“Sharing Time: A House or a Home?” Friend, June 2004, 13
Picture a house. Are you imagining a building with windows and a door? A house is where families eat, sleep, and live. A house becomes a home when family members learn together, help each other, and do fun things.
Many years ago a fire destroyed a family’s house. A neighbor tried to comfort the family’s seven-year-old boy by saying, “Johnny, it’s too bad your home burned down.” Johnny thought for a moment and said, “Oh, that was not our home; that was just our house. We still have our home; we just don’t have any place to put it right now.” Johnny knew that the fire had not destroyed his family and their kind feelings for one another.
What are you doing to make your house a home? You invite the Spirit into your home when you show love and care for family members. You can make a difference in your family and in your home as you live the teachings of the gospel.
When Weldon was five years old, his mother asked how he would act if Jesus came to their home. Would he change the way he treated family members? His mom gave him a picture of a house and some paper flowers. Each time he shared with his brothers or did not quarrel, he could paste a flower on the house. The picture reminded him to make his house a home.
Remove page 12 from the magazine, then cut out the flowers. Write your family’s name on the nameplate on the house. When you serve your family or live gospel teachings, glue a flower on the house. As you add flowers, your house will become a home. Place it where it will remind you to make your own house a home!
My house becomes a home when I live in harmony and give joy, love, and peace to those in my family.
(Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook unless otherwise indicated; GAK = Gospel Art Kit, TNGC = Teaching, No Greater Call.)
1. Show a picture of Jesus Christ visiting the Nephites and commanding them to pray. Read the story together (see 3 Ne. 18:17–21). On the chalkboard write Family prayer strengthens my family. Write scripture references about prayer (see below) on pieces of paper, and tie each paper to a stick or twig. Have each class read a scripture and discuss the blessings of prayer (for example, Alma 37:37; 3 Ne. 18:15; 3 Ne. 18:20; 3 Ne. 18:21; Moro. 10:4–5; D&C 68:28; D&C 88:63; D&C 112:10). To report, have each class read the scripture, tell the blessing from the scripture, and add the stick to the others. Once all of the sticks have been collected, tie them together in a bundle. Ask a child to try to bend the bundle of sticks. When the sticks are bundled together, they become stronger. Similarly, the blessings of prayer can strengthen our families. Share an experience of a time when your family was strengthened through family prayer. Sing a song or hymn about prayer, and have children stand in a circle and hold a string or rope with large buttons or small spools threaded on it to pass along as they sing. When the music stops, those holding buttons or spools could share a blessing of family prayer. To conclude, have the children color a picture illustrating 3 Nephi 18:21 to display in their homes.
2. Draw a large outline of a house on the board. Draw a table and chairs inside the house. Give five or six children pieces of chalk, and whisper to them to draw a family member at the table reading the scriptures. Have the pianist play a song or hymn about the scriptures, and have the Primary guess what the family in the picture is doing. Point out that just as the children were told what to draw, the Lord speaks to His children through the scriptures. The scriptures can help us and bless our lives if we read them regularly, pray about them, and follow their teachings. Help the children memorize D&C 19:23 (see TNGC, 171–72). Have each class learn and act out a verse from “Book of Mormon Stories” (pp. 118–19) (excluding verse 8) with simple props and then sing it to the Primary. Challenge the children to be prepared to recite D&C 19:23 next Sunday, and follow up on this challenge.
3. Song Presentation: “Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth” (Hymns, no. 298). Before Primary, place the following four clues and seven wordstrips under the children’s chairs. (Clues: 1. When people think of me, they think of love. 2. I am a place where you find kindness and charity. 3. I am a place where you feel safety, security, happiness, and joy. 4. I am a place where we want to be. Wordstrips: LOVE, KINDNESS, CHARITY, SAFETY, SECURITY, HAPPINESS, and JOY.) Prepare one wordstrip with the words HOME and HEAVEN to use later.
Invite the children to look under their chairs for clues to the message of the song. As they read their clues, place the keywords in random order on the board. Sing the first line of the song; then have a child place the keyword(s) for that line in the order you sang them. Sing the line together, and listen to see if the order is correct. Repeat with the other three lines of the first verse until you have all the keywords in the correct order.
Hold the HOME and HEAVEN wordstrip so it does not face the children and give them the last clue: “I start with the letter ‘H.’ How many think the answer to this clue is HEAVEN? How many think it is HOME? [Show wordstrip.] It is both HOME and HEAVEN!”
Sing the song, and ask the children to sing the answers HOME and HEAVEN more loudly than the other words of the song. Repeat until the children have learned the song. Bear testimony that when we show kindness, charity, and love to our family, we make our home like heaven here on earth.
4. A Primary presidency member and the music leader can work together to help the children review ways we can strengthen our families. Using pictures from the Primary manuals and GAK, select two matching pictures of six different subjects relating to family (for example, family prayer, family scripture reading, family home evening, caring for others, family togetherness, and family kindness). Number the backs of the pictures 1 through 12. Post the pictures on the board or the floor with the numbered sides showing. Use the Topics section of the Children’s Songbook (pp. 306–12) to choose songs to go along with the picture topics.
Have a child turn over two of the pictures to try to find a match. If they don’t match, another child takes a turn. If the pictures match, sing a song that goes with the picture’s theme. Children could be given the opportunity to lead the song or to think of hand actions to go with it.
Show GAK 616 and tell the children of President Hinckley’s “Four Simple Things to Help Our Families and Our Nations” (see back of picture or Ensign, Sept. 1996, 7). Encourage the children to share these four things with their families.
5. Friend references: “Strengthen the Family,” May 2000, 45; “Friend to Friend,” Nov. 2000, 6; “Kimchi, Brownies, and Family Home Evening,” Aug. 1996, 8; “Ezra Taft Benson,” May 2001, inside front cover; “Our Family,” Sept. 1995, 46; “The Scriptures Can Lead Me to Jesus,” May 1999, 14–15; “Read the Scriptures Daily,” Mar. 1991, 12. Other references: “The Extra Blessings of Family Prayer,”Ensign, Jan. 1976, 37; “Teaching Children about Prayer,”Ensign, Jan. 1989, 60; “The Blessings of Family Prayer,”Ensign, Feb. 1991, 2; “Unity through Family Prayer,”Family Home Evening Resource Book, 80–83.