'I love to serve in Primary' - Love, participate and prepare
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"I love to serve in Primary!" Those are often words we hear from brothers and sisters all over the world. Our first response is always "Tell me why." They smile when they talk about how they have come to love each individual child as they see them for who they are and what they can become. That is the secret to enjoying Primary!
Let's face it. Sometimes serving in Primary can be challenging. Children have a short attention span of only 5 to 10 minutes. Some children are active, often noisy and they may be physically aggressive, or impolite. Let's stop there. … First of all, realize these are normal characteristics of children. We also know children want to be good, they respond to sincere praise, and they are eager to learn. We can teach them to be responsible for their own behavior and how to improve. We teach it best when we do it with love.
Your love for Primary will increase as you:
Learn to love each child. Learn the children's names and greet them by their name whenever you see them. Become familiar with their families, talents, interests and challenges, and tailor your teaching to their circumstances.
Participate in Primary. Sing the songs, stand and do the actions, be involved in the Sharing Time activities. Children sense unity when teachers and leaders stay the entire time, join in the fun and aren't sitting on the back row having their own conversations.
Prepare in advance. The most important two words at the first of each lesson in each manual are "Prayerfully study. ..." Read the suggested scriptures and the lesson a week in advance and the Spirit will inspire you as to how to teach the children and not just teach a lesson. You will find yourself asking the questions, "What will the children do to learn and how can I help them feel the Spirit?" Your lessons will take on a new dimension of understanding for the children and you will not only be eager — you will be ready to teach.
One young mother was discouraged to be released from another calling and called to be a teacher in Primary. The next Sunday, she entered the Primary room and half-heartedly sat down with the children in her class. Then the children began to sing a Primary song. The words and the music brought tears to her eyes. The children's voices and the message of the Primary song was an answer to a recent personal prayer. She had been praying for ways to better teach her young children the simple gospel truths. Her prayer was answered with a calling to Primary.
"Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love. …" (Moroni 7:48). You can pray "with all the energy of heart" to feel an increase of love for each individual child.
To every sister and brother who is called to serve in Primary we express our gratitude as the Primary presidency. Never underestimate the powerful impact of your love on a child. Your service comes with a promise:
"I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy" (Doctrine and Covenants 11:13) ... the real joy of serving in Primary.