“Sharing Time: Build Upon My Rock,” Friend, Aug. 2004, 15
Have you ever built a house out of sand? Did you watch the waves wash it away? If you were building a house to live in, you wouldn’t build it on sand. You would want to build your house on a solid foundation—perhaps of concrete or rock. Then if the rain came down, a flood started, or the wind blew, your house would be safe.
Jesus explained: “Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock” (3 Ne. 14:24–25). That rock is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
When Nathan was five years old, he suffered an eye injury. During the next few years, Nathan needed several operations. Nathan and his family prayed and had faith that he wouldn’t lose his sight. Heavenly Father heard their prayers and blessed Nathan so he could see.
Like Nathan, you will have challenges. These are like the floods, rain, and wind that can come down upon your house. When you say your prayers, have faith, and live the teachings of Jesus, you will help strengthen yourself and your family. You will be building your testimony upon the rock of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paste the door hanger on heavy paper, and cut it out. On the rock, write something you will do to strengthen your family. Hang it on a doorknob to remind you of what you can do to build your house upon a rock.
Building My House upon a Rock
I will have faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
I will pray to Heavenly Father.
I will repent of any wrongdoing.
I will forgive others.
Successful … families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, [and] forgiveness (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).
(Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook unless otherwise noted; GAK = Gospel Art Picture Kit, TNGC = Teaching, No Greater Call.)
1. Write Prayer Strengthens Me and My Family on the board. To help the children understand the word strengthen, display a piece of paper and a book. Explain that the book equals the challenges we are faced with in life; the paper represents us. Invite a child to stand the paper on its edge and balance the book on top of it. After a few children have tried it, explain that there is a way to make the paper strong enough to hold the book. Roll the paper into a tube and secure it with a rubber band or piece of tape. Stand the paper tube on its end on a flat surface. Carefully place the book on top (practice beforehand). Similarly, when we pray and keep the commandments, Heavenly Father will shape our character and give us strength—the kind of strength that gives us the courage to do what He asks and the faith to know He loves us and hears our prayers. The First Presidency tells us: “You are a child of God. He is your Heavenly Father. He loves you and cares about you. He wants you to have faith in Him and pray to Him often—anytime, anywhere” (Faith in God guidebook, 1). Before Primary invite two or three families to come and share how prayer has strengthened and blessed their families. Have each family share one of their favorite songs or hymns and sing it together or with the Primary.
2. To help the children better understand the principle of forgiveness, read and act out the parable of the unforgiving servant (see Matt. 18:23–35). (Children could read the verses and take the parts of the king, the unmerciful servant, his fellow servant, and the other servants.) Point out that the contrast between the two debts was as if the servant would not forgive a debt of $1 after the king had forgiven him a debt of $600,000 (see James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. , 396–7).
Prepare seven large question marks with the following questions on them, and place them underneath every seventh chair (suggested answers are provided): 1. Whom does the king in the parable represent? (Our Heavenly Father.) 2. Whom does the unmerciful servant represent? (Each of us. We all have sinned [except for young children] and are in debt to the Lord.) 3. Whom does the fellow servant represent? (Anyone who has offended us.) 4. What is Jesus teaching us in this parable? (That we must forgive others if we want God to forgive us.) 5. How do you feel when you forgive someone? 6. How do you feel when you do not forgive? 7. How do you feel when Heavenly Father forgives you?
Starting at the front of the room, have the children count off one by one. When they reach the number seven, ask the child to look under his or her chair for a question and read and answer it out loud. Continue around the room, counting to seven until all the questions have been found and answered. Read Matt. 18:21–22. Have the children multiply 70 times 7. Jesus was teaching us that we should always be willing to forgive someone. Encourage the children to memorize D&C 64:10. Sing a song or hymn about forgiveness.
3. To teach children how faith can strengthen us and our families, draw a large shield (see Primary 3 manual, p. iii, for pattern) on a piece of paper. Write the word faith in the center of the shield. Next, make two beanbags. Then draw and cut out darts from paper. On each dart, write a case study that gives the children an opportunity to choose the right—for example, “You are with a group of friends who begin talking badly about a new boy in school. What should you do?” (See TNGC, pp. 161–62). Finally, make large strips of paper with songs written on them (for example, “Dare to Do Right,” p. 158; “Choose the Right Way,” pp. 160–61; “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus,” pp. 78–79).
Faith in Jesus Christ means that even though we cannot see Him, we believe that He lives. He loves us and wants to help us. Read D&C 27:15, 17 together. Tell the children that there are many “fiery darts” in our world today. When we have faith in the Lord and trust and obey Him, He will help us to avoid the fiery darts and do what is right.
Place the shield, darts, and song strips (with the words face up) on the floor. Choose three helpers: one to toss a beanbag at a dart and read the case study out loud, one to hold the shield (and answer or choose someone to answer the case study by telling what he or she might do if he or she is firmly holding the shield of faith), and one to toss a beanbag at a song strip (he or she could lead the song or make up appropriate actions for the Primary to follow). After each helper has taken a turn, choose three new helpers and repeat.
President Boyd K. Packer tells us, “The ultimate purpose of all we teach is to unite parents and children in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Friend, July 2003, 39). Bear your testimony of how faith has strengthened your family.
4. To reinforce the principles and songs taught during the year and to prepare the children for the children’s sacrament meeting presentation, place a copy of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” in the center of the board. On the left side, write Proclamation Principles, and underneath place pictures from the GAK or the Primary Visual Aids Cutouts that remind us of principles found in the proclamation—for example, Family with a Baby (Primary 1-5), Heavenly Father Gave Us His Plan (Primary 3-2), The Nativity (GAK 201), The Resurrected Christ (GAK 239), Pre-earth Life (Primary 3-3), Young Boy Praying (GAK 605), Young Couple Going to the Temple (GAK 609), and Family Home Evening (Primary 1-6). On the right side, write Primary Songs and list the songs from the Outline for Sharing Time and the Children’s Sacrament Meeting Presentation that your Primary has been learning.
On a copy of the proclamation, underline specific principles and make a copy for each child (suggested principles: 1. “Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents,” 2. “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness,” 3. “In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan,” 4. “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ,” 5. “Successful … families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, [and] forgiveness,” 6. “The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave”).
Prepare a cube with one of the following pictures on each side: lion, lamb, turtle, rabbit, hummingbird, and a large question mark. Use drawings made by the children or from the Primary Visual Aids Cutouts.
Divide the children into groups, and give each child a copy of the proclamation. Assign each group a specific underlined principle. Ask them to be prepared to recite their principle to the Primary, choose a picture from the board that goes with their principle and tell why, and decide on a song to sing that reinforces the principle. Give the children an opportunity to report. (Note: The pictures and songs can support more than one of the principles in the proclamation.)
Show the cube, and tell the children that when you hold it up during the song, they are to sing either as strong as a lion, soft as a lamb, slow as a turtle, quick as a rabbit, or to hum like a hummingbird. If the question mark is showing, choose a helper to decide whether the children should sit or stand, or whether only girls or only boys should sing. Roll the cube and sing. Bear testimony of the principles taught in the songs and that our families are strengthened when we live the gospel.
5. Friend references: James E. Faust, “The Lifeline of Prayer,” July 2003, 2; Boyd K. Packer, “The Shield of Faith,” July 2003, 39; Gordon B. Hinckley, “Faith Lights the Way,” Aug. 2003, 2; James M. Paramore, “A Child’s Faith,” Aug. 1987, IFC; Oct. 2002 Sharing Time #1, #4, and #5, 34; “I’ll Follow Him in Faith” (song), Jan. 2003, 24. Other references: Gospel Principles, 41, 117, and 122; Family Home Evening Resource Book, 43.