Boy: I love the Savior because He loves me.
Girl: When I’m mad or sad, He helps me feel better.
Boy: He loves each one of us, even if we’re different.
Girl: If I saw Jesus, the first thing I would do is say, “Thank you for all of the wonderful things you gave us.”
Boy: He sacrifices Himself for all of us.
Boy: I feel my Savior’s love when I take the sacrament.
Girl: The Savior is very important because He comforts me and He makes me really happy.
Girl: From Jesus I learn not to be rude or mean.
Girl: When I hear songs I think about Jesus. I feel happy and warm inside.
Girl: I want to follow Jesus because He’s the perfect example.
Boy: Even though I can’t see my Savior, I still know that He’s real.
Girl: I know that He really cares about people.
Girl: The peace of my Savior’s love at home helps us so much through these crazy times.
Boy: If I knew Jesus was coming to my house tomorrow, then I would ask Him if I could feel the nail prints in His hands, because He died for me.
[Song: “I Feel My Savior’s Love”]
President Camille N. Johnson: Hello, Primary leaders! I am delighted to be with you today. I believe you have the best callings in the Church. Is there anything better than being with those precious and capable children? They are so full of hope and light, and so eager to learn and grow.
You have been called and set apart to help these wonderful children build their faith in the Savior and learn to follow Him. Today I offer a few suggestions to help them build their faith in Jesus Christ and recognize the Spirit, but I want to remind you that the Lord invites each of you to receive personal revelation on how you can serve in your Primary calling. I hope you’ll listen for those impressions today. As you follow them and counsel together as leaders and teachers, the Lord will guide you to meet the needs of the children you serve.
Brothers and sisters, the Children and Youth program points our children to heaven. Children and youth are invited to engage with heaven and seek personal revelation about how they can become more like the Savior. The Lord trusts them to do so. This inspired program encourages children and youth to involve the Lord in their daily efforts, whether they be spiritual, social, physical, or intellectual.
Our job is to support them through gospel learning, service and activities, and personal development. So let’s talk about each of these elements of Children and Youth and what role you Primary leaders play, beginning with gospel learning.
The positive experiences children have learning about the Savior in Sunday classes and singing time can bless them for a lifetime. Teachers, we are so grateful for your efforts.
And gospel learning does not just happen in person on Sunday. For the past year or more, Primary gatherings have been limited. And in some places, that’s still the case. Yet your creativity and inspiration have been on full display. Notes, gifts, phone calls, Zoom calls, window visits, care packages, drive-by visits, and even parades have been part of your offering. I know of one Primary presidency who delivered some chalk to each child’s home and encouraged the children to draw a picture of their favorite scripture story on the sidewalk.
This past year has taught us that there are many ways to teach about the Savior and minister to children outside of our formal Sunday classes. As we come out of the pandemic, we hope you Primary leaders will continue to seek inspiration and find creative ways to help children feel the Savior’s love and learn His gospel.
Another thing we hope you will do is help these tender children learn to recognize the Holy Ghost. Children feel His influence. Brothers and sisters, are you pointing it out? Are you helping these dear children recognize the warm, comforting, sure manifestations of the Spirit? Learning to receive and recognize personal revelation is key to the Children and Youth program; it is key to the personal conversion of our Primary children; and it is key to staying on the covenant path! These children need to know how to engage heaven and recognize when it’s happening.
I want to share an experience I had in a Primary singing time just a few weeks ago. The music leader was teaching the children a song. Then she paused and testified to the children about a truth in the song. The room was filled with reverent silence as the children pondered what she said. The presence of the Spirit was apparent. Then the music leader said something like, “I can feel the Holy Ghost right now, and you may be feeling it too.” I witnessed as this sweet leader helped the children recognize that what they were feeling was the Holy Ghost testifying to them about the truth in the song.
Brothers and sisters, please help the children you serve feel and recognize the Holy Ghost. President Nelson has told our rising generation, “You can learn for yourself—right now, at your age—how to receive personal revelation. And nothing will make a bigger difference in your life than that!” And I know nothing will! Help the children develop this one skill, and they will be able to receive heaven’s help as they strive to make choices to stay on the covenant path.
Another way Primary leaders can help children draw closer to Jesus Christ is through service and activities. We have a short video that demonstrates this.
Female: Every month we have activities from the new program.
Girl: We are making bread for the sacrament.
Boy: To me, it is important because it represents the body of Jesus Christ.
Female: We are having a Primary activity. They are trying to exercise.
Boy: We do social, intellectual, and physical.
Boy: We also learn more about Jesus Christ.
Female: Sister Gutierrez is going to show you how to make a huge poster called a vision board.
Boy: Like physical: I want to eat healthier.
Girl: I want to learn more about my family history.
Boy: We popped balloons and memorized the Articles of Faith.
Girl: It makes me happy and makes me closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Boy: We’re playing charades for physical goals.
Boy: You look at the word, then you act it out, and someone is trying to guess what it is.
Girl: We’re doing the Articles of Faith Jeopardy.
Girl: I like it because we get to get together and have fun.
Children: We love Primary!
President Johnson: I loved hearing the little girl say, “It makes me happy and makes me closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.” It’s wonderful to see how children are building their faith together through service and activities.
Activities leaders, I hope you never doubt how important your calling is. Service and activities provide critical opportunities for children to build relationships and feel the Spirit. Where it’s safe and authorized, start holding in-person activities at least monthly. If it is feasible to do them more frequently, even better!
If it’s still not safe to meet in person, please consider activities you can do with children virtually or that you can provide them to do individually at home. Look for ways you can keep them serving and learning. Minister. This will show the children that you love and support them.
I also suggest finding out from the children and their parents what activities will benefit them. If you need more ideas, the Children and Youth website is a wonderful resource.
The third way Primary leaders support children is through personal development. In the year a child turns eight, encourage him or her to prayerfully, with the help of the Spirit, set and work on goals in the four areas we learn about in Luke 2:52. This will happen mostly at home, but your role as a leader is still very important.
In addition to encouraging goals, you can support each child’s growth in every lesson, singing time, and activity, and throughout the other parts of their lives. Here are some ways you can help:
Look for opportunities to point out how children are becoming more like Jesus Christ spiritually, intellectually, physically, and socially.
Find ways to encourage them to work on their goals. That doesn’t mean you should track personal goals, but you can encourage effort and progress. Offer support as needed. You may also consider setting a group or class goal.
Get to know and love each child individually. Talk with them and their parents about ways you can help them in their development. Brothers and sisters, please give special attention to those without support at home.
Primary leaders, we are so grateful for all you do to serve the children of the Church. We know that you are guided by the Lord as you strive to help these children follow the covenant path and bind themselves to the Savior. We hope that you will prayerfully help the children to whom you have been called to minister use the Children and Youth program and invite the Spirit into their lives. It is their tool for accomplishing the work of salvation and exaltation. May the Lord bless you in your efforts.
Next, President Bonnie H. Cordon, our Young Women General President, and President Steven J. Lund, Young Men General President, will share some ideas for adult leaders of youth.