“When We’re Helping, We’re Happy,” Friend, Nov. 2009, 12–14
“I am going to shovel Sister Gourdin’s sidewalk,” Phoebe said to her mother. Sister Gourdin was an elderly neighbor.
“Can you do it by yourself?” Mom asked Phoebe. When Phoebe said she could, her mother helped her put on her boots and zip her coat.
Mom watched out the window as Phoebe began to lift the deep snow with a large shovel. Soon Phoebe had finished the sidewalk. She found Sister Gourdin’s newspaper in the snow and was excited to leave it on the doorstep.
Phoebe’s mother told her that shoveling the snow was a wonderful way to show love to Sister Gourdin.
When Phoebe’s older brothers and sister got home from school, her mother told them what Phoebe had done. “Where do you think she came up with the idea to do that?” Phoebe’s mother asked them. And then she said, “It came from watching all of you who are such good examples of helping our neighbors.”
Phoebe’s act of service shows that no one is too young to serve others.
Remove page 12 from the magazine and cut out the buttons. Obtain a calendar page for November. (It can be in an existing calendar, or you can make your own with 30 squares.) In a family home evening, talk about how your family can serve each other and others this month. Each day of the month, find a time when your family is together and share what some of you did to serve someone that day. Glue or tape a button in the calendar space for that day.
November Theme: My family and I can serve others. (Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook unless otherwise noted; GAK = Gospel Art Picture Kit.) Gospel art can also be found at gospelart.lds.org.
I am thankful for my family. I will serve them. Memorize “By love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). Teach that when we serve our family members, it shows we love them and are thankful for them. Have the children listen for another word that means the same thing as serving while they sing the first verse of “When We’re Helping” (p. 198). (Helping.)
Tell the children you want them to try smiling with their lips closed, then with their teeth showing, and then with their mouth open. Have them try smiling with only their eyes. Explain that smiling is one of the easiest ways we can serve our family. Help the children suggest other ways they can serve family members. (Examples: help cook, help mow the lawn, help a younger brother pick up toys, write a letter to grandparents, etc.) Write responses on the board. Ask a child to choose an idea from the board and act it out. Let the other children guess what it is. Choose children to act out some of the other ideas. To encourage the children to serve members of their family, give them a piece of paper to take home and ask them to draw something they do during the week to serve their family. Have them bring their paper back next Sunday to share. Take a few minutes next week to let the children tell about their acts of service.
My family will serve others. Use stations to teach the children the importance of serving others. Divide the children into groups and move them from station to station. (If the Primary is large, you could set up three stations at the front of the room, and members of the Primary presidency move from station to station.) Have the pianist play “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (pp. 78–79) during the transition between stations.
Station A. Display pictures showing Jesus Christ serving others. Teach that Jesus Christ is the greatest example of one who served others. Read together and discuss the parable Jesus used to teach us the importance of service, found in Matthew 25:35–40. Help the children understand that when we serve others we are serving God.
Station B. Show a picture of President Thomas S. Monson and point out that he has devoted his life to serving others, and often teaches us about serving others. To illustrate how President Monson learned at a young age to serve others, tell the story of “Old Bob” (see Thomas S. Monson, “The Long Line of the Lonely,” Ensign, Feb. 1992, 4). Explain that when President Monson was once asked to describe what he would consider the ideal gift for his birthday, he said, “Find someone who is having a hard time, … and do something for them” (Ensign, Nov. 2008, 105–106). Ask the children to share things their family has done to serve others.
Station C. Tell the children that when we serve others it is like scattering sunshine. Have the music leader teach the chorus to “Scatter Sunshine” (Hymns, no. 230). For the younger children, sing “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam” (pp. 60–61). Give each child a piece of paper with President Monson’s quote from Station B written at the bottom. Have the children draw a picture of the sun above the quote. Encourage the children to take the paper home and discuss with their family how they could serve someone in need.
I can be a good example for my family. Use a puzzle to teach the children that they can be a good example for their family. Post a picture of a family, such as GAK 616 (Family Togetherness). Cover the picture with a large piece of paper that has been cut into puzzle pieces. Label each piece with one of the following: 1) scriptures that teach about being an example, such as Matthew 5:14; Matthew 5:16; 1 Timothy 4:12; 2) songs that teach about being an example (look in the Children’s Songbook topics index under “Example”); 3) questions that help the children think about being an example, such as “Your brother teases you during sacrament meeting. What will you do to be a good example?” and “Your little sister broke your new crayons. What will you do to be a good example?”
Have the children take turns removing a puzzle piece, then finding and reading the scripture, helping the music leader lead the song, or reading and answering the question. When all puzzle pieces have been removed, challenge the children to think of ways they can be a good example for their family. Share an experience when you were influenced by the example of a family member. Bear testimony of the power of good examples.
I will prepare now to become a mother or father. Ask the children to close their eyes and picture themselves as a mother or father. Ask: “What kind of mother will you be?” or “What kind of father will you be?” Have them open their eyes.
For younger children: Help the children suggest characteristics that describe the kind of mother or father they want to be. Write them on the board. (Examples: kind, loving, patient, helpful, happy, responsible, etc.) Teach the children they can begin now to develop these characteristics. Beforehand, write situations that would give the children an opportunity to use these same characteristics, such as, “Your little brother wants your mother to hold him, but she is trying to get dinner ready. What could you do to practice being helpful?” and “Your family has a garden, and you were assigned to care for one row. What can you do to practice being responsible?” “Your sister feels bad because she is sick and can’t go to her friend’s party. What could you do to practice showing love?” Pass a beanbag while the children sing “The Family Is of God” (Friend, Oct. 2008, 28–29). Stop the music frequently. When the music stops, read a situation and let the child with the beanbag answer.
For older children: Teach that the Lord gives instructions to parents through prophets and the scriptures. Give each class one of the following: Paragraph six of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”; paragraph seven of the proclamation; Mosiah 4:14–15; Alma 37:35; D&C 68:25. Have each class work together to read the reference, choose one instruction from the Lord, and tell what they can do now to prepare for that responsibility. Let each class share with everyone. Sing “The Family Is of God.”
Friend references: “Friend to Friend,” Aug. 1994, 6–7; “Miles and Miles of Smiles,” Sept. 2007, 4–6; “Trying to Be Like Jesus,” July 2005, 38–39; “A Simple Act of Service,” Sept. 2007, 44–45; “Eternal Service Project,” May 2005, 32–34; “A Brother’s Example,” Dec. 2005, 8–9; “The Prophet’s Counsel: The Six Bs,” Feb. 2001, 24–25; “Friend to Friend,” Feb. 1978, 6–7.