“Sharing Time: I Am a Child of God,” Friend, Jan. 2004, 15
Who are you? Do you know? You know your name, and you know you belong to a family here on earth. Your parents and family love you. You are special to them. You are also special to Heavenly Father. He is the father of your spirit. You lived with Him in heaven before you came to earth. Everyone born on the earth is a child of Heavenly Father.
You do not remember living with Heavenly Father, but you are His child. The scriptures teach us that “all of [us] are children of the most High” (Ps. 82:6). “The most High” means Heavenly Father.
Do you have the same color eyes as your mother? Is the color of your hair like your father’s? Children often are very much like their parents. The Bible teaches us that “God created man in his own image” (Gen. 1:27). To be created in His image means that you look like your Heavenly Father. It also means you can become like Him.
Prophets testify that you are a child of God and that He knows and loves you. Each time you sing “I Am a Child of God” (Children’s Songbook, 2–3), you also testify that you know who you are. Your Heavenly Father loves you. He will answer your prayers and help you to become like Him. You are His child, and He wants you to return to live with Him again someday.
Carefully remove page 17, and mount it on heavy paper. Cut around the solid black line. Fold on the dotted lines to make a box. Glue the end flaps. Fold the top end flap to close the box, but don’t glue it shut. Draw or glue a picture of yourself inside the blank frame. Read the scripture reference on each side of the box.
Cut out the scripture reference strips, and place them in the box. Each day choose a reference, and mark it in your scriptures. The scriptures will remind you who you are. Share the box during family home evening.
I am a child of God (see Ps. 82:6; D&C 76:24).
I was created in the image of God (see Moses 2:27).
Heavenly Father blessed me with a physical body. My body is a temple (see 1 Cor. 3:16–17).
Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to help me return to Him (see D&C 49:5).
Heavenly Father gave me an earthly family to help me and to guide me (see D&C 68:25–28).
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want me to be happy (see 2 Ne. 2:25).
Heavenly Father loves me and gives me certain talents (see D&C 46:11).
Heavenly Father gave me the scriptures so I can learn about Him (see D&C 33:16).
Heavenly Father listens to and answers my prayers (see D&C 112:10).
I can return to live with Heavenly Father someday (see D&C 78:7).
Because of His love for me, Heavenly Father—through Jesus Christ—created this beautiful world for me (see D&C 14:9).
I can show my love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ by keeping the commandments (see John 14:15).
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will help me obey the commandments (see 1 Ne. 3:7).
I am trying to remember and follow Jesus Christ so I can live with Him someday (see John 14:3).
I lived in heaven with Heavenly Father (see D&C 93:29).
I am a child of God; my Heavenly Father loves me (see Ps. 82:6).
Heavenly Father has given me an earthly family (see D&C 68:25–28).
I live in a beautiful world created for me (see D&C 14:9).
Heavenly Father listens to and answers my prayers (see D&C 112:10).
Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to help me (see John 3:16).
(Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook unless otherwise indicated; GAK = Gospel Art Kit; TNGC = Teaching, No Greater Call)
1. Show the children a picture of a baby, or invite a new mother and her baby to come and tell about the preparations for the baby’s birth (for example, family members were excited, bought a crib, got clothes ready, prepared a room, knew they would love the baby). Liken this to how Heavenly Father feels about all of us. He prepared this world for us to live in. He rejoices as we grow, learn, and make right choices that will help us return to Him someday. Share an example of how knowing that you are a child of God has helped you to choose the right. Prepare some case studies (see TNGC, 161–62) that demonstrate that because I am a child of God I will choose and act accordingly. Make cutouts of children from red, yellow, and blue paper. As the children sing “I Am a Child of God,” let them pass along the cutouts. When the music stops, if they are holding a red child, have them name one way they know Heavenly Father loves them; if holding a yellow child, have them name one way they can show their love for Heavenly Father; and if holding a blue child, have them resolve a case study you have prepared. Give each child a paper doll. Let them write one way they know they are children of God and take it home to share with their families.
2. Ask the children to stand up whenever you make a statement that describes them. Ask them to stay sitting down if the statement does not describe them. Use statements that demonstrate the similarities and differences among the children in your class, such as—everyone with a nose, everyone with brown eyes. Discuss how families are similar and different. We all have characteristics similar to our Heavenly Father because we are His children. We can grow spiritually to be like our Heavenly Father. On one side of the chalkboard write, “Heavenly Father is,” and on the other side write, “I can be.” Have the children list some of Heavenly Father’s characteristics (loving, kind, generous, and so on). Then have them list some of those qualities that they have or would like to develop.
Adapting: Older children could look up scriptures that describe Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ’s attributes (see Topical Guide) and add them to the list. Younger children could choose and post pictures showing Christlike attributes to make their list. They could repeat out loud, “I am a child of God, and I can become more __________.” Fill in the blank with an attribute such as obedient, friendly, and so on. Help the children understand their worth and potential (see D&C 18:10; Moses 1:39).
3. On two separate pieces of paper, write know and do. Show the words to the children. Tell them to watch closely and sing the word when you hold it up. Sing the chorus of “I Am a Child of God” (pp. 2–3). The first time, hold up the word know in place of do. Ask the children to sing it again using the word do at the appropriate time. Ask how changing the word know for do changes the meaning of the song. President Spencer W. Kimball asked Sister Naomi Randall, the author of the song, if they could change the word know to do. He felt that while it is important to know what is right, it is more important to do what is right. Only in this way can we be sure of returning someday to our heavenly home to live always with our Heavenly Father (see Friend, Mar. 1978, 7).
Around the room place pictures and/or wordstrips of things we know (for example, prophets, scriptures, parents, commandments, prayer). Pair two children, and as the Primary sings a song, have them look for a picture that matches the song. Ask them to tell of something we can do because of the knowledge we have. For example, (a) Sing: “Search, Ponder and Pray” (p. 109); Find: a picture of scriptures; Tell: We know the scriptures are true; Do: We should read and study the scriptures daily; (b) Sing: “I Need My Heavenly Father” (p. 18); Find: a picture of prayer; Tell: We know we need our Heavenly Father; Do: We should pray to Him every morning and night.
4. Share with the children Bishop H. Burke Peterson’s testimony of prayer: “I want you to know that I know that whenever one of Heavenly Father’s children kneels and talks to him, he listens. I know this as well as I know anything in this world—that Heavenly Father listens to every prayer from his children. … No matter what we may have done wrong, he listens to us. I also believe he answers us” (Ensign, June 1981, 73). It is through prayer that Heavenly Father helps His children make correct choices.
Divide the children into four groups. Give each group a scripture reference. Have each group read and discuss the reference to find out (a) who the prophet is, (b) what difficult choice or problem he had, and (c) God’s answer to him through prayer. Choose children to retell the story or act it out for the Primary to watch and listen for the problem and answer. Have the younger children draw pictures to illustrate the story. Examples: Joseph Smith (JS—H 1:7–19); Mosiah (Mosiah 28:1–8); Enos (Enos 1:1–8); Brother of Jared (Ether 2:14–25). Share a personal experience and your testimony of how your prayers have been answered. Invite the children to say their personal prayers each day this week.
5. Teach the children that their bodies are temples, and sing “The Lord Gave Me a Temple” (p. 153). Learning and living My Gospel Standards will help them care for their body inside and out. (“I will keep my mind and body sacred and pure, and I will not partake of things that are harmful to me; I will dress modestly to show respect for Heavenly Father and myself; I will only read and watch things that are pleasing to Heavenly Father.”) Choose an object or picture to represent each of the three standards, i.e. an apple, a good book, and a picture of a modestly dressed child. Write one of the standards on the board. Choose one child to go out of the room and one to hide the object. Have the child return and find the object by having the children repeat the standard over and over. As the child gets closer to the object, the children recite it more loudly. When the child is far away from the object, the children recite it more softly. When the child has found the object, have him or her name one way we can live this standard. Cover the standard and play again. Post the next standard and repeat. For older children, you might do two standards at a time. Sing “Keep the Commandments” (pp. 146–47) and pass the three objects. When the music stops, children name the gospel standard that goes with their object and what they can do to live it. Encourage the children to recite the standards they have learned to a family member.
6. Prophets teach us how we can live again as families in heaven. Teach children the counsel of our prophets. Use counsel given at recent general conferences, or see the following Friend references: Mar. 1997, 6; May 2001, inside front cover; June 2002, 10; Dec. 2002, 22. Pair an older child with a younger child. Have the children look up and match scripture references with the prophet’s counsel and draw an object that goes along with the counsel given. Children can take turns displaying their picture and showing (through actions) ways they can follow the prophet while the others guess. Sing “Follow the Prophet” (pp. 110–11). Bear testimony of the blessings of following the prophet’s counsel so we can live again with Heavenly Father.