“Sharing Time: I Will Make Important Choices Now,” Friend, Nov. 1997, 14
Have you ever had an old pair of shoes that suddenly started to hurt your toes, or a pair of pants that seemed to get shorter and tighter every time you put them on? Your shoes and clothes weren’t really getting smaller. You were getting bigger and taller! You are growing very quickly now; your body is changing every day. The important choices you make now can help you have a strong, healthy body that can resist disease. A strong, healthy body is a blessing to you now and in the future.
You can make important choices to exercise, to get enough rest, and to keep your body clean. You can also choose to avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. These choices will bless you and your body now and in the future.
Like your body, your spirit is changing. It is growing in knowledge, understanding, and testimony. Just like your body, your spirit needs food. Reading the scriptures feeds your spirit. Attending your Sunday meetings, partaking of the Sacrament, praying every day, and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost will help to keep your spirit strong and growing, will help you avoid sin and sorrow, and will bring you blessings now and for the rest of your life.
Instructions: Mount page 15 on heavy paper or lightweight cardboard, then carefully cut out each picture ring. Form the rings by gluing the ends of each strip together. Place the rings inside each other, with Ring 1 on the inside and Ring 3 on the outside (see illustration). Place this reminder about making important choices where you will see it often.
1. Explain that habits are formed by doing something over and over and that our habits become the pattern for our life. Let the children share some things that have become habits for them. Discuss with them that habits can be good or bad. Explain that they can develop righteous habits, such as praying, scripture reading, thinking of the Savior, obedience, tithing, honesty, using the names of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father reverently, caring for their belongings, helping make home a happy place. These habits can bless their lives now and in the future. Give each child a pencil, a piece of paper, and an envelope. Have her/him write on her/his paper a righteous habit she/he would like to begin forming, then put it in her/his envelope. Tell the children to take their papers out each morning and read them to help remember their goals.
2. Sing “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” (Children’s Songbook, p. 169). Explain that even though they are young, they can prepare now to serve a mission. Ask them to tell you some ways they can prepare to share the gospel. Write each suggestion on a piece of paper and “pack” it into an open suitcase. Sing “The Things I Do” (Children’s Songbook, p. 170). Discuss how they can be missionaries right now, without leaving home. Let each child write a short note to a missionary serving from your ward/branch, or invite missionaries serving in your area to talk to the children about the joys of being on a mission.
3. Invite three adult ward/branch members to portray Samuel (1 Sam. 3:1–10, 19), Mormon (Morm. 1:1–3), and Joseph Smith (JS—H 1:7–20). Explain that these prophets were selected by the Lord when they were young to do an important work. Help the children understand that even though they are young, the righteous choices they are making right now are important and can bless their lives and the lives of others.
4. Explain to the younger children that loving one another is an important commandment. Tell them that when they love others and show their love through words and actions, it is pleasing to Heavenly Father. Have them sit in a circle and pass a beanbag or soft toy around while singing “Jesus Said Love Everyone” (Children’s Songbook, p. 61). Each time you finish the song, have the child holding the beanbag tell how they show their love for others. Discuss the importance of loving everyone and treating them kindly. Sing from the Children’s Songbook, “Love One Another,” p. 136, and “I’ll Walk with You,” p. 140.
5. Invite the bishop/branch president to discuss the questions he asks during a baptismal interview. Have him tell how these questions are similar to the questions asked during a priesthood ordination interview and a temple recommend interview. Ask him to explain how preparing to make and keep baptismal covenants can also help prepare for other covenants in the future.
6. Prepare a fishing pole with a magnet on the end of the line. Make ten colored paper fish. Write the titles of the following songs on the backs of the fish. Have the children use the pole to “catch” a fish. Sing the song, then have them guess what gospel principle that song helps them live. Songs are from the Children’s Songbook: “I Love to See the Temple,” p. 95 (prepare to go to the temple); “Help Me, Dear Father,” p. 99 (forgive and repent); “When I Am Baptized,” p. 103 (be baptized); “Listen, Listen,” p. 107 (listen to the Holy Ghost); “Search, Ponder, and Pray,” p. 109 (study the scriptures); “Follow the Prophet,” pp. 110–111 (follow the prophet); “Keep the Commandments,” pp. 146–147 (keep the commandments); “I Believe in Being Honest,” p. 149 (be honest); “I’m Glad to Pay a Tithing,” p. 150 (pay tithing); “We’ll Bring the World His Truth,” pp. 172–173 (be missionaries).
7. Set a place setting on a small table at the front of the room. Place a garbage can next to the table. Explain that they can make important choices now about the good foods and other items they might take into their bodies and the harmful substances they should avoid. Using food pictures from magazines, let them choose which items should be placed on the table and which should be thrown into the garbage can. Tell them that their choice to eat good things and avoid harmful things will help their bodies grow healthy and strong. Have them locate and read D&C 89. Suggest that they share this activity with their families.
8. Explain that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want them to be grateful for the many blessings they have been given. Read D&C 59:7, 21. Clear a space in the middle of the room. Have them stand in a circle. Select one child to be blindfolded and placed in the middle of the circle. Turn the blindfolded child around three times, then let him/her touch one of the children in the circle. The child touched names something he is grateful for, then takes his turn in the middle of the circle.