2012 sharing time theme
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The theme for the 2012 Outline for Sharing Time — "Choose the Right" — will help Latter-day Saint children learn that agency, or the ability to make choices, is part of Heavenly Father's plan, said Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president.
"Agency was a part of our life before this existence and it is part of our life now, and it is by choosing the right that will help us stay on the path to our Heavenly Father," she said.
Sister Wixom and her counselors, Sister Jean A. Stevens and Sister Cheryl A. Esplin, recently met with the Church News to discuss the 2012 outline and theme for sharing time and the children's sacrament meeting presentation.
This year's theme is based on the Joshua 24:15. "Choose you this day whom ye will serve; ... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
The presidency wants children to learn this year that choices count. "Our choices matter," said Sister Wixom. "The choices we make now will bless our future. That is why we talk about choices with children. They are capable of learning how to make good choices."
Looking through the 2012 Sharing Time Outline, which is available for downloading at lds.org or at Church Distribution Centers, Primary leaders will see that the monthly themes, songs, scriptures and principles build upon one another. The outline is supplemented with color photographs, resources, quotes from Church leaders and preparation tips.
The outline also includes a new song written by Janice Kapp Perry, "As A Child of God," which carries the important message that good choices bless children and their families. The front cover of the booklet has a photograph of an 8-year-old girl making the choice to be baptized; the back cover shows a child holding to the iron rod with both hands.
Sister Stevens said Heavenly Father gave children the ability to make choices. "Children really have a spiritual nature about them," she said. "They have a sensitivity to spiritual things and they can know what is right and what is wrong."
Sister Esplin said parents have a responsibility to be diligent in teaching their children about agency. "That is really one of their main responsibilities — to take the time and teach their children about choices."
She said that teaching should be intentional and should be offered at "every opportunity."
Why? "Because choices are being made all day long," she said.
The presidency said Primary leaders and parents should study the "Gospel Standards" found on the back of the "Faith in God" booklet.
Following those standards will help children with their daily choices, they said.
"This is the 'For the Strength of Youth' for children," Sister Wixom said.
Children, she added, need to learn that now is the time to choose — "Choose to be honest, choose to be kind, choose to be modest, pure, keep the Sabbath Day holy, listen to the Holy Ghost, serve a mission, get an education and choose to get married in the temple."
Then, she said, children can live their lives according to those choices. "When those choices are made while children are young, it eliminates the pressure and indecision when they are older."
Further, she said, making good choices put "us on a path for making more good choices."
She asked families to sit down with their children and talk about the choices they face daily.
"Perhaps parents could help children role play conversations their child might have on the play ground or with others when faced with making hard choices," Sister Wixom said.
And, she added, children need to learn they are not alone.
"They are blessed to have parents, teachers, prophets, the scriptures and the Holy Ghost to help them."
Sister Stevens said she hopes children will "establish patterns" while they are young such as praying daily and studying the scriptures.
Sister Wixom said Joseph Smith is an example of asking Heavenly Father about a choice he needed to make. Then "he had the courage to follow what he knew to be true."
Baptism is an important choice children make during their Primary years, said the Primary leaders.
"We need to help them understand the covenant that they made," Sister Esplin said, noting that parents and Primary leaders should help children understand that their good choices help them keep their baptismal covenant.
"I don't think we understand the power of a child's influence on the family," she said.
Sister Stevens agreed. "Children's choices can influence a family for good," she said.
Knowing that children have so much potential to influence others for good, the presidency has a message for them: "You can do it," Sister Wixom said. "You can make good choices."