Weekly Thoughts and Tips

March 2015


Getting Ready for Easter

By Marissa Widdison
March 27, 2015

Friend magazine layout

We often count down the days until Christmas with an advent calendar that helps children learn about the true meaning of the season. Why not do the same for Easter? Help kids focus less on candy and more on Christ with an activity on pages 24–25 of this month’s Friend. Starting Sunday the 29th, match the picture with the description, scripture, and question for each day. Or go through them all at once and use the questions as talking points for a ready-made family home evening! You could laminate the pictures and chart to make it durable enough to use next year, too. By focusing on the life and mission of Jesus Christ, our families can feel the joy of Easter more than ever before.

Sharing a Singing Time Secret

By Marci Monson
March 20, 2015

Woman leading music while holding a picture of President Monson

Did you know there are more verses to the song “Follow the Prophet” than the nine found in the Children’s Songbook? As I got ready to teach the children in my ward’s Primary this song, I found a handful of new verses that were published in the Friend magazine years ago. While the Songbook verses are about Old Testament prophets, these new verses include prophets from the Book of Mormon and modern days.

For example, in the March 2010 Friend there is a new verse for President Monson! It's a good reminder that we have a living prophet on the earth today. And in the June 2001 issue, there are new verses for Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Nephi, and Samuel the Lamanite. My kids love acting out the arrow scenes from Samuel's song! This article also encourages teachers to write their own verses. I think it’d be fun to write a verse for one of the New Testament prophets and teach the children a verse from each of the books of scripture. Which prophet would you like to see have his own verse?

Missionary Letters for FHE

By Jocelyn Christensen
March 13, 2015

World map with picture of young girl and older woman pasted on

Our home is undergoing some major construction projects, so we’ve had very little time and space for family home evening lessons recently. While thinking about how we could continue to create good FHE experiences, I felt inspired to use family night to teach our children about members of our family who have served missions. I started by emailing our extended family and asking them to write “missionary letters” to our kids. I asked them to share what they did to prepare for a mission, where and when they served, any special experiences they had, and any life lessons they learned while on their mission. Now we read a letter during family night, let the kids guess who wrote it, and focus on something memorable from what was shared.

For example, one aunt wrote about how people in Brazil—where she served her mission—clap their hands in front of homes instead of knocking on doors. For an activity, the kids enjoyed practicing clapping as loud as they could. Another aunt served an American Sign Language mission and told us about how she prepared at a young age to serve the Lord. I asked my daughter to help me with that lesson by writing down a very basic testimony and then learning it in sign language. It was really powerful to see her writing, saying, and signing her testimony for us at family night! 

We are keeping these letters in a binder, and we love to mark a map in our home to show where family members have served. We’re getting to know members of our family as well as gaining valuable insight into what it means to prepare for and serve a full-time mission. This inspired FHE plan has been more than just a solution for a time-crunched mom—it’s become a true testimony-builder for our family.

Sharing Testimony

By Joy Jones, Primary general board
March 6, 2015

Primary teacher at the front of a primary class

What does sharing and bearing testimony mean to us as parents, teachers, and leaders of children?

Testimony can be shared in simple and informal ways that children easily understand and respond to. I witnessed the sweet influence of the Spirit as a teacher in a Primary class expressed, “I know the scriptures are true,” and as a leader in sharing time testified, “I know that Heavenly Father loves each one of us.” I listened as a mother shared a personal experience from her childhood to testify of and express gratitude for prayer.

Our testimonies can strengthen children and help them recognize their own growing testimonies. Testimony welcomes the Spirit of God. The Holy Ghost testifies of truth, and it is through His power that we “may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5). Teaching, No Greater Call encourages us this way: “We must testify that what we teach is true. … This is the crowning seal placed on gospel teaching—the personal witness of the teacher that the doctrine he has taught is true!” (page 10)

May we all be sensitive to the Spirit in seeking opportunities to stand as witnesses of the truth as we love and teach our children.