Weekly Thoughts and Tips

November 2014


Christmas around the World

By Jill Hacking
November 28, 2014

Young boy holding a star

The Christmas season is here, and it’s a great opportunity to learn how people around the world celebrate the birth of Christ. The December 2014 Friend features an advent calendar to help your family do just that! Print the calendar and hang it somewhere your family can see it over the next month. Cut out an ornament for each of the 12 days leading up to Christmas and read about a Christmas tradition from a different country.

Be sure to check out the December Friend for other great ideas to help your family learn about and celebrate the birth of Christ.

Using Sign Language in Primary

By Jocelyn Christensen
November 21, 2014

People sitting in sacrament meeting while two women use sign language

While we were in Utah, we attended church in a deaf ward.

It was so neat to watch my brother-in-law bless his child using sign language, to sing hymns as the congregation signed, and to watch the sacrament being blessed with signs. People prayed with their eyes open to see what was being said! And everyone helped each other.

While we were visiting, the children were learning a song about baptism. We learned the sign for the word baptism, and whenever we did that sign, we were asked to stand. This made the lesson very fun and interactive—and I will probably never forget the sign for baptism! It reminded me that sign language is not just for those who cannot hear. Signs can be taught to anyone to engage them in the lesson and allow them to be “active” while learning.   

Here are a list of some basic signs that might be helpful in a Primary setting: baptism, pray, Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, please, thank you, help, blessings, family, always, scriptures, prophet, commandment, Amen.

Click here to learn how to sign Primary songs.

Click here for a dictionary of LDS sign language terms.

Focusing on Gratitude

By Marissa Widdison
November 14, 2014

Paper leaf with words written on it

In many cultures, autumn is a time of gratitude and thanksgiving. Now would be a great time to start a gratitude tree with your family! Here are the instructions that were published in the November 2013 Friend. You can also look under the topic of “Gratitude” here on the Resources for Teaching Children site to find quotes, stories, and activities that will help your holiday season get off on the right start—centered on gratitude and Christ. And don’t forget to check this month’s magazine for great new stuff—like this story about a boy who learns to be grateful for the goodness of his stepfather.

Express the Positive

By Joy Jones, Primary general board
November 7, 2014

Little girl with heart cutout around her face held up by a teacher

I enjoyed visiting a Primary where the leaders had invited the parents and teachers of the Primary children to recognize the children’s “shining moments.” The simple challenge helped these adults look for and speak encouragingly about the children’s divine attributes. The intention was to help the children grow in faith and in testimony of the goodness that comes from righteous living.

Children love to hear reminders of their eternal identity and purpose. Primary general president, Rosemary M. Wixom stated, “How we speak to our children and the words we use can encourage and uplift them and strengthen their faith to stay on the path back to Heavenly Father. They come to this earth ready to listen” (“The Words We Speak,” Ensign, May 2013, 81).

Do we look for the divine in children and speak accordingly? Do we endeavor to see them as the Savior sees them? We can acknowledge and encourage their righteous efforts. “When children are criticized or spoken to in a negative way, they often feel inadequate or rejected. They may try to gain attention by disturbing other children or otherwise misbehaving. On the other hand, positive comments will help them understand that you expect the best from them. Recognize and thank them for the good things they do, and ignore minor problems. As you do so, they will begin to feel that they are accepted, loved and understood” (Teaching, No Greater Call, page 80).

What “shining moments” have you witnessed in a child today?