Sunday, August 17, 2014

How to Plan Your Sharing Time in 5 Easy Steps

Thank you so much for the wonderful emails you've sent thanking me for the sharing time ideas I've shared with you over the past year!!  As many of those emails also mentioned that you'd be missing my ideas, I thought I'd tell you all my sharing time planning secrets to give you a little boost.

We split up sharing time by month, so if you do it by week instead, just substitute the word week for month and it'll work pretty much the same.

1. The Sharing Time Outline

Get out your Sharing Time Outline in whatever format you prefer: hard copy, online, pdf and open it to the month you'll be doing sharing time for.  Then read it.  The whole month. 

Now, the important thing to keep in mind is that you need to do this about a week BEFORE your first lesson. 

Yes, I do know how very much fun those late Saturday night planning sessions are and if you'll keep reading, you'll discover you can still use them. 

2. Study Materials
The purpose of the reading is to get a feel for what the month is all about.  It's more a quick read than an in depth study, that's what this next step is all about. 
Next, I get onto lds dot org and move on over to their General Conference section so I can search for the different topics I'll be teaching throughout the month.  From the link in the previous sentence, there is a search box in the middle of your screen that says "Search Conference." 
Make sure you don't click on the box in the upper right hand corner, that searches the whole website.
For example, in the month of August, I typed in things like: family prayer, family home evening and family scripture study.  If the talk looks like it goes along with my topic, I'll click on it and skim the first paragraph or two to see if it really does fit.  Those that do, I print.
While you can print it out from lds dot org, I prefer to copy and paste into my word processor so I can format it all the same and save some paper and ink.
I limit myself to two talks per topic (at the most), otherwise it's too much to keep up with.  Very overwhelming.
3. Read
Read the talks you've found.  Some months I have more time than others and I read through all the talks at once.  Other months I break it up and read them one week at a time. 
If you have a chance, I'd suggest reading them all at once.  The weeks often go together and I'll find ideas, quotes, and inspiration for week one in a talk I've printed for week three (just as an example).
4. Percolate
After I read through the Sharing Time Outline and the articles, I like to think about it for a few days.  I'll often have ideas occur to me while reading through one or both of them, but I still like to have time to think it over, to let inspiration have time to soak its way in.
5. Plan
After taking the time to think and pray, I read through the Sharing Time Outline again, just for the next Sunday, to plan
As you're reading through, as you're making plans, the most important thing to remember is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. 
You only need two things.  An activity to teach and involve the children and the Holy Ghost. 
Of course, we cannot make anyone feel the Holy Ghost no matter what we do, but I decided not long after I started working in the primary that my only job is to offer.  I try to invite the Spirit as I teach and pray that those I'm teaching will feel God's love for them.
I thought about and even started to write a few different paragraphs on where to find activity ideas and how to go about it...but I kept deleting them.  If you've done some research, read through the Sharing Time Outline and prayed, you will find what your primary needs.  That might mean it occurs to you while you're in the shower (I'm not sure why, but that seems to be my idea spot, I need some waterproof paper), you'll find that the Sharing Time Outline is perfect or maybe you'll "stumble" across it while perusing on the internet.  It will happen and you don't need my help.  Trust me.
Heavenly Father wants your sharing time to be a success.  He is there, giving us inspiration and trying to help us along the way.  The point of this whole process is to give Him the openings to penetrate our often very full lives. 
Happy Sharing Time!

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