Weekly Thoughts and Tips

August 2012


Recognizing the Spirit

By Tiffany Lewis
August 31, 2012

In an era of increasing noise and distraction, I find that it takes more effort than ever to help my children recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost in their lives. Here are some things that I find help.

  1. Listen to your children pray. Even as they get older, I find my kids’ prayers a good springboard for discussion: What does it mean to talk to Heavenly Father? Why would we do that? How can we hear Him respond to us? 
  2. Keep the dialogue open. In our home, we talk a lot about what the Spirit feels like. We stress that this can be different for every person. I’ll point out the feeling in the room during spiritual moments. In those blessed (and sometimes rare!) moments when everyone is getting along, I’ll say, “When we are all kind to one another, we feel the Spirit in our home.”
  3. Allow for moments and places of quiet. Have moments each day when there is no radio, TV, or computer taking up the noisy space in our homes. Turn off the music in the car and talk about spiritual things. Use the dinner table as a place to invite the Spirit. The more we do these things when our kids are young, the more they’ll not only recognize, but seek out that Spirit as they get older.

A Friend-ly Approach to Primary

By Charlotte Mae Sheppard
August 24, 2012

Some weeks my young Primary class needs a little extra help to understand how the lesson relates to them. When this happens, I know just what to do.

The week before class, I go through an issue of the Friend and mark stories relating to the coming Sunday’s lesson. If my class needs one more example to understand a lesson concept, I pull out my annotated issue and read them a story.

While my class has always loved the longer, illustrated stories, lately I’ve found they respond even better to the short child submissions found in “Show and Tell.” I read only the first part of each story, then ask them to guess what the child in the story did next. They really enjoy it!

While nothing can replace the lesson manual, I find the Friend to be an excellent supplementary resource. Whether it’s through a narrative or anecdote, sometimes the best way for my class members to understand a gospel principle is to see a child like them demonstrating that principle in action.

No Place Like Home

By Marissa Widdison
August 17, 2012

I liked the story "Leute's Home" in this month's edition of the Friend. It includes a bird's-eye diagram of a Samoan home that points out how different parts of the home invite the Spirit. I realized that we could do a similar activity in our own home by drawing our floor plan and identifying how we could make our home a more sacred place. Taking a look at what art we displayed, for example, prompted us to put a picture of the Savior in our living room.

Testimony FHE

By Tiffany Lewis
August 10, 2012

Once a month, we turn our family home evening lesson into a mini testimony meeting. It’s a tradition we borrowed from my husband’s parents. With nine kids, they were looking for a simple family night lesson, and the testimony meeting was the outgrowth of that simplicity. What impressed me about my husband’s family was the confidence they each have in sharing their testimonies both in public and private settings due to that once-a-month FHE. In our own home, the family testimony meeting has provided some special moments. Every member of the family bears his or her testimony, from the parents down to the toddler.

Last month's Friend magazine featured an activity about testimonies that you can access here.

Getting to Know the Prophet

By Hilary Watkins Lemon
August 3, 2012

In our home, we look forward to general conference and love to listen to our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. We feel like we get to know him a little better each time he shares stories about his life or reads a favorite poem.

Still, like most people, we don’t know President Monson personally. Starting this month, we’ll learn more about this great man as the Friend prints stories from his life. There will be stories in August, September, and October of this year, and then stories periodically throughout 2013.

These stories will provide a great opportunity to teach kids about biographies. You could clip or photocopy the President Monson stories to make a booklet about his life. Children could make covers for the booklets and include their own stories about how they've been blessed by following the prophet. Or perhaps they could write or draw a biographical story about someone else they respect.