I LOVED this weeks topic for Sharing Time. I found out quite late in the week that I was teaching and thanks to a crazy work/school schedule last week I literally did not get to start looking over the lesson until about midnight the night before I was to teach. I completely dislike preparing a lesson that way, but I prayed much that Heavenly Father would help take up some of my slack where I was not able to modify the situation. I read over the lesson before collapsing into bed and started trying to let my spirit and brain churn. When I got up on Sunday I had kid activities for Easter to focus on first, but after they were happily playing with Easter treats and activities, I turned my thoughts to my lesson. As I had read the night before, I had some images in my mind that I wanted to try to capture and share. The first image I had was of candy – perhaps it was the Easter Bunny in me, but I knew those kids were going to have some serious sugar on the brain and I felt like it was a GREAT opportunity to use that to help them learn a priceless principle. I made up these Treat Note and attached them to some wrapped candy and placed them in a basket under a cute cloth napkin. At the very end of the lesson, right before dismissing the kids, I explained how much sweeter and long lasting the power of Jesus’ life and His death are in our lives than any sweet candy. (A side note – I thought this part of the lesson prep would be especially important for the Junior Primary kids, but they were much more interested in some of the other parts of the lesson. However, the Senior Primary this week struggled, but as I explained the idea of the sweetness of His gift to us and bore my testimony of the power that can have in our lives, they finally settled down and let the Spirit join the discussion. I felt so grateful for the inspiration to use a candy teaching moment – even if it ended up more important to a different group than I expected.)
OK – so I just realized that I started at the end again! I tend to do that and I hope you are able to follow along in spite of my odd order. Now I will try to go back and start at the beginning of the lesson.
Before Primary, I went in and hung up a whole bunch of pictures of Jesus – all different kinds – that I had previously cut out of old Ensigns and things. They were all different sizes and shapes and I hung them just sort of scattered around like a frame for the middle of the board. In the middle, I hung a picture of the Christmas scene – Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in the manger. Then I left an open spot and then hung a picture to represent the resurrection – the open tomb with two of the apostles looking in.
As we started the lesson time, I took my 5 puzzle pieces and handed them out to the teachers in Junior and to 5 kids that had a Bible with them in Senior. I asked them each to look up the scripture listed on their puzzle piece, read over it, and prepare to explain it briefly to a small group. While those 5 were looking up their scriptures, I started talking to everyone else. I asked them if they could remember what we have been talking about all year this year. Eventually we were able to get the idea that we have been talking about Choosing The Right! Then I had them look at all the pictures on the board and see if they could tell me what we might be talking about today. They quickly answered, “Jesus!” I asked them why those two things belong together. They had some fun responses and after several had been able to answer I talked more about how special and important it is that Jesus always choose the right and set a perfect example for us to follow. Then I pointed out the picture of the Nativity and had them tell me what it was. I did the same with the picture of the empty tomb. Then I said, “What is missing in here?” – pointing to the blank spot in-between. I reminded them that Jesus’ life did not start or end with those pictures on the board, but that we really aught to talk about some of the things that He did during His mortal life and how we can use them as the example of how to life our mortal lives.
I asked them to get into groups with the 5 people with the puzzle pieces and asked them to listen as they hear one way Jesus was an example. I asked each of the puzzle piece readers to explain very briefly what they learned about Jesus in their scripture and to choose someone from their group to bring the piece up and explain it to the rest of us. I only gave them 1-2 minutes to do this and then went through the 5 pieces with everyone and built the puzzle in the blank spot on the chalk board (scripture side down – so that we were building the side with the big picture of Jesus and the phrase that is the topic for the week). When we had done that and shared some small testimonies of the things the kids were teaching, that was it for that part of the lesson.
At that point I did something not found in the Sharing Time Outline. It was something I had put into my mind as I raced back home after taking the sacrament to grab the puzzle, treats, etc that I thought my husband had taken to the car for me, but I must have only asked him in my mind. Anyway, as I ran home – grateful to only live 2 minutes from church – I had a lesson I had taught in Relief Society years ago pop into my head. Instantaneously I knew that I needed to incorporate that activity into this lesson. I ran into the house and headed to the bookshelf where I keep a notebook full of pictures that I have cut from old Ensigns. (I made it back when I had time to do that sort of thing on a somewhat regular basis – it was even all organized by topic, etc!) I pulled the book out and took out a big stack of pictures all backed with cardstock and tucked nicely into sheet protectors. This particular set of pictures was all of the Savior. They cover everything from the creation of the world (a really cool picture by the way) to Him appearing to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove. Then I ran to the stereo and dug around for the primary CDs from the last couple of years. I looked over the lists of songs and pulled out a CD with the Song I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus on it. I grabbed the stuff I had left earlier that morning, my new supplies, and my purse and headed back out the door. Here is how the pictures and the music go together… Before starting the activity, we handed one of the pictures to each child and then I explained to the children we were going to do a very special activity. It is not a silly activity, but a very special and reverent one. I told them to look at their picture of the Savior and try to see something that they can learn from that picture. See something about Jesus that they can use as an example in their lives. I will turn on some music (the cd I had grabbed at home – I only did one verse for Junior and the whole song for Senior) to help invite the Spirit and they will get to look at their picture for a few moments, then they will pass it on to the next person and will receive a new picture to ponder. The Spirit that flooded me as we did this activity in the Junior Primary was astounding! I felt so humbled to be able to work with them each Sunday and felt overwhelmed by feelings of God’s love for those little ones. He and our Saviour truly love each one of those little children and their value is truly infinite to Them. What a rich and beautiful experience for me. I was SO grateful I had forgotten to ask my husband to grab all my stuff for primary and was in a position to be inspired with something that would inspire us all!
Well, that about sums up the lesson, but what I got was so much more. I had my testimony of God’s concern for me reaffirmed yet again. He knew I had no time for my lesson earlier in the week (even if I had known about it earlier) and He offered guidance. Also, I was vibrantly reminded of His love for the little children. The worth of each of their young souls truly is great in His sight.
As always, I provide these materials freely for your use in your home or church teaching. None of the materials provided here may be used for any commercial purposes. The images all came from LDS.org and are only made available here to save others time in creating tools to use in their own families or church callings. I hope you enjoy! 🙂