POINTS TO PONDER BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
- Does what I spend my time on truly reflect my priorities? Of course we all feel that our hearts are in the right place, but are we SOWING in the Spirit? Do our actions and our time reflect that?
- What "opposition" am I facing right now? What can I do to overcome it?
From Elder Soares:
- "To sow in the Spirit means that all our thoughts, words, and actions must elevate us to the level of the divinity of our heavenly parents. However, the scriptures refer to the flesh as the physical or carnal nature of the natural man, which allows people to be influenced by passion, desires, appetites, and drives of the flesh instead of looking for inspiration from the Holy Ghost. If we are not careful, those influences together with the pressure of the evil in the world may conduct us to adopt vulgar and reckless behavior which may become part of our character. In order to avoid those bad influences, we have to follow what the Lord instructed the Prophet Joseph Smith about continuously sowing in the Spirit: “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33)."
- "Therefore, our daily question must be, “Do my actions place me in the Lord’s or in the enemy’s territory?”...The Light of Christ together with the companionship of the Holy Ghost must help us determine if our manner of living is placing us in the Lord’s territory or not. If our attitudes are good, they are inspired of God, for every good thing comes from God. However, if our attitudes are bad, we are being influenced by the enemy because he persuades men to do evil."
- "That which is sacred to God becomes sacred to us only through the exercise of agency; each must choose to accept and hold sacred that which God has defined as sacred. He sends light and knowledge from heaven. He invites us to receive and treat it as sacred."
- "The opposite of sacred is profane or secular—that which is temporal or worldly. The worldly constantly competes with the sacred for our attention and priorities. Knowledge of the secular is essential for our daily temporal living. The Lord instructs us to seek learning and wisdom, to study and learn out of the best books, and to become acquainted with languages, tongues, and people (see D&C 88:118; 90:15). Therefore, the choice to place the sacred above the secular is one of relative priority, not exclusivity; “to be learned is good if [we] hearken unto the counsels of God” (2 Nephi 9:29; emphasis added)."
- "The sacred cannot be selectively surrendered. Those who choose to abandon even one sacred thing will have their minds darkened (see D&C 84:54), and unless they repent, the light they have shall be taken from them (see D&C 1:33). Unanchored by the sacred, they will find themselves morally adrift on a secular sea. In contrast, those who hold sacred things sacred receive promises: “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (D&C 50:24)."
- "Who's On the Lord's Side, Who?" (a hymn, not a primary song, but still...most appropriate :)
- "Choose the Right" (also a hymn, but primary kids are learning it this year)
- "Seek the Lord Early"
- "The Wise Man & The Foolish Man"
- "Choose the Right Way"
- "I Have Two Little Hands"
- Obviously, with a theme like "you reap what you sow," anything related to plants would be a good object lesson. If you plant a tomato seed, you're not going to sprout up peaches! If we want to grow a strong, spiritual self, we need to "sow in the Spirit" as these leaders suggested.
- Give each family member a small pack of LEGOs (make sure each pack has the same number/color/sizes of bricks), and have them build anything they want. Point out that they were given the same things, but they made choices with each one and in the end they were all very different structures. NOW, show them step-by-step (or show a picture for older children) how to build one specific way. This is like life--we're each given different talents, sure, but we are all given the same time in a day to build what we want with those talents, and we could turn out lots of different ways. But when we prioritize our lives to follow what the Savior would have us do, we turn out as HE envisions us to become--and that is the best version of ourselves we can be.
- This is a classic from my youth: gather a few mason jars, large rocks or tennis balls (they should fit into a mason jar so much it seems "full"), some dried beans, some sand or rice, and some water to pour in at the end (optional). (You'll want to do this ahead of time to measure how much of each to have for them to use.) Have your kids experiment a little to see who can fit the most things in their jars. Show them that if you put the biggest things first, and work your way to the smallest, you'll have room for almost everything. But if you start with the small things, like the rice or beans, you won't be able to fit in the BIG ROCKS. Liken this to the BIG THINGS that matter most, that we ought to put first in our lives.
- From Mormonshare.com: "At the start of the lesson I had each person write on their popsicle stick something that they enjoyed spending their time on. (hobbie, sports, etc.) We talked about the importance of spiritual things and how the world tends to pull our focus away from those things. Have them look at the picture that your brought. (do this from a distance of atleast 7-10 feet) Know ask them to hold up their popsicle stick and put it in their field of vision. While focusing on Christ you can still keep in line other things. What would happen if you changed all your focus off of Christ and only on your stick. As you do this you will notice that your spiritual focus has been thrown off because you are focusing to much time on the other."
- Write or show pictures of several things your family does in a day--be sure to include some things that are spiritual, some things that are necessary, and some things that are fun. Have your family work together to put them on a spectrum from MOST important to LEAST important. I bet young children will have some pretty strong opinions about the matter! (Be sure to point out that most things we want to do are GOOD things, but that some things matter more because they help us work towards eternal life/draw nearer to Heavenly Father, and some things HAVE to be done or we aren't taking care of ourselves!) You could also do this with a daily to-do list or with a "bucket list" of 5 things each person really wants to do when he/she grows up.
- Ask your family to pretend they are in the following situation: Someone calls, “Help, the neighbor’s house is on fire!” As you rush to help the neighbors, which of the following would you do first? Carry out the furniture, call for help, save members of the family, or get the car out of the garage? Why did you choose as you did? Discuss with the family the fact that all of these things are important, but saving the family members is the most important, so it is the thing you should do first. Explain that in this situation it is very easy to see that one thing is more important than other things and so must be done first. But every day we must decide which are the most important things for us to do that day, and often we have a hard time making the right decisions.
- Elder Soares says that every choice we make has us either on the Lord's side or Satan's. Grab a handful of Teddy Grahams, Sour Patch Kids, or other human-esque treat (gingerbread men?) and some stringy licorice. Lay out the licorice and decide where the "Lord's side" and "Satan's side" are going to be. Give examples (pertinent to your family's age) of choices you might make and have them place their people-marker on the appropriate side. Point out that even when we make bad choices, we can repent and come over to the good side again. :)
- Does anyone else want to watch a Star Wars clip now? Maybe you could even have pool noodle lightsaber wars as your kids fight off the "dark side." :)
- Speaking of Star Wars and other fictional characters, what kid doesn't like to learn about Super Heroes and super villains? There's a fun FHE idea HERE that likens Christ to a super hero, and has kids drawing choices that lead them "upstairs" to Christ or "downstairs" to the devil--with some repentance cards thrown in there, too! :)
- Print off the "CTR gameboard" HERE and make up your own cards on half-size index cards that have to do with choices we might make (multiple-choice questions, and they choose the answer they think...Important (priority) and eternal choices should be worth more points than everyday, secular things, and good choices move you forward that many spaces--bad choices move you back.
- COLORING: There's one about choosing the right HERE. There's one about our spiritual attitudes (definitely coordinating with the talks even though the quote is by President McKay) HERE (I like the second one, personally, which is the picture shown above). And I made a simple coloring page for you again, about choosing the Lord's path over all the others, shown below. :) You can download that one HERE.
- Make a pretty bucket list (like this one, or this one, or even just for this season, if not your whole life) or daily to-do that you can easily change out. Display it somewhere to keep your mind focused on the things that matter most to you!
- Obviously things of eternal importance--especially daily prayer and scripture study--keep us on the Lord's side best and should be our biggest priorities. Paint/design prayer rocks and print off a scripture reading chart for each person to color in as they read, or make a spiritual sticker chart, etc...
- Eat the Teddy Grahams/Animal Crackers and twizzlers from the activity above. :)
- 'Use Scrabble Tile Cheez-its to spell words like "agency," "priorities," "choice," etc. or a sentence like "I Will Follow the Lord." Each child gets to eat their words!
- Make fortune cookies with things you all want to do in the future as your fortunes!
- If your discussions, like mentioned in the talks, led you to talking about prioritizing spiritual and secular education, make these "scripture cookies"--you'll need BOTH to make them!
Scripture Cookies–Oatmeal Raisin
Psalms 55:21- 3/4 c. crisco butter 2 Ne 26:25- 1/3c. milk & honey Jeremiah 6:20- 2/3 c. packed brown sugar Isaiah 10:14- 2 eggsAdd to above mixture: Kings 4:22- 1 c. flour Songs of Solomon 4:14- 1 tsp. cinnamon D&C 101:39- 1/4 tsp. salt 1 Corinthians 4:6- 1 tsp. baking soda 1 Samuel 30:12- 1 c. raisins D&C 89:17- 3 c. oatmealMix well. Drop tablespoon size onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 min.