“Sharing Time: Follow Jesus Christ,” Friend, May 1999, 44
Have you played follow-the-leader? Have you sung “Do As I’m Doing” (Children’s Songbook, page 276)? Have you played the basketball game in which the second player has to make a basket in the same way and from the same place on the court that the first player did? Have you set the table with your mom and placed the plates and flatware and glasses just the way she did?
If you’ve done any of these things, you know how to be a good follower and you are learning something. You are learning by following the example of the leader.
When Jesus Christ lived on the earth, He set a perfect example for us to follow in treating other people. He said, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15). He showed us at least three things that each of us can do: He was kind. He loved everyone. He served others.
I can be kind. Jesus taught that we can share what we have with others. We can visit people who are sick. We can make someone who is new feel welcome. Jesus did these things, and we can, too. He said that when we do these things for others, we are doing it for Him (see Matt. 25:40). When we share with others, we are not just sharing with them—we are sharing with Him. When we visit others, it is as if we are also visiting Him. When we make others feel welcome, we are making Him feel welcome, too. Surely that is why being kind helps us to have a good feeling and to feel close to our Savior.
I can love everyone. When Jesus knew that He was about to be crucified, He gave His disciples a most important commandment—to love one another the same way He loved them. He told them that people would know that they were His disciples if they followed this commandment. People will know that we are followers of Jesus Christ when they see that we are trying to love everyone.
I can serve others. Jesus spent His whole life serving others. He even gave His life for others—for us. He taught that the greatest among us would be those who serve others as He did (see Matt. 23:11). That is hard for some people to understand. They think that if everyone serves them, it means that they are very important. Jesus Christ taught a better way—to serve others by helping them, by comforting them, by treating them as He treated others.
“Follow me,” Jesus said (see John 8:12). Let us follow Him forever!
Make a “kindness bouquet.” First, mount page 45 on heavy paper or lightweight cardboard. Next, color and cut out the flowers and leaves, and glue each to a straw, an ice-cream-bar stick, or a pencil. (Use the flowers as patterns to make several of each. Or make your own.) Then, every time you see someone in your family do a kind deed, give him or her a flower and put one into a vase.
(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook)
1. Ask, “What things can we do to follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ?” Discuss what an example is. Prepare the following pictures (from the Primary picture kits) and scripture and song (from CS) references: • baptism—picture 7-7 / Matthew 3:13–17 [Matt. 3:13–17] / “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized” (p. 102) • scripture study—picture 7-6 / Luke 2:46–47 / “Search, Ponder, and Pray” (p. 109) • kindness—picture 7-21 / Luke 10:25–37 / “Kindness Begins with Me” (p. 145) • honoring parents—picture 7-5 / John 19:25–27 / “Families Can Be Together Forever” (p. 188) • teaching the gospel—picture 7-12 / Matthew 5–7 [Matt. 5–7] / “I Want to Be a Missionary Now” (p. 168) • keeping the commandments—picture 6-45 / Matthew 7:21, 24–27 [Matt. 7:21, 24–27] / “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man” (p. 281) • praying—picture 7-30 or 7-13 / Matthew 7:7–8 [Matt. 7:7–8] / “I Pray in Faith” (p. 14) • serving others—picture 7-14 (we cannot heal, but we can help) / Matthew 25:40 [Matt. 25:40] / “I’ll Walk with You” (p. 140) • loving others—picture 7-24 / John 13:34 / “Love One Another” (p. 136). Have a class representative pick a scripture-song reference from a container, and have that class show the picture. After another child has named the event, have the class representative tell what (s)he would do in a similar situation or what (s)he thinks that Jesus Christ would have her/him do. Then have the class begin humming the song, and have all the children join in singing the words as they recognize it. After each class has had a turn, finish by singing “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (CS, pp. 78–79) or “Come, Follow Me” (Hymns, no. 116). For younger children: Help them understand that we want to follow the Savior’s example. See the “Footprint activity” in Primary 2 manual, Lesson 15. Post some of the pictures listed above around the room with a pair of footprints in front of each picture. Take the children to each picture, tell what is happening, and ask, “What can we do today?” Then sing the song for that picture as each child stands briefly in the footsteps. Finish in front of a picture of Christ and sing “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (CS, pp. 78–79) or “Come, Follow Me” (Hymns, no. 116).
2. Have three boxes labeled “Peacemakers,” “Kindness,” and “Loving and Serving.” Fill the boxes with slips on which are written situations appropriate to your area and the ages of the children. Say, “We can’t do all the things that Jesus Christ did, but, like Him, we can be kind, we can be peacemakers, and we can love and serve others.” Have a child choose a box, then select and read (or you read) a situation from it. Ask, “What would you do?” or “How would you like to be treated if this happened to you?” Possible situations: Peacemakers box: • You are watching a video when your brother comes and plugs a game into the television and starts playing it without even asking. • There is one brownie left, and you have been planning to eat it as soon as you finish your homework, but when you go to get it, your sister grabs and eats it. • You are doing a math problem and make a simple mistake; your friend laughs at you and hurts your feelings. / Kindness box: • A boy who calls you a name at school is assigned as your partner for a class report; you know the material, and he doesn’t. • You are planning a party and inviting all the people in your class, but no one really knows the new student, who “talks funny,” and you aren’t sure that you want to invite her. • One of your classmates wears glasses, and the other children make fun of her and call her names. / Loving and Serving box: • At a Primary activity day, you see a teacher trying to get cookies, a baby, and a toddler out of the car and into the building. • Your mother is getting dinner ready, but your little sister keeps pulling at her to go outside to play. • Your friend had an operation and won’t be back in school for a month; he can have visitors after school but only during the time you usually play basketball with your other friends. / Older children might enjoy the “final exam” story that President Faust related in the April 1998 general conference (see Ensign, May 1998, p. 18). Sing “If the Savior Stood Beside Me” (Friend, Oct. 1993, p. 14) or “Come, Follow Me” (Hymns, no. 116).
3. One of the wonderful examples the Savior gave us was of His concern for Mary, His mother. Invite three mothers to come, but don’t let the children know who they are. They could stand behind a chalkboard or blanket or sheet. Have questions for the children to ask them, such as “What is your favorite color and why?” “What is your favorite scripture story?” “What do you like best about Sundays?” “What do you like to do in your free time?” The mothers can disguise their voices if they wish. After two questions, let the children begin to guess who the mothers are. When all the mothers are revealed, have each briefly tell the children why she is grateful that she is a mother. If paper and pencils are available, have each child write a thank-you note for his/her mother. You might even construct the note with fill-in-the-blank statements, such as “I especially appreciate the way you _________,” “I love it when you cook __________,” “Thanks for teaching me __________.” Younger children might draw something they appreciate about their mother.
4. Tell the children that we follow Christ’s example when we serve others. Obtain (in advance) and display photographs (at a young age) of three ward/branch leaders (bishop/branch president, Relief Society president, a diligent home teacher, etc.). Find out some things about them and give clues until the children guess who each leader is. (Clue examples: He helps us choose the right. We pay our tithing to him. She visits the sick. She helps the women learn to serve others. He helps us when our family has a problem.) When the leader has been guessed, have him/her come in and tell the children how they learned to work and to serve others, and when and how they learned that it was important to serve the Lord. (If possible, the stories should be from their youth.) Ask, “Whom else is the bishop (or whoever it is) serving?” [Heavenly Father] “For whom do they show their love as they serve?” [Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the people in the ward/branch] Set a timer for one minute and see how many ways the children can tell you that they can serve at home, at church, at school. Sing vs. 1, 4 of “I Feel My Savior’s Love” (CS, pp. 74–75).
5. Sing “We Are Different” (CS, p. 263). Ask the children to stand up if they belong to one of the groups you describe. (Group possibilities: people who have blue eyes, have birthdays in May, have last names that start with M, are seven years old, can play a musical instrument.) Ask if they can remember any scripture stories that show that we should love everyone, not just people who are like us. Examples from the scriptures: the Samaritan woman at the well (see John 4:5–30, 39–42), Zacchæus (see Luke 19:2–10), the Canaanite woman (see Matt. 15:22–28), Cornelius the Roman centurion (see Acts 10), Ammon preaching to the Lamanites (see Mosiah 28:1–8). Using pictures from the library to tell the stories, help the children understand that the gospel is for all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people (see Rev. 14:6). Point out that no matter what our differences are, we are all Heavenly Father’s children, and we are alike in many ways. As Church members, even though we may look different and live in different places, we all have testimonies of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, we all have family home evenings, we all pray, we all attend primary, etc. Show four pictures, one each of four squares, four circles, four triangles, four rectangles. Say that these shapes represent people and that there may have been a time when all the squares were in one place, all the circles in another, etc.; however, in our world today, we have the opportunity to meet and mix with many different people. Pass out sets of single squares, circles, triangles, and rectangles to each class and have the class glue them on a paper to make a picture. Display the pictures and have the children repeat John 13:34. Sing “Jesus Said Love Everyone” (CS, p. 61) or “Love One Another” (CS, p. 136). For your own information, you might read Elder Richard Scott’s general conference address, “Removing Barriers to Happiness” (Ensign, May 1998, pp. 85–87).
6. For additional resources on following Jesus Christ, see the following Friend articles: “We Believe in Christ” (Mar. 1998, IFC); “What Would Jesus Christ Want Me to Do?” (Mar. 1998, pp. 8–10 / the pictures, situations, and scriptures could be cut out and used as an activity); “In His Footsteps” (Apr. 1998, pp. 48–IBC); “What Does Jesus Christ Want Me to Do?” Sharing Time Ideas (Sep. 1997, p. 36); “Look, Feel, and Help” Sharing Time activity and Ideas (July 1996, pp. 44–45, 43).