POINTS TO PONDER BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
- When is the last time I really *felt* God's love? How did it feel? How did it come about?
- Does my family teach a pattern of love that leads each member to understand God's love for us?
- He quotes President Hinckley: “To love the Lord is not just counsel; it is not just well-wishing. It is a commandment. … Love of God is the root of all virtue, of all goodness, of all strength of character, of all fidelity to do right” (“Words of the Living Prophet,” Liahona, Dec. 1996, 8; “Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Apr. 1996, 73).
- "The feeling of love from our Heavenly Father is like a gravitational pull from heaven. As we remove the distractions that pull us toward the world and exercise our agency to seek Him, we open our hearts to a celestial force which draws us toward Him."
- "Awakening the desire to know enables our spiritual capacities to hear the voice of heaven. Finding a way to awaken and nurture that desire is the quest and responsibility of each of us—missionaries, parents, teachers, leaders, and members...It is when we yield to God’s will and live His pattern that His Spirit is felt."
- "The Father’s plan designated the pattern of the family to help us learn, apply, and understand the power of love...Because of the heaven-designed pattern of the family, we more fully understand how our Heavenly Father truly loves each of us equally and fully."
- "Both modern and ancient scripture are full of reminders of Heavenly Father’s eternal love for His children. I am confident that our Heavenly Father’s arms are constantly extended, ever ready to embrace each one of us and say to each one with that quiet, piercing voice, 'I love you.'"
- "I Feel My Savior's Love"
- "I Am a Child of God"
- "My Heavenly Father Loves Me"
- "Where Love Is"
- "Love One Another"
- "I Know My Father Lives"
- "Teach Me to Walk in the Light"
- GOD'S LOVE NEVER CHANGES: Show kids a dollar bill (or higher). Ask what it's worth and if anyone wants it. Then crumble it up, step on it, etc. Show the tattered thing now. Ask if it's still worth the same and if the kids still want it. Just like the worth of the bill doesn't change, OUR worth to our Heavenly Father doesn't change no matter what we've done or where we've fallen short--He loves us unconditionally.
- THE COMFORTER: Take a fluffy comforter or other blanket from home and throw it in the dryer for a while before FHE. After talking briefly about what the Spirit feels like, wrap each child in the comforter. Talk about how one of the roles of the Spirit IS being the Comforter and He can help us feel God's love like a warm blanket when the cold world leaves you feeling alone and unimportant.
- THE GIFT OF THE SPIRIT: Gather a camera with a flash and a flashlight or glow sticks, and turn off the lights. Explain to your family that before we are baptized and confirmed, we can get little glimpses of God's love through the Spirit, kind of like the flashes of a camera in special moments. But after we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost, it's like God's love and Spirit are a flashlight (or glow sticks) lighting the way constantly before us--as long as our batteries are fully charged! Talk about things that "charge our batteries" from the talk or from your own experiences, such as prayer, scripture study, keeping the commandments in all things, and loving our families.
- PRAYER: Prayer is a BIG part of feeling God's love. Hold up a cell phone and ask them to name places where they've used a cell phone. Answers may include in a car, outside, in the house, even on a boat. Now ask them why they have used a cell phone. Answers may include I needed information, when I needed help, when I may be lost and not know directions, or when I just want to talk to someone. Talk about how we can ALWAYS call on Heavenly Father through prayer, and He will ALWAYS be on the other line--you'll never get a busy signal!
- For very young children, someone named Megan created a simple file folder game called "Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ Love Me." It's free to download HERE. There's also one called "I Am a Child of God" for download HERE.
- The Sunbeam manual has this cute verse to recite with accompanying actions: "Heavenly Father knows me (point to self)And what I like to do.He knows my name and where I live (make a roof by touching fingers of both hands).I know he loves me, too (cross arms and put hands on shoulders in hug).He knows what makes me happy (put fingers on smiling mouth).He knows what makes me sad (put fingers on down-turned mouth).I know he wants to help me (point to self),And that’s what makes me glad!"
- There's a cute game about how Christ showed (and shows) love, for junior primary-aged kids, free for download HERE.
- Play "spin the bottle," except when it lands on you you have to say something the Lord does for you or gives you that helps you know He loves you.
- Tell the children that you have one of the most important people in the world inside your special box. Have the children take turns guessing who it is. Then allow them one at a time to look inside the box. (Inside the box you put a large mirror, so when the children look inside they see themselves.) After they have all had a turn looking inside the box, ask them the question again. Explain to them that they each are one of the most important people in the world because they are unique/different and that there is no one else in the world just like them and that each one of them is a child of God.
- For older children/youth: Elder Koelliker lists several scripture stories in his talk about prophets who felt God's love. Assign a different scripture story (from the talk, like Nephi, Alma, and Mormon, or others you can think of) to each family member (if you can find a picture to go along with it that's even better...there are some Book of Mormon pictures online HERE) to read and have them teach the rest of the family why they needed to feel God's love and how it changed their lives.
- For older children/youth: Elder Koelliker talks a lot about patterns in his talk; "Patterns are templates, guides, repeating steps, or paths one follows to stay aligned with God’s purpose. If followed, they will keep us humble, awake, and able to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit from those voices that distract us and lead us away." If you're a sewer or knitter/crocheter, you can show a pattern and talk about how it shows you how to make something. If we want to make a happy life for ourselves, or feel the love of God, we have to follow the pattern! You could also do a pattern with shapes and talk about how we feel blessed (and therefore feel God's love in our lives), obey, feel blessed, obey...it's a pattern that repeats itself throughout our lives!
- There are coloring pages about God's loving us HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.
- There's a simple puzzle free to download HERE. I think it'd be cute as a handout. :)
- There is a simple heart-shaped handout available HERE. Kids draw a self-portrait in the middle.
- Cut hearts out of foam or construction paper and glue one to the end of a popsicle stick for each family member. Have them raise their hearts whenever someone says the word "love." This will keep them listening throughout the whole lesson!
- I made this 8"x10" free printable to go along with one of my favorite quotes from the talk:
|Free download HERE.|
- CELEBRATE YOU! I also have a little jpeg I made that you can print out, cut, and laminate for bookmarks, etc. You can also print off individual images (they're 5x7). Enjoy!
ALL THREE (Celebrate YOU!) DOWNLOAD
CRAFTS & MORE:
- "Love Bouquet"--cut out a bunch of hearts and glue/tape on pipe cleaners. Brainstorm as a family different ways God shows us He loves us, and write each idea on a different heart. Put them all together into a "love bouquet" in a vase with some fillers. I might do a 2-dimensional idea of this with some chalkboard paint on the heart-shaped flowers so I can change it out (or laminate and use dry erase markers).
- The idea above would also be a fun spin on a "heart attack"--create a bunch of hearts and have a place where you can write ways the Lord shows love to your family THIS WEEK and tape/pin them up throughout the week. Review the wall/board/area at the beginning of next week's FHE.
- ANYTHING heart-shaped, of course! Heart-shaped cookies, fruits, bread/rolls, etc. Strawberries with the tops cut off so they are more heart-shaped are always a crowd-pleaser.