Weekly Thoughts and Tips

December 2014


Eternal Goals

By Marissa Widdison
December 26, 2014

Young girl writing

Lots of people will be setting New Year's resolutions over the next week or so, which makes it a great time to talk with children about their goals and dreams! The January Friend has an article that we can use to help children stay focused on goals that are eternally important. This story, told by Sister Wixom, is about a girl who makes a "Top-10 List" of lifelong dreams. Kids can use the next page to make a list of their own. Do we have a vision of the plan Heavenly Father has for us? It might not be a bad idea for us grown-ups to make lists too!

Share the Gift!

December 19, 2014

Share the Gift sign

The first gift of Christmas was not wrapped. It was a gift of life, of hope—given by a loving Father to all of His children. Gift giving began when our loving Father in Heaven gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Redeemer and Exemplar. We can come unto Him by sharing His example of love and service with others. How can you follow Him and share the gift this year?

Visit the #ShareTheGift campaign on mormon.org.

Print a ShareTheGift sign that members of your family can fill out. Then take a photo to share with your friends and family on social media.

Use this story and these lesson ideas from this month’s Friend to talk with your family about giving good gifts this Christmas!

Joseph Smith’s Testimony in Your Own Voice

By Jocelyn Christensen
December 12, 2014

Joseph Smith pamphlets in 12 languages

After listening to Elder Andersen's most recent general conference talk, we decided as a family to learn about Joseph Smith, read his testimony, and then record it in our own voices. This happened over the course of a few family home evenings. We took turns saying parts of his testimony of the First Vision on camera. We also recorded ourselves sharing our own testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This was a great opportunity to strengthen our testimonies! We found out what our children already know and understand about the Prophet Joseph, and identified areas where we need to help them learn and grow in their testimonies. Plus it was a lot of fun to watch ourselves on camera!

Editorial note: Did you that Joseph Smith’s birthday is coming up? It’s December 23rd! Here’s a pamphlet you can use to learn about his life and the First Vision.

A Christmas Song Dilemma

By Reyna Aburto, Primary general board
December 5, 2014

Children singing in church

Years ago, I was asked to substitute for the Primary music leader for a few weeks. It was the beginning of December, and the children had started learning a particular Christmas song. It quickly became obvious to me that they enjoyed singing that song because they would sing it with all their might and voice!

Since the song described the sacred moments in which our Savior was born, I felt impressed to help them sing it in a more reverent manner. I remember offering a sincere and humble prayer after that Sunday, asking for inspiration on how to accomplish that. I thought about it the whole week, but nothing specific came to my mind. I started to worry as the week came to an end. Finally, on Sunday morning, I received a strong impression about what to do. I got the answer I was looking for.

When it was time to review the song with the Primary children, I briefly described to them the setting in which the events related in the song took place. I then asked them to close their eyes, to imagine that we were all witnessing that significant and sacred moment, and to sing the song with their hearts full of love and reverence towards the little Child that lay in the manger. A miracle happened!  After we sang the song we opened our eyes, and every one of us— children and adults—had eyes filled with tears. We had all felt the true meaning of the song and had sung it with love and reverence. It was a cherished and sacred moment in which we were united in song and in spirit.

On page 91 of Teaching, No Greater Call, we find this inspired counsel: “The methods you use to teach gospel truths will help develop learners’ sensitivity toward sacred things. ... Whenever you consider using a particular method, ask yourself the following questions to ensure that the method is appropriate. Will the method invite the Spirit? … Does the method match the sacredness of the principles I am teaching?”