Monday, April 7, 2014

April Sharing Time - Family is Central & Parents Responsibilities

This month is all about the family.

It's also a little short due to General Conference.

And because of Easter.

Well, Easter wouldn't have to make it shorter, but I've decided to do an Easter lesson for Easter this year, so I'll be combining weeks 1 and 2 from the Sharing Time Outline for week 2 of April.  Then I'll use weeks 3 and 4 for week 4 of April.  Just in case that was confusing, here's my plan:

Week 1 - General Conference
Week 2 - Weeks 1 and 2 from the Sharing Time Outline
Week 3 - Easter lesson
Week 4 - Weeks 3 and 4 from the Sharing Time Outline

I like the opener in the Sharing Time Outline (write "The _______ is ________ to God's plan" on the chalkboard, hide the words "family" and "central" under two random chair's and have the kids look for them to finish the quote).   You can download my simple wordstrips here, along with the clipart that I use later on.

It's possible, especially in senior primary that the kids will already know this statement, so I'll probably have the older kids guess what the statement is purely from the two clue words.  If they have trouble, I'll reveal the statement one word at a time until they get it.

I especially like the opener because it leads to a great discussion of what exactly central means, which the Sharing Time Outline leads you to have.  My only problem is that their definition is wrong.  Or at least, it's not as right as it could be. 

Families are not JUST necessary, they are the center.  Dictionary dot com teaches us central constitutes "something from which other related things proceed or upon which they depend." 

I'm going to ask if they know what central means, if I hear crickets...or not even crickets, I'll ask if central sounds like any other words they know.  Then, I'll stand and wait.  Even in junior primary, I know we can have a fantastic discussion.

Next, we're going to talk about what makes up a family.  I'm sure that in every primary there are the stereotypical families (mom, dad, brothers, and sisters) and I'm equally sure that there are at least a few (if not many) who have families that look different.  I'm going to use this adorable clipart I found years ago (I've never been able to find the artist who made it) to illustrate the many different members of our family (I'm going to print it and then cut it apart) As we talk about, and the kids identify, each different person, we'll put them into our family circle. 

Then, we'll move to the next section and I'll have the kids think of their very favorite primary song.  I can't think of a single primary child who won't have perhaps a little too much fun trying to out sing every one else as they each sing that favorite song. 

I have to admit, I'm not really a fan of lots of noise and envisioning the cacophony that will surely take place makes me shudder just a little bit.  Smile, too, when I think about how much they'll love it.  But, I'll be happy to ask them to stop and then lead them in ONE favorite song (perhaps I'll pick the most exuberant singer's favorite).

I think I might then ask them to tell me who leads in their homes. 

Elder Hales (when he was Presiding Bishop Hales) said, "Children naturally look to their parents to learn of the characteristics of their Heavenly Father."


How simultaneously intimidating and invigorating that thought is. 

I want to read part of the proclamation to the kids and talk about exactly what it means, or what they think it means.

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children."

After our discussion, I want to make a very important point.

The truth is, even though parents lead, families learn and grow together.  In an amazing talk speaking to the youth, but equally applicable to our primary children, Sister Mary N. Cook said, "All families need strengthening, from the ideal to the most troubled.  That strengthening can come from you.  In fact, in some families you may be the only source of spiritual strength.  The Lord is depending on you to bring the blessings of the gospel to your family."

While the manual tells us to show different items and have the children tell us how parents can use those to teach and lead their family, I want to add the idea that we can all grow and teach and learn together.

I'm going to have the children choose one of the family circle clipart we used earlier and also draw out an item, then tell how that person can righteously influence their family with the item. 

After getting through everything else, if there's time left, we won't have much, so I'll just grab a few items from home (for example: the Friend, Family Home Evening Manual, Preach My Gospel, Scriptures, Hymnbook or Children's Songbook, and/or a picture of my son praying (he's used it in a few primary talks). 

Closing her talk, Sister Cook said, "Remember, "the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children."  Eternal families are made up of individuals.  "Do your part to build a happy home."  The Lord is depending on you to assist in the exaltation of your eternal family."

He's depending on all of us.  What an exciting thought!!



  1. Love the ideas! Is there any way I can get that adorable family clipart without all the print on it? Would love to use it. Thanks!

    1. Hey!! I saw your comment, I wanted a clip art too... so I found this one. It isn't free, but it's so cute, and it comes in jpg and png so you can reuse it for other stuff. Thought I would share!! I even edited some of the people in photoshop and changed their hair color and outfits to make even more siblings and parents for those with bigger families.

  2. I would love the clipart as well! Thank you!

  3. Another request for the clipart, please!
    thank you!

  4. ok, eventually I figured it out. :)
    (click on the link that says 'download my simple wordstrips'. As promised, the clipart is there.)


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