It’s our last week of February’s “when I choose the right I am blessed” theme, and the lessons in the Sharing time outline have more of a focus on the blessed part. I have been wondering if the kids understand what a blessing is exactly? A blessing is a gift from God, right? And that idea is so huge (count your millions of blessings…) that I think the best way to teach it is to give examples.
Because of Stake Conference we’re talking about Nephi this week. So I’m going to focus on Nephi’s blessings. Most of you did Nephi last week, but it will still work as a review of last week’s lesson! All week I’ve been thinking about the boat. I’ve been imagining it in our primary room: a boat that will travel to the land Lehi was promised as a blessing for choosing the right. As our boat travels across the room we will talk about the blessings the Nephi received because of following the Lord.
Here’s what I’ll need:
Fishing line to be strung around the primary room wall
A paper boat (like this one from the Friend, or the Arnold Friberg one from the gospel art picture kit) with a section of straw taped to the back so it can slide easily on the fishing line.
painter’s tape or some way to string the fishing line across your primary room
4 inflated balloons
a pin to pop the balloons with
Here’s what we’ll do:
Before church I will tape some fishing line (with the boat strung on it) to the wall, with a piece of wide painter’s tape on each end (no tape in the middle). After the lesson part of sharing time we’ll sing Nephi’s Courage and I’ll have a helpful teacher ready to tape four balloons to the wall so that the balloons hold up the string and block the path of the boat. This way the kids are dying in anticipation.
Then I will teach verse 2 of CTR using ASL because the signs are such good visuals for the big vocab words. I really love this verse. I think that even though the words are big this verse has the most powerful idea of the whole song: ‘When you are tempted have faith that there is a right choice. The Holy Ghost will tell it to you and keep you safe.’ In other words: ‘God loves you and wants you to come home to him. He will not leave you alone.’ This is such an important message for the kids to understand!! This kind of idea will help them through the tough times they will have as they become young adults. I am really excited to teach it to them, and I pray that I can help the Holy Ghost it stick in their heads and hearts forever.
So after I bear my testimony about the message of the song, then I will finally explain the balloons and the boat.
Each balloon will represent an occasion where Nephi had an opportunity to choose the right. (FYI I really struggled to cut this down to something that might just barely fit into 10 minutes)
1. Go into the wilderness with his father.
2. Go back to get the plates and kill Laban.
3. Go back for Ishmael’s family.
4. Build a boat.
We will move the boat along the string until it reaches a balloon. While my helper moves the boat we will sing verse two (without the chorus). The we will talk about Nephi’s choice and the blessings that came from it: to Nephi, to his family and descendants, and to us in the latter days. We may sing a song to give us a hint or confirm the idea. The pianist will start playing the song when we pop the balloon.
Here is the order of songs:
1. CTR verse 2 (yes I know we just sang this!! I love it though and it answers the question: what blessing did Nephi get by following his father into the wilderness? He was safe. Since we just sang CTR we will sing Follow the Prophet p 110 while the boat travels to the next balloon. Nephi followed the prophet when he left Jerusalem.)
2. Search, Ponder, and Pray p 109 (He got the Scriptures why are the scriptures such a blessing? they teach us what is right, eg. all the prophets in the Book of Mormon could know the truth so they could write the BoM and teach Joseph Smith and every other Mormon until today: all your family and teachers, etc can know the truth because of the scripures. 1 Nephi 4:15 The spirit said that the only way to get the plates was to kill Laban 1 Nephi 4:13 so that we could have them. Sometimes the right choice is not the easy choice, or even the nice choice. Sometimes we have to be strong and stand for right.)
3. I love to see the Temple 2 verses p 95 (The families were able to get married and have children. Otherwise there would have been not Lamanites or Nephites.)
5. Book of Mormon Stories pg 118 (They got the promised land)
My hope is that by identifying the blessings Nephi received and how they bless us today, the kids will have a good understanding of what a blessing is so they can identify them in their own lives. And that they will gain a testimony of how our loving Father in Heaven is just waiting for us to do what is right so we can benefit from the good gifts he has planned for us. I know he is.