“I Have a Question,” Ensign, Apr. 2000, 61
Johnette Fowler, Primary president, Las Cruces First Ward, Las Cruces New Mexico Stake.
In a Church statement announcing that the Primary Achievement Days program would be broadened to include Primary children ages 8 through 11, parents were reminded of the increasing need to spiritually strengthen children at an early age against the world’s immoral influences (see “Policies and Announcements,” Ensign, Dec. 1994, 72).
Primary Achievement Days are designed to help children “become the kind of person [they] and Heavenly Father would like [them] to be” (My Achievement Days [booklet, item no. 35317], 1). Achievement Days activities help children develop their testimonies, live gospel principles, grow close to their families, learn new skills, make friends, and learn how to set and complete goals. These midweek activities may be held twice each month in the ward meetinghouse or in the homes of Primary teachers, leaders, or children (see My Achievement Days, 17).
In many areas boys can achieve these objectives through Scouting activities. The original instructions to priesthood leaders on Achievement Days said, “Scouting programs will continue to be the achievement days activities for boys in areas where the Scouting program is available” (Ensign, Dec. 1994, 72). But in areas where Scouting is not available, leaders have found that young boys as well as girls get significant growth through Achievement Days activities.
Activities should focus on the application of gospel principles taught in Sunday Primary lessons in order to strengthen children in meeting daily challenges and living gospel principles in the home.
Ideas suggested in the My Achievement Days booklet include activities centering on spirituality, arts and crafts, education and scholarship, family history, home and family skills, health and personal grooming, hospitality, outdoor fun and skills, personal preparedness, safety and emergency preparedness, service and citizenship, and sports and physical fitness.
Activities can include job fairs, which allow Primary leaders and teachers to demonstrate skills, share work experiences, and stress the importance of education; music fairs, which showcase the musical talents of parents and children; heritage days, which highlight the lives of children’s forefathers; and missionary preparation activities, which introduce children to the importance of sharing the gospel as well as to food, clothing, customs, and languages from different nations.
Children get the most out of Achievement Days activities when parents are supportive, enthusiastic, and actively involved in their children’s gospel education.
Church leaders have counseled parents to assume a major role in teaching their children the principles and ordinances of the gospel. Achievement Days can help parents fulfill this responsibility if they will encourage their children to attend, help them set realistic goals, and volunteer time, talents, and knowledge to help make those activities successful.