Have you ever tried to play a game with someone who doesn’t know the rules? You end up spending all your time deciding whose turn it is or what should happen next. When each person who is playing the game knows the rules and follows them, everyone can have fun.
We also need rules, or laws, to help us live together in safety and peace. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe in honoring and obeying the laws of the countries where we live. Jesus knew that it was important to obey the laws of the land. He taught us to obey and honor both the laws of the land, or the country we live in, and God’s laws.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have given us certain laws to live by so that we can be happy in this life and prepare to live with them again. The rules and laws in our countries are meant to help us live together in safety and peace with our neighbors. We also have rules in our families to help us live, work, and play together in love and harmony.
Each country has laws that need to be obeyed. For example, Ji Hae, age 10, of Korea said, “In my country, you cannot drive a car unless you have a license.” According to David, age 9, of Canada, “In my country, we are not supposed to take drugs.” Annie, age 11, of China explained, “When I ride my bike in China, I must obey traffic laws. We do not ride bikes on sidewalks in China.” Kirstie, age 8, of England shared, “When you drive, you mustn’t go over the speed limit. When you work and earn money, you have to pay taxes.”
A coat of arms tells a story about a family and often includes a motto, or rule, the family tries to live by. In some countries, coats of arms have been used for centuries. Using the pattern on page 9, design your own coat of arms. Write your name in the banner below the shield. In one section of the shield, draw a picture of your country’s flag. In another section, draw a picture of something that represents your family. In another section, draw something that illustrates one of God’s laws. In the last section, draw something that represents you (a picture of yourself; a soccer ball; a musical instrument; your favorite animal or book; your house). Choose a motto and write it in the banner above the shield. You may think of your own motto or choose from this list: “I Am a Child of God,” “Love One Another,” “I Will Follow Jesus,” “I Love Truth,” “Choose the Right.”
Have the children make a large picture of the flag of their country. Paste it on a poster or large paper. Then have the children draw pictures representing many different people (for example: old, young, boy, girl, dark, light) who live in your country. Paste them around the picture of the flag. Discuss why so many different people need to obey laws so that they can live together in peace.
Invite the children to stand in a circle. Use three different colors of beanbags (or similar items)—one for the laws of God, one for the laws of the land, and one for family laws. The leader begins by gently tossing a beanbag to a child. Depending on the color of the beanbag, the child must state one law or rule of God, country, or home that he or she should obey.