“Sharing Time: Obey the Law,” Friend, Oct. 1995, 12
Have you ever tried to play a game with someone who doesn’t know the rules? You end up spending all your time deciding whose turn it is or what should happen next. When each person who is playing the game knows the rules and follows them, everyone can have fun.
We also need rules or laws to help us live together in safety and peace. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe in honoring and obeying the laws of the countries where we live.
Jesus knew that it was important to obey the laws of the land. In the country where He lived, Caesar was the ruler. When the people asked Jesus if they should obey the law, He told the people to “render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). In other words, Jesus taught us to obey and honor both the laws of the land, or nation, we live in, and God’s laws.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have given us certain laws to live by so that we can be happy in this life and prepare to live with Them again. The rules and laws in our countries are meant to help us live together in safety and peace with our neighbors. We also have rules in our families to help us live, work, and play together in love and harmony.
Each country has laws that need to be obeyed. For example, Trevor, age 6, of Japan said, “When we walk to school, we can only walk where the cars cannot go.” Ji Hae, age 10, of Korea added, “In my country, you cannot drive a car unless you have a license.” According to David, age 9, of Canada, “In my country, we are not supposed to take drugs.” Annie, age 11, of China explained, “When I ride my bike in China, I must obey traffic laws. We do not ride bikes on sidewalks in China. Our sidewalks are for people who are walking.” Kirstie, age 8, of England shared, “When you drive, you mustn’t go over the speed limit. When you work and earn money, you have to pay taxes.”
A coat of arms tells a story about a family and often includes a motto, or rule, the family tries to live by. In some countries, coats of arms have been used for centuries. Using the pattern on page 13, design your own coat of arms. Write your name in the banner at the bottom of the shield. In one section of the shield, draw a picture of your country’s flag. In another section, draw a picture of something that represents your family. In another section draw something that illustrates one of God’s laws. In the last section, draw something that represents you (a picture of yourself; a soccer ball; a musical instrument; your favorite color, animal, book, or place; your house). Think of a motto and write it in the banner at the top of the shield. You may choose from this list or think of another one: “I Am a Child of God,” “Love One Another,” “I Will Follow Jesus,” “I Love Truth,” “Choose the Right.”
Invite the children to list some of the laws of their country and community on the blackboard, a large piece of paper, or whatever is available. Help each child make a copy to take home to share with his family in a family home evening.
Have the children make a large picture of the flag of their country. Paste it on a poster or large paper. With each child drawing one person, create pictures representing many different people (old, young, boy, girl, dark, light, etc.) who live in your country. Paste them around the picture of the flag. Discuss how so many different people need to obey laws so that they can live together in peace. The poster could be shared with the bishop.
Invite everyone to stand in a circle. Use three different colors of beanbags—one for the laws of God, one for the laws of the land, and one for family laws. The leader begins by gently tossing a beanbag to a child who must then state one law or rule of God, country, or home that he or she should obey. Make sure that each child has a turn.
Invite each child to draw a picture of herself or himself obeying a rule or law. Encourage each child to explain her or his drawing to the group. This is an activity children could share in a family home evening.
Using toy blocks, rocks, or pieces of paper, have younger children create on the floor a town with roads. Using toy cars, demonstrate what might happen when drivers do not obey laws. If you have any toy figures, children could also demonstrate what might happen to people who do not obey traffic laws. If no toy cars or figures are available, children could draw them on cards or pieces of paper.
Write on pieces of paper different situations in which someone did not obey a law. Fold and place the papers in a container. Invite a child to choose a paper and read the situation (you read the situations for younger children). Ask another child to tell what rule or law was broken and how the situation could have been different if the law had been obeyed. Be sure that each child has an opportunity to participate. Children could also act out the situations and let others guess the law that is being broken.
Invite each child to make a small drawing representing someone obeying a law. Tape the picture to a stick. Have each child explain his or her picture, then stand it up in a hole made in a cardboard box or empty egg carton. Invite the bishop or another priesthood leader to come to Primary during another Sharing Time to see the display of pictures and to reinforce to the Primary children the importance of obeying laws.
Have the children sit on the floor in a circle with their hands folded. The leader calls out a number, then pats the hands of the person sitting next to him while saying “One.” That person then pats the hands of the person on the other side of him and says, “Two.” Go on around the circle until they arrive at the number the leader called to begin with. That person tells one law we should obey and indicates if it is a law of the land, a law of God, or a family rule. Then that person calls out a number and pats the hands of the person sitting next to him, saying “One.” Continue around the circle until the number that was called is reached. Play until every child has had a chance to say a law or rule.