“Sharing Time: Courage,” Friend, July 1998, 12
The scriptures are full of stories of men and women who showed great courage. They chose the right even when their lives were in danger. They were strong and faithful to their beliefs when they had to stand alone. They kept going when it would have been easy to give up.
When we read the scriptures often, the stories of these brave men and women live in our minds and hearts and help to give us courage. Nephi’s brothers thought they couldn’t possibly get the plates from a powerful man like Laban. They didn’t want to try. But Nephi said, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.” Nephi had courage, and he had faith in Jesus Christ. He knew that the Lord would help him, and he was ready to do his part. (See 1 Ne. 3:1–9.)
Esther knew that the king of Persia could kill people who came to see him in his throne room before they were invited. She also knew that she had to ask the king for help or all her people would be slain. Esther had courage. She asked for her people to fast and pray for her, and she fasted and prayed; then she went to the throne room to see the king. (See Esth. 3:13; 4:10–5:3.)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were three young men who were taken captive into Babylon. When Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, commanded all the people to worship a golden image, the three young men refused. When brought before the king for refusing to worship the idol, they told him they had promised to worship only the true God. They would not worship a false image. The king was furious and ordered his servants to throw the three young men into a fiery furnace. The fire was so hot that its flames killed the servants. But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego came out of the fire unharmed! These three young men had the courage to keep their promises. (See Dan. 3.)
Remember the courage of Abinadi in telling the people to repent (see Mosiah 11:20–29) and the courage of young Joseph Smith in seeing Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and then daring to tell others and to found the Church (see JS—H 1:11–20). Think of Moroni’s courage in guarding the golden plates year after year all alone (see Morm. 8:1–5). Remember the pioneers who left their comfortable homes and went forward with courage into the wilderness (see D&C 136:1–11). When you read the scriptures prayerfully, your own courage to live righteously will grow.
Instructions: Read the descriptions near the bottom of this page. Then fill in the blanks with the correct names. The shaded area will reveal an important character trait possessed by many scripture heroes. Cut out the pictures on the bottom of the page and glue each in the box next to the correct name.
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One of the young men King Nebuchadnezzar had thrown into the fiery furnace. (See Dan. 3:20–21.)
The modern prophet who would not deny that he had seen a vision. (See JS—H 1:25.)
A great missionary after the death of Jesus Christ. (See Acts 26:28–29.)
The prophet who was courageous in front of the army of Syria. (See 2 Kgs. 6:11–17.)
Another young man King Nebuchadnezzar had thrown into the fiery furnace. (See Dan. 3:20–21.)
The Jewish queen of Persia who saved her people. (See the name of the seventeenth book in the Old Testament.)
(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook)
1. The iron rod in Lehi’s vision is “the word of God.” The scriptures contain the word of God. The word of God can give us courage. While you tell or read the vision of the tree of life (see 1 Ne. 8), have the children role-play it. (See also 1 Ne. 15:23–25 and Primary 4 manual, Lesson 4, pp. 12–15.) Give name cards to the main characters to wear, and let the classes represent the different groups of people in the vision. You might provide simple costumes such as a head covering, a sash, and a belt worn diagonally. You could also have simple props or pictures for the tree, the rod, and the spacious building. Finish by reading 1 Nephi 15:23–25 [1 Ne. 15:23–25], then have all the children “hold to the rod” while singing “The Iron Rod” (Hymns, no. 274).
2. To help the older children memorize 1 Nephi 3:7 [1 Ne. 3:7], write the following words in groups of three down across the chalkboard: I, she, he; already went, will go, left; things, objects, articles; Apostle, Lord, Prophet; instructed, decided, commanded; I know, I believe, I think; receiveth, sendeth, giveth; children, daughters, sons; unless, even if, save; prepare, present, allow; get done, accomplish, make; commandeth, requireth, liketh. Tell the children that two words/phrases in each group don’t belong in the scripture. Ask a child to erase any wrong word(s) in a group, then pass the eraser to another child to do likewise. While the activity is going on, have an older class read 1 Nephi 3:7 aloud together at an appropriate pace. Gradually invite everyone to join in the choral reading. By the time the wrong words are erased, everyone should have read the scripture several times. Say it once more, using the key words on the chalkboard, erase half of them, repeat, erase all, and repeat. Younger children could memorize “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.” Review the stories of Nephi and the brass plates (see 1 Ne. 3, 4) and of Nephi building the ship (see 1 Ne. 17:7–19, 49–55; 1 Ne. 18:1–8). Sing “Nephi’s Courage” (CS, p. 120).
3. Prepare a reader’s theater script that tells the story of Esther and have the children read it. (See the Primary 6 manual, Lesson 38, pp. 167–171 for the story of Esther and other activity suggestions.) On pieces of paper write out a number of problem situations your children face, such as breaking the Sabbath, swearing, taking drugs or eating unhealthfully, being unkind, etc., and place them in a paper sack. Say, “Like Esther, we must represent our people and have the courage to do what is right. What would you do in the following situations?” In turn, have the children pick a paper, read it aloud, and answer the question.
4. Beforehand, invite four adults to tell the story of a scripture hero: Elisha (2 Kgs. 6:8–17), Joseph Smith (JS—H 1:25), Abinadi (Mosiah 13:7–9), Paul (Acts 26:preface, 21–23). Assign each a station in the Primary room. Divide the children into four groups and let them move from station to station. After each story, have the person telling the story give the children the scripture reference in which the prophet-hero bears his witness and have the children look it up, and have one child read it aloud. Then have the storyteller pose a modern question for one of the children to answer: “What would you do in ________ situation if you were the prophet-hero?” After they have moved to each station, have them sing “Follow the Prophet” (CS, p. 110).
5. Celebrate the contribution of pioneers by recalling some of the events of the sesquicentennial year or the original pioneer trek or some of the contributions of courageous Church pioneers in your area. Sing “To Be a Pioneer” (CS, p. 218) with the descant (optional top line of music) by having the children form a wagon wheel in the middle of the room with four spokes and a rim. The “spokes” sing the verse; the “rim” sings the descant as the children march. Invite a guest speaker to talk about the importance of pioneers in his/her life. In advance, ask some of the children to share short pioneer stories.
6. Post pictures from the Gospel Art Kit or the meetinghouse library of courageous scripture heroes. After telling a simple account of a pictured scripture hero, have the children identify the correct picture. If there is time, review the stories by handing a picture to a child and ask her/him to retell the story.
7. For additional resources on courage, see the following from the Friend: “The Lord’s Wind,” June 1997, IFC; “Pioneers Courageous,” July 1997, pp. 46–47; “Choose Ye This Day,” Aug. 1997, pp. 16–18; “My Tea Story,” Aug. 1997, pp. 40–41. See also other stories of children having courage in the “Trying to Be Like Jesus Christ” section of the Friend starting in September 1996.