bad name for kicking a ball over the school fence. He felt terrible afterward! But he didn’t have the courage to ask his parents for help. He was afraid they would forbid him from hanging out with his friends.

Sitting there in Primary, he suddenly stopped being afraid. Sister Simmons had faced the problem, and so could he. Her parents had understood, and so would his. Maybe he could even get a blessing from his dad, just like Sister Simmons had. A happy feeling came over him, and he felt better than he had in weeks.

The next thing he knew, the closing prayer was being said, and all the other children were leaving the Primary room. Jayson sat thinking a few moments, then slowly got to his feet. He noticed that Sister Simmons was giving him a worried look. “Are you OK?” she asked.

Jayson grinned. “I’m great actually, and my mom was right as usual. Primary really does have something for everybody—if you just keep listening.”

[illustrations] Illustrations by Bryan Beach