The Silver Dollar Effect: A Priesthood Leader Ponders Primary

“The Silver Dollar Effect: A Priesthood Leader Ponders Primary,” Ensign, Mar. 1986, 48

Supplement to the Primary Fireside for Parents, Leaders, and Teachers

The Silver Dollar Effect:

A Priesthood Leader Ponders Primary

A Primary leader held up two silver dollars. One was old and dull with accumulated dirt and grime. The other was a shiny new silver dollar. The old one was still very usable and had great value.

“If we rub the two together, an interesting thing happens,” he said. “The old silver dollar will lose some of its grime and will be polished by the new one.

“That’s what happens to adults who associate with children in Primary. We rub against shiny, newly minted souls. Not only are we polished, but they are further shined as they respond to the Spirit and to the gospel truths we teach them.”

I love that analogy. We must expose as many adults as we can to children. Adults need the polishing effect that comes from working with beautiful little souls. They need to be exposed to the faithfulness, the love, the trust, and the hope that reside in the hearts and minds of little children.

Sadly, however, instead of our becoming like little children, I’m afraid we spend too much time training them to become like us—sometimes despairing and distrustful; often seeking after unimportant or inappropriate things; occasionally insensitive and hateful. As adults, we must not overlook every opportunity to be cleaned off and polished up.

As priesthood leaders we must provide for, promote, and protect the functions of Primary. First, we must provide people. It is necessary to issue inspired calls to serve in the Primary. I fear that sometimes when we call people to the Primary, we are almost apologetic. Rather, we need to remind them that they can be polished spiritually as they serve beautiful, shiny new children and that teaching children carries with it the great blessing of increased understanding of the gospel. When we issue calls, we should remind people that they have an opportunity now to experience growth that will come to them in no other way.

Second, we must promote principles. We must see to it that teachers use the manuals that are carefully prepared by the Church. Teachers should be encouraged to be prayerful in their lesson preparation so their own testimonies can increase and so that principles of the gospel may be taught with clarity and power.

Third, we must protect the functions of the Primary. We must see that the programs happen. Through our interest and support, we must show the children that they are important and that we want the activities of the Primary to bless their lives.

The shiny cleanliness of children can be preserved. And as we do our part in polishing them, we can be polished ourselves. This is our great blessing and opportunity.

Brook (age 6): “My teacher is nice because she puts her arms around me.”

Illustrated by G. Allen Garns

Photography by Marty Mayo