“Sharing Time: Promised Blessings,” Friend, Oct. 2001, 40
Romero had been looking forward to this day for a very long time. This was the day his mother and he had planned on going to the park. But that morning his mother had been called away to help a neighbor who was very ill. When she left, she promised Romero that they would still go to the park when she returned if he would do some of the household chores while she was gone. Romero told her that he would.
After his mother left, Romero started to do the things she had asked him to do. Then his friend José came by and wanted to play. Romero remembered what his mother had asked him to do and her promise that they would go to the park if he was obedient. He told José that he couldn’t play just then because he had work to do. José went home, and Romero hurried to finish the chores. When his mother came home, she was happy to see that he had done what she had asked. Because he had, she kept her promise and together they spent the afternoon at the park.
Sometimes Father in Heaven asks us to do certain things and promises us blessings if we do them. Although the blessings are not always received immediately or even in this life, we will receive them if we are obedient.
One of the things that Heavenly Father has asked us to do is listen to His servants the prophets and follow their teachings. If we do what they ask, our lives will be blessed. When we keep the Word of Wisdom by not eating or drinking harmful things, our bodies will be stronger. When we only watch or listen to things that are pleasing to Heavenly Father, we will be spiritually stronger. When we remember to think of Jesus Christ during the sacrament and keep His commandments, we will have His Spirit to guide us in our lives.
In general conference each April and October, the prophet speaks to us for Heavenly Father. It is important that we listen and do the things that he asks us to do. Our prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, has asked us to be more like the Savior by being more forgiving and considerate of others. (See Ensign, November 1999, page 74.) He has asked us to be obedient to our parents, kinder to one another in our families, and more thoughtful of others (see Ensign, May 2000, page 87). He has asked us to have family home evenings and to pray to Heavenly Father and tell Him how thankful we are for all of our blessings. He has taught us that our prayers are answered (see Ensign, November 2000, pages 88–89). If we do what Heavenly Father asks us through the prophet to do, we will receive many blessings. Heavenly Father always keeps His promises.
Find out what the prophet and the Apostles have asked us to do during general conference this month that will help us to build up and strengthen our families. Write some of these things on the large stones on the path on page 41. Cut out the house and pathway, glue them onto heavy paper, and trim. Fold along the broken lines, and form a house. Glue each tab to the back edge of the corresponding part of the house (see illustration). Glue the pathway to the bottom of the house so that it leads to the door. When you do something written on one of the stones, color the stone. Think about how Heavenly Father blesses and strengthens you and your family when you follow the prophet’s teachings. Continue working on strengthening your family and making its members happy by doing all of the things written on the stones.
(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook; GAK = Gospel Art Kit)
1. Explain that all the prophets, both ancient and modern, have testified of Jesus Christ (see Jacob 7:11). They also have urged us to keep Heavenly Father’s commandments. Ask the children to share some of the things that the prophet testified of or asked us to do in the recent general conference. List their responses under a picture of President Hinckley. Pass out scriptural references in which other prophets have given the same counsel. Have the classes look up the scriptures to see which other prophet gave the same counsel. For example: • Alma 34:19, 27 / pray (Amulek); • Moro. 10:3 / read the scriptures (Moroni); • Doctrine and Covenants 89: 5, 8 / keep Heavenly Father’s law of health (Joseph Smith); • Mal. 3:10 / pay tithing (Malachi); • 1 Jn. 4:14 and D&C 76:22–24 / believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world (John and Joseph Smith). Write the names of the other prophets mentioned next to the counsel or testimony listed that was given by President Hinckley. Explain that through the ages, Heavenly Father has sent prophets to teach the same true principles to all of His children. Bear your testimony that each prophet teaches us to keep the commandments of God and that each testifies of Jesus Christ.
2. Music Presentation: Review the song “Stand for the Right” (CS, p. 159). Display a picture of President Hinckley (GAK 520). Give each older class a different statement from his October general conference addresses. Give young classes a picture representing something the prophet asked us to do. Have each class choose a spokesperson to explain what the prophet said. Post the quotes or pictures under his picture. Sing “Stand for the Right.” Explain that whenever we choose to do what the prophet asks us to do, we are being true and are standing for the right.
In advance, prepare questions of how the children can apply the prophet’s teachings in their lives. For example, “The prophet has asked us to be kind to others, but your friends are leaving out a new boy in your class when they play soccer. What can you do to be true to the teachings of the prophet?” “The prophet has asked us to be obedient to our parents. Your mother wants you to come straight home after school, but your friends want you to play with them. What should you do to follow the prophet?” Sing the last phrases of “Stand for the Right”—“Be true, be true, And stand for the right”—twice, then choose a child and have him or her answer one of the questions you have prepared. Have the child point to the statement or picture of the prophet’s counsel that they should follow in the given situation. Continue alternating singing the last phrase of “Stand for the Right” and answering questions until each class has had a chance to participate. Sing the entire song, then bear your testimony.
3. The prophet has encouraged us to show greater love and kindness in our homes. The Savior also taught us to “love one another” (John 13:34). Display a picture of a family (GAK 616) and say that there are many ways we can show love and kindness in our families. As you sing “A Happy Family” (CS, p. 198), have the children pass the picture around. Have the music leader stop the music periodically and ask the child holding the picture to tell what they love about one of the members of his/her family (mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent); then begin singing again. When you finish singing, explain that we show love to our family members when we serve them. Sing the song again, stopping periodically, and ask two or three children, “What can you do to serve your (name family member) and show your love for him/her?” Ask each child to draw a picture of something they can do to serve someone in their family during the coming week. Children could take the pictures home to remind them of what they are going to do, or you might gather the pictures, glue them together into a strip to use in a roller box (see Teaching, No Greater Call, pp. 178–179). Show the pictures during singing time the following week and have each child tell what he did during the week to serve someone in his family. Ask, “Did it make your family happy?” “Did it help strengthen your family?” Share your testimony of how following the prophet helps our families become stronger and happier.
4. President Hinckley has asked us to remember to keep the Sabbath Day holy. Sing “Saturday” (CS, p. 196), then have the children list things they can do on Saturday to get ready for Sunday. Divide into two groups. Have one group think of things they do only on Sunday. Have the second group think of things they do on Saturday to get ready for Sunday. Have a member from each group act out in turn one thing they have thought of. Have the other group guess what they are doing. Remind them that “My Gospel Standards” states that when we do the right things on the Sabbath, we are keeping a commandment and will feel closer to Heavenly Father.
5. Have a stack of ten to fifteen small sticks, and a paper bag labeled “Garbage Can.” Ask a child to break one of the sticks. Explain that using “garbage-can words”—words that are inappropriate or hurtful—in our homes can make our families weak like the single stick and more easily broken. We should not use words that hurt family members, but throw them away. Throw away the broken stick in the paper-bag garbage can. Explain that instead of saying things that weaken our families, we should use words that build up and strengthen them. Ask the children what words strengthen families (“thank you,” “please,” “you did great,” “may I help you,” etc.). Have each child who gives a word or phrase add one of the remaining sticks to create a bundle of sticks. Tie them securely together and ask a child to try to break the bundle. Like the bundle, families are much stronger when family members build each other up by saying kind things to one another. Sing “Love Is Spoken Here” (CS, pp. 190–191). Encourage the children to share this activity with their families in family home evening.
6. Additional Friend resources: “The Godhead,” by President Hinckley, Feb. 1995, IFC; “Love at Home,” June 1996, pp. 44–45; “Daniel’s Choice,” Mar. 1997, p. 28; “At Conference Time” (song), Oct. 1997, pp. 12–13; “Daniel Obeys the Lord,” June 1998, pp. 34–35; “They Testify of Him,” Jan. 1999, pp. 24–25.