Sunday, February 19, 2012

Will they "get" it?

Bryan and I teach the class of 6 and 7 year-olds at church.  They are sweet, smart, funny kids and we can't help but love them.

Each week in our little class before we say the opening prayer or start the lesson we go around and ask each of the kids what happened in their lives the previous week or if there's anything else random that they want to tell us.  They readily tell us about which tooth is currently wiggly, their trip to the pool (one little girl seems to go weekly), how their baby sister peed on their dad while they were changing the baby's diaper, or about how they went to each others' houses during the week.

Bryan and I laugh each week not only at the things they think to tell us, but the fact that they have some random little thing about their lives that they think of to tell us right away.  How many grown-ups could or would want to do that?  These kids are so uninhibited.  They're so open and loving toward us and toward each other.

They're not at the age yet where it's not cool for boys to be friends with girls and stuff and it's sweet to watch them share crayons (there could not be enough flesh-toned crayons in the world to satisfy these kids) and help each other pick up things they drop.  It's all just little things, but it pricks me right at the heart every time I see them serve each other in these little ways.  They love at the drop of a hat (or, as, the case may be, at the drop of a set of scriptures or piece of candy).  I spend most of the class each week reminding them to be quiet ...and thinking about how much I want to be more like them.

Last night Bryan and I were preparing the lesson for today's class.  Our entire class loves coloring, so we always make sure to include any extra activities that involve coloring.  One of the activities in the lesson for today included making a little yarn necklace for each child and attaching a circle (like the one in the photo above) that said, "Heavenly Father watches over me."  Then the kids were supposed to draw a picture of their face on the other side of the circle.

The lesson was all about how Heavenly Father watches over each of us.  As I read the lesson I kept thinking, "I hope the kids get this."

I always hope the kids will really get what the lesson is about each Sunday, but I felt that even more so as we were preparing the lesson this week.  I just had this yearning for the kids to understand that Heavenly Father really is watching over them and then be able to remember that and draw on that when difficult things come up in their lives.

One of the other activities in the lesson had us write down difficult situations on little slips of paper and put all of the papers in a baggie.  Then the kids were each supposed to take a turn pulling out a difficult situation and talk about how they might work through it, remembering that Heavenly Father is watching over them.

"You have a spelling test at school and you're feeling really worried about it."
"You're hiking in the woods with your family.  You get lost and you don't know what to do."
"Your sister is sick in the hospital."

What could you do?

Then the kids would give answers like, "Pray for help," etc.

Bryan joked about how it would be if we did this in the adult Sunday school class.

"You just found out your wife has cancer."
"You lost your job."
"You're stressed about your finances."

What could you do?

And even though we joked about how terrible that would be in an adult lesson, it made me step back for a minute and think about how this lesson applies to me.  How does Heavenly Father watch over me?  What can I do to draw on that help?

I though about the message I was hoping so hard the kids in our class would understand.  As the teacher, I wanted the kids to "get" it.  I wanted the message to sink in and benefit their lives and help them when they need help.

And then I thought about if I were a kid in the class and a teacher was sitting at home hoping I would "get it."  I thought about how much I love the kids we teach and how much I want them to feel close to Heavenly Father and know how much he loves and blesses them.  And I thought about how much Heavenly Father wants all of us to feel that.  It's definitely not just a message for 6 and 7 year-olds.

Heavenly Father watches over me.

It's such a short, simple sentence.  But there is so much comfort and faith to be had in the truth of that little sentence.  This is a truth I've learned over and over and over again throughout my life.  It's a truth I've learned in big ways and in little ways.

The kids had been a little hyper during the lesson today (it probably didn't help that we started out giving them Smarties), but at the end of the lesson they were quiet and reverent as I told them two short stories about how Heavenly Father has watched over our family.

First I told them about how Heavenly Father helped our family stay safe when we almost experienced what would have surely been a deadly car accident.  Then I told them about how Bryan lost his wedding ring a couple of days ago.  We had been praying to find it and then it just turned up in a place where we both swore we had looked before.

The knowledge and faith that Heavenly Father watches over us is a simple thing.  And yet, so comforting.

At the beginning of the lesson today (post Smarties), we asked the kids who watches over them and helps them.  They of course said that their parents watch over them and help them.  And then one little girl raised her hand and said that Jesus Christ watches over her and helps her.  When we asked her how he helps her I was surprised by the maturity of her answer.  I had expected her to say something like, "He helps me feel better when I'm sad."  But instead she said along the lines of, "He died on the cross and did the Atonement."

If we didn't still have 30 minutes to kill, I would have happily said, "Amen," and ended the lesson right there.   Needless to say, the kids definitely "got" what the lesson was all about.  They already put the knowledge and faith that Heavenly Father watches over them to good use in their daily lives.  Their examples and their testimonies touch me every week.

So I guess I just wanted to pass along this sweet, simple message of comfort, hope, and love to all of you.

Heavenly Father watches over you.

He loves us.  Each of us.  He knows what we need.  He stands waiting and ready to bless us.  Sometimes all we need to do is ask.


Emily said...

I love this post. I loved teaching this lesson to my Primary kids yesterday too. You're right - it is so simple but also so incredibly profound. Heavenly Father knows us and watches over us and cares for us. Imagine if everyone in the world knew and believed that. It's such a small little lesson to teach but really such an incredibly important and powerful concept that changes lives. And I especially love how little children just a few years old can understand that. And teach it to us maybe better than we can teach it to them.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Beautifully written as always! :)

KurtzCrafts said...

Good for you! I want to try this in my adult Bible study once we finish the series we're in now. Thanks for sharing!

Whitney said...

Beautiful my Katie. Loved this post so so much. I have definitely felt this in my life lately as well.

alee said...

I loved teaching that age :) They are so fun and still sweet, obviously! I found they usually taught me more than I taught them- enjoy primary!