“There are two little words in the English language that perhaps mean more than all others,” says President Gordon B. Hinckley. “They are ‘thank you’” (“A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 4). Every language has comparable words, such as gracias, merci, danke, obrigado, and arigato.
You can say thank you by writing a kind note to someone who has done something special for you or who has given you a gift. You can say thank you by helping someone who has helped you.
Another way to show your gratitude is to be respectful. Amanda’s mother made her a beautiful dress. When Amanda wasn’t wearing the dress, she carefully hung it up. That showed her mother that she was grateful for the dress. Daniel’s grandfather gave him a book that he had read when he was a boy. By keeping the book on the bookshelf when he wasn’t reading it and by turning the old pages very carefully, Daniel showed his grandfather that he was grateful for the book.
We show Heavenly Father and Jesus that we are grateful to Them by keeping Their commandments. When we are baptized, we show obedience to the Lord. When we read the scriptures, we show that we are thankful to have the word of God. When we partake of the sacrament reverently, we are showing our gratitude for Jesus Christ’s Atonement.
As you realize all of the blessings that you have, your faith will grow. Your faith will be another blessing that you will be grateful for.
Remove page 14 from the Friend. Mount it on heavier paper to form the cover of a book and use an extra piece of heavy paper for the back cover. Add pieces of paper to the inside of your journal. Punch holes where indicated and thread a ribbon through the book. In your Gratitude Journal, write or draw things for which you are grateful. You can include things such as family, friends, home, and love. What else can you think of?
Note: If you do not wish to remove pages from the magazine, this activity may be copied or printed from the Internet at www.friend.lds.org.
(Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook unless otherwise noted; GAK = Gospel Art Picture Kit; TNGC = Teaching, No Greater Call.)
1. Using a box or other materials, make a simple replica of a home. You may want to draw a front door and some windows on the box. Tell the children that the box represents a home and ask them to name some of the things in their homes that they are grateful for. Before Primary, prepare wordstrips for the older children and pictures for the younger children of things that are in our homes. Inside the box have wordstrips or pictures such as “bed,” “sofa,” “scriptures,” and “sink.” Also include family members and possibly pets. When the children have guessed all of the things that are in the box, show them the empty box but explain that some of the most important things in a home cannot be seen. Help them name intangible things such as “love,” “the gospel,” and “gratitude.” Explain that our homes are happier when we are grateful. Also explain that we are commanded to be thankful.
Sing “I Am Glad for Many Things” (p. 151). Choose three pictures or wordstrips that you took from the box and sing those words instead of “many things” in the first line. For example, you might sing, “I am glad for a soft bed, a warm stove, a sink. I am glad for many things that are mine today.” Express your gratitude for your home and family and bear testimony that these are blessings from a loving Heavenly Father.
The music director might consider teaching “Our House Becomes a Home” (Friend, July 1996, 12–13) to reinforce the blessings of home.
2. Write the word belong on the chalkboard and ask the children to think of something that they belong to. For example, each child belongs to a family. Quickly brainstorm ideas (see “Brainstorming,” TNGC, 160–61). They might think of school classes, clubs, or teams.
Sing “The Church of Jesus Christ” (p. 77) and explain that this song tells some of the blessings of being a member of the Church. Tell them that you are going to discover more blessings. Divide the Primary into six groups and give each group one of the following pictures or objects: GAK 615 (Serving One Another), GAK 616 (Family Togetherness), GAK 604 (The Sacrament), GAK 602 (The Gift of the Holy Ghost), a picture of the temple for your area, and a Book of Mormon. Ask each group to discuss how this picture or object represents a blessing of membership in the Church. For example, one group might say, “When we are members of the Church, the people in our ward help each other,” or “We can live forever with our families when we are sealed in the temple.” Give each group ample time to report.
Have the children listen to a quote from President Hinckley that tells how wonderful it is to be a member of the Church: “What a marvelous thing it is to belong to a society whose purposes are noble, whose accomplishments are tremendous, whose work is uplifting, even heroic. Be loyal to the Church under all circumstances. I make you a promise that the authorities of this Church will never lead you astray. They will lead you in paths of happiness” (“A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 9). Explain that another great blessing is having a living prophet on the earth. Bear your witness of the prophet and testify that the leaders of the Church will indeed “lead you in paths of happiness.” Sing “Latter-day Prophets” (p. 134).
3. Display these GAK pictures on one half of the chalkboard: 601 (Baptism), 602 (The Gift of the Holy Ghost), 603 (Blessing the Sacrament), 604 (Passing the Sacrament), 611 (The Bishop), 612 (Missionaries Teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ), 613 (Administering to the Sick), 614 (Home Teaching). Ask the children what the pictures have in common (the priesthood). Ask who is able to receive the priesthood (worthy male members of the Church). Explain that both boys and girls are blessed by the power of the priesthood. Sing both verses of “Love Is Spoken Here” (pp. 190–91).
Prepare wordstrips beforehand that describe each picture. Attach the wordstrips in random order to the other half of the chalkboard. Ask who has had an experience with priesthood power. Let a volunteer tell his or her experience, then draw a line from the wordstrip to the matching picture that relates to the child’s story. Continue until all the pictures and wordstrips have been matched.
Sing “The Priesthood Is Restored” (p. 89). With the approval of the bishop or branch president, invite a priesthood holder and his wife to discuss the blessings of the priesthood, such as administering the sacrament, home teaching, baptizing, and blessing the sick. Ask them to bear testimony of the blessings that come to both men and women through the priesthood.
4. Begin Primary by thanking the people who make Primary enjoyable each week: the music director and pianist, the teachers, the members of the Primary presidency, and the children. One way to show your gratitude is to say thank you. Ask the children how they can show their gratitude for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Sing “Children All Over the World” (pp. 16–17).
Another way to show our gratitude and love is through our actions. When He was on the earth, Jesus told the people how they should show their love for Him. Ask the children to listen for the way we show our love for Jesus as you read John 14:15. Help the children memorize the scripture (See “Memorization,” TNGC, 171–72).
One way we can show our gratitude and love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is by being reverent and respectful when we come to church.
Ask the children to listen to a song on the piano and see how the music makes them feel. Have the pianist play “Reverence Is a Feeling” (Friend, Sept. 1996, 5). Make a list of words that describe the feeling of reverence. Sing the song, defining such words as “honor” and “awe.” Explain that “our Father’s law” means Heavenly Father’s commandments. Play a sing-and-listen game. When the music director points to his or her mouth, the children should sing, but when he or she points to his or her ears, the children should listen.
Testify that we show gratitude for Heavenly Father and Jesus when we obey Their commandments. If possible, share a personal experience of a time when you felt especially blessed for keeping the commandments.
5. Sing “Latter-day Prophets” (p. 134) using GAK pictures as reminders of each prophet. Before Primary, obtain enough hymnbooks so that each child can have access to one. Introduce the children to the Authors and Composers index on page 387. Tell them that four of our hymns were written by Presidents of the Church and let them search the index for those hymns. Explain that an asterisk (*) beside people’s names indicates that they are LDS, so the children should look at the names with asterisks by them. Use the hymnbooks to sing three of the hymns (135, 127, 262).
6. Friend references: “Grateful Heart,” May 1994, inside front cover; “My Thank-You Song,” Nov. 1986, 39; “What to Do Now?” Oct. 2006, 48; “Sacred Priesthood Blessings,” Oct. 2004, 2; “Blessed by the Priesthood,” July 2006, 8–9; “The First Thanksgiving in Utah,” Nov. 2004, 4–6; “‘But Where Are the Nine?’” Nov. 1975, 38–39.