Teaching the Rising Generation

    Jesus with children

    The calling I have enjoyed the most was serving as a nursery leader. Initially, this wasn’t the case. The thought of spending two hours with 10 to 12 nursery children was simply overwhelming. I grudgingly accepted the call because I believed it was from Heavenly Father.

    Praying for a Change of Attitude

    My first experience as a nursery leader was a disaster because I approached it with a darkly clouded attitude. I felt miserable. By the time I arrived home, I knew that I desperately needed to change.

    I went to my knees and prayed, “Heavenly Father, it is not these children's fault that I have been called to serve in nursery. Please bless me to have a change of attitude and to feel love for them.”

    woman
    Sister Sandy Robinson

    To my utter relief and amazement, Heavenly Father was quick to respond to that heartfelt plea. I received a complete change of attitude and love for those little ones. Heavenly Father, being a good Father, didn’t stop there with His blessings. He added joy and fun with the mix. We are promised: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over” (Luke 6:38).

     I offered a sincere desire for a change of heart and He lovingly responded.

    I learned some very important truths from this experience:

    • Heavenly Father loves us and answers our prayers.

    • His blessings are abundant. He will give us more than we ask for.

    • Attitude determines our experience.

    • How we think about our callings and those we serve makes all the difference.

    A Home-centered, Church-supported Curriculum

    During the October 2018 general conference, President Russell M. Nelson taught, “It is time for a home-centered Church.” He explained: “The long-standing objective of the Church is to assist all members to increase their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and in His Atonement, to assist them in making and keeping their covenants with God, and to strengthen and seal their families. ...For many years, Church leaders have been working on an integrated curriculum to strengthen families and individuals through a home-centered and Church-supported plan to learn doctrine, strengthen faith, and foster greater personal worship.” (“Opening Remarks,” Ensign, Nov. 2018, 7-8).

    family

    Elder Quentin L. Cook stated, “The goal of these adjustments is to obtain a deep and lasting conversion of adults and the rising generation” (“Deep and Lasting Conversion to Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” Ensign. Nov. 2018, 11).

    Learning to Teach Primary with a New Curriculum

    As a Primary worker I “have been called of God to teach His children in the Savior’s way.

    These precious children are constantly absorbing information, forming and refining their opinions, and making and sharing discoveries. This is especially true with the gospel, for children are ready and eager to learn its simple truths. Their faith in spiritual things is strong and pure, and they see every moment as a learning moment. They willingly act on what they have learned.” (Come, Follow Me—For Primary: New Testament 2019, “You Are a Teacher of Children,” v).

    primary class

    I am receiving joy as I serve in Primary. I cherish the fact that as I study, pray, and act upon impressions, the Lord will bless me with love for these unique and delightful little ones who possess their own individual sparks of divinity.

    I have felt impressed to create a group text with “my” children’s parents. I informed them that I am delighted to be their child’s teacher. I asked them questions as a means to increase my understanding and love for their children. If I felt a home visit was important, I made arrangements and followed through.

    Early in the week, I send a text about a principle we will be focusing on. This allows the parents time to discuss this concept in advance so that each child can be prepared and feel successful when we discuss these ideas during Primary. After class I text parents sharing some of the children’s comments and experiences.

    phone

    The Importance of Asking Questions and Home Visits

    My goal during class is to ask questions so the children can share what they understand or know about the principle we are discussing. A few weeks ago we were talking about Jesus. One child asked, “How did Jesus die?” I praised the child for asking such a great question. Then, I quickly found a picture of Christ on the cross, and we talked about it.

    Jesus on cross

    Parents of absent children receive a personal text letting them know I’ve missed their child. If a child says or does something remarkable during class, I privately share it with their parents. Sometimes I receive communication informing me when a child will be absent.

    I knew that one of the little sheep I’d been called to temporarily tend had an especially difficult time leaving “Mom.” I felt a home visit was important, which I made prior to and on her birthday. I also involved her in other ways to help her feel loved and more comfortable in Primary. After eight weeks, sobbing ceased and smiles replaced tears.

    Teaching the Importance of Prayer

    The children are loving, kind, helpful, and eager to offer prayer or help in any way. They truly are able to understand spiritual principles.

    It is a humbling experience to be called to teach the young lambs of our Savior’s fold. I know when we are obedient and prayerful, the Holy Ghost can be with us, and He will inspire us. Heavenly Father will answer our prayers. He helped me find a birthday treat that a child called “rainbow bacon.” I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for as I searched convenience and grocery stores for it. I had all but given up and was about to leave the last store. Then I stopped and simply prayed in my mind, “Heavenly Father, if it’s important that I buy some of this treat, and if it’s here, please let me see it.” He showed me where it was. I had previously not noticed it!

    Bearing Testimony of Jesus Christ

    If Heavenly Father will answer such a simple prayer, then surely He will help us change our hearts, our attitudes, and assist us in teaching and testifying to His children concerning the divine mission of His Only Begotten Son, the truthfulness of His gospel, and help us become converted, covenant keeping disciples of Jesus Christ.