Weekly Thoughts and Tips

November 2012


Did you know…

By Marissa Widdison
November 30, 2012

It's nice to be able to read Church magazine articles online at ChurchofJesusChrist.org. But did you know that you can also see these articles with art or listen to them in audio form? When you open an article, look on the right-hand side of the page. There may be a button there that says "Download." Click on that button and explore the drop-down menu that appears. Clicking on "PDF" or "Text" will give you a version of the article that looks exactly like what is printed in the magazine—including the illustrations that add meaning to the stories and activities. Clicking on "Audio" will give you an MP3 version of the article being read out loud. Whether you're simply reading online or burning a CD of favorite stories for your children, these hidden treasures are bound to help you think of creative new ways to use the monthly magazines.

The Power of Inclusion

By Staci Yamada Hartline
November 23, 2012

As parents and teachers, we have the opportunity to create a learning environment where every child can learn and be an example to each other—including children with disabilities.

I recently spoke to one Primary teacher who invited her class to help a classmate with a disability. Week after week, this Primary teacher noticed how willing the children were to push Katelyn’s wheelchair down the hallway. They jumped at the opportunity to help Katelyn put on headphones that muffled the high-pitched sounds that agitated her during singing time. As Katelyn’s peers prepared for saying a prayer by folding their arms and bowing their heads, Katelyn would watch closely and copy what her friends were doing, her head falling slowly to her chest. Katelyn’s peers would whisper words of encouragement to Katelyn for doing something they knew took more effort for her. These simple acts provided opportunities for each child to serve and better understand the differences of others.

At the same time, the Primary teacher observed the powerful example of Katelyn’s friendship on the other children. Katelyn’s presence created a happy and loving environment. This Primary teacher knew she was observing meaningful friendships develop that will be strengthened as the children move together from one class to the next.

Attitude of Gratitude

By Marissa Widdison
November 16, 2012

With Christmas right around the corner, how can we help children remember what they are grateful for instead of dwelling on their wish lists? We've had sweet experiences counting our blessings by creating some sort of gratitude board in a high-traffic area. One year we covered the back door of our apartment with butcher paper and encouraged everyone to write what they were thankful for as they came and went. It was fun to see the paper fill up with multi-colored phrases and illustrations! If you are worried about little ones coloring on the walls, you could create a tree out of brown paper and attach it to the wall. Then cut leaves out of colorful paper and have everyone write on those instead. It's humbling to see how much we have to be thankful for when we take time to highlight daily blessings.

Teaching Them to Serve Today

By Hilary Watkins Lemon
November 9, 2012

During general conference President Monson announced new age requirements (18 for men and 19 for women) for those who want to serve missions. Along with great excitement, I felt a new urgency to help prepare the children I know to serve as missionaries—especially now that many may choose to leave a year or two sooner.

The November 2012 issue of the Friend includes three missionary elements: a fun activity that teaches a daily missionary schedule, an activity about answering the questions of friends, and a simplified version of the song “I Want to Be a Missionary Now.” You could use these to invite your children or students to develop good missionary habits and not shy away from important questions. 

In no time, a new generation of missionaries will be prepared to bring the gospel to the world!

Mapping Out the Scriptures

By Tiffany Lewis
November 2, 2012

One of the ways we involve the kids in daily scripture study is with a dry-erase board. It works especially well in the “war” chapters of Alma, where we diagram the movements of the Nephite and Lamanite armies. In other areas of the scriptures we can create maps, make a list of character traits, draw what the Jaredite barges might have looked like, or copy a favorite scripture for us all to memorize.