The Primary Talk

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“The Primary Talk,” Friend, November 2019

The Primary Talk

The author lives in Colorado, USA.

Oh no! I’m stuttering!

“Be not afraid” (Matthew 14:27).

Friend Magazine, 2019/11 Nov

Illustrations by Alyssa Tallent

“Dennis, will you give a talk in Primary next week?” Sister Harris asked. “We’d love for you to talk about a prophet in the Book of Mormon.”

Dennis gulped. He had shared a scripture and said a prayer in Primary before, but he wasn’t sure he could give a whole talk. What if he stuttered? He went to speech therapy, but it was still hard to speak clearly when he got nervous.

“I’ll try m-my best,” he said.

Sister Harris smiled. “That’s all that Heavenly Father asks of us.”

Dennis couldn’t stop thinking about the talk for the rest of Primary. As soon as his family left church, he blurted out, “I’m scared of giving a talk!” His voice trembled, and he felt hot tears in the corners of his eyes. “What if I mess up? What if I trip on my way to the microphone? Or what if I can’t remember what to say and freeze like a human statue?”

Mom smiled and put her arm around his shoulders. “I believe in you, and I have faith that Heavenly Father will help you.”

“Does Heavenly Father know I’m scared?” Dennis asked, wiping his eyes.

“Yes! Heavenly Father always knows how we feel,” Dad said. “He and the Savior understand everything we go through. They love us with all Their hearts.”

Dennis felt better after that. That night, he prayed about what he should say in his talk. He decided to share a scripture story. He thought of when Nephi’s bow broke. Nephi was brave and faithful, even when his older brothers were mean to him.

The next day Dennis wrote down that story in his own words. Mom helped him spell the words he didn’t know. Dennis practiced telling the story every day for the rest of the week.

On Sunday morning, Dennis said his talk to his family one last time. But he was still a little nervous.

“Dad, will you give me a blessing?” he asked.

“I would love to,” Dad said.

Dennis sat in a chair, and Dad put his hands on top of Dennis’s head. Dennis listened carefully as Dad spoke. Dad blessed him that he would be calm and that he would be able to say what he wanted to say. “Dennis, your Heavenly Father loves you very much,” Dad said. “His peace will be with you.”

Dennis felt a warm, calm feeling. He knew what Dad said was true.

When it was time for Dennis to give his talk, he walked to the front of the Primary room. He felt his knees shaking, but that didn’t stop him. And he didn’t trip! He looked to the back of the room and saw his parents smiling at him. He smiled back.

“Nephi and his family lived in the desert for years. But one time, Nephi b-broke his bow, so they couldn’t get f-f-food.” Dennis stopped. He was stuttering! He thought about giving up, but then he remembered his blessing. He took a deep breath and kept going.

“Nephi made a n-new bow and caught some food for his f-family. I know that Heavenly F-Father will help us as we try to do what’s right. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

As Dennis sat down, he felt a warm, calm feeling again. He had given a whole talk! God had helped him, just like Dad had promised in the blessing.

We recently did a Primary program, and I had a part for the first time. In years past, I was too afraid to even try to get up there in front of everyone at sacrament meeting. I am 100% sure Heavenly Father helped me be brave! If you are ever nervous, I know He can help you overcome your fears too.

Jaylee P., age 8, Kentucky, USA