*Note* The Church has made pretty clear that we should not have children--or anyone, really--represent the Spirit by directly acting like it in Church lessons. I think this holds true for FHE lessons, too. We should also not draw it like a ghost or trivialize/make it un-sacred in any way.
POINTS TO PONDER BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
- What does is mean to be "in tune" with the Spirit? What do you think of when you hear the phrase "in tune"--an old radio? A tuning fork? A relationship in your life where you were 'in sync' with each other? Something else?
- When have you clearly received inspiration in your life? Are any of these experiences something you could share with your family?
FROM ELDER COOK'S TALK:
- Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks of England, speaking to Roman Catholic leaders last December at the Pontifical Gregorian University, noted how secular some parts of the world have become. He stated that one culprit is “an aggressive scientific atheism tone deaf to the music of faith.”2
- "Finally, there are those who are in tune with the music of faith. You know who you are. You love the Lord and His gospel and continuously try to live and share His message, especially with your families.7 You are in harmony with the promptings of the Spirit, have awakened to the power of God’s word, have religious observance in your homes, and diligently try to live Christlike lives as His disciples."
- "In addition, when we inculcate into our lives scriptural imperatives and live the gospel, we are blessed with the Spirit and taste of His goodness with feelings of joy, happiness, and especially peace.23 Clearly, a dividing line between those who hear the music of faith and those who are tone-deaf or off-key is the active study of the scriptures. I was deeply touched years ago that a beloved prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, emphasized the need to continually read and study the scriptures. He said: “I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns.”24"
FROM ELDER SCOTT'S TALK:
- "The Holy Ghost communicates important information that we need to guide us in our mortal journey. When it is crisp and clear and essential, it warrants the title of revelation. When it is a series of promptings we often have to guide us step by step to a worthy objective, for the purpose of this message, it is inspiration."
- "When I am faced with a very difficult matter, this is how I try to understand what to do. I fast. I pray to find and understand scriptures that will be helpful. That process is cyclical. I start reading a passage of scripture; I ponder what the verse means and pray for inspiration. I then ponder and pray to know if I have captured all the Lord wants me to do. Often more impressions come with increased understanding of doctrine. I have found that pattern to be a good way to learn from the scriptures."
- "Inspiration carefully recorded shows God that His communications are sacred to us. Recording will also enhance our ability to recall revelation."
- REALLY, you should read this WHOLE TALK. It's amazing and every word is powerful...I find myself wanting to just put the whole thing here. :)
- "Listen, Listen" (the short, round of a song. :)
- "Search, Ponder, and Pray"
- "The Holy Ghost"
- "If With All Your Hearts"
- (Put a quarter on your head) Tell the children that whomever can get the quarter off your head without touching you can have it. When they cannot get the quarter, tell them that if anyone of them had asked, you would have handed him/her the quarter. The Bible says "Ask, and it shall be given you" Matthew 7:7 (see also verse 8). God desires to share His blessings with us, but we must ask in order to receive.
- Obviously, since one of the talks focuses heavily on being in tune with the music of faith, you could have lots of music playing from different sources (some worldly, but not inappropriate, music and then one primary song on repeat). Have the children try to listen to the music--discuss how they feel (frazzled? confused? is it hard?). Then have them literally "tune out" or turn off altogether the other songs until they can only hear the Church one, and talk about how they feel now.
- If you have access to a piano and/or a tuning fork: Ring the tuning fork, play the same note on the piano. Ask if the piano is in tune with the tuning fork. Ask why or why not? (piano hasn't been tuned, humidity, time between tunings, etc.) Make the connection that we need to do certain things to keep ourselves in tune with the Holy Spirit, i.e. prayer, scripture study, church attendance, etc.
- Start off your lesson with a volenteer to put on a pair of socks. When you show the volenteer the muddy socks, he/she won't want to put them on. Walk around the room asking for another volenteer to put them on. After they are reject the opportunity to put on the socks, relate it the the holy ghost, that he does not dwell in unclean things, just like we would not like to wear muddy socks, the Holy Ghost does not want to be in unclean situations.
GAMES & LEARNING ACTIVITIES:
- Show pictures of people doing good things, such as sharing and helping each other. Ask the children how they feel when they do good things. Describe to the children some situations of people doing good and bad things, such as helping their mothers, fighting with their brothers, sharing their toys, and disobeying their parents. Have the children smile when the action is good and frown when the action is not good.
- In a quiet voice say, “Everyone who can hear my voice, put your finger on your nose. Everyone who can hear my voice, put your hand on your head.” Continue, designating other parts of the body, until all the children are listening to your quiet voice. Explain that even though you were speaking quietly, when the children listened, they could hear your voice and obey your instructions. Explain that the Holy Ghost sometimes speaks to us in a quiet voice. If we listen carefully he will tell us important things.
- Set up a simple obstacle course, blindfold one of the kids, and have someone designated as the "leader" to get them through the course. Everyone else tries to lead them astray. Liken this to the Holy Ghost and the many distractions in our lives.
- People feel the Spirit in different ways. I know for me, sometimes it comes in a feeling of peace and warmth like Elder Scott said. Sometimes it's having something brought to my memory. Sometimes it's a feeling of clarity, or excitement. Reflect on your own life and find a few examples of inspiration/revelation that YOU have had, and share them with your family--even your very small children. Give them something to relate their feelings to. Have them share their own experiences if they feel so inclined. Teach your family through word and example Elder Scott's counsel: "Communication with our Father in Heaven is not a trivial matter. It is a sacred privilege. It is based upon eternal, unchanging principles. We receive help from our Father in Heaven in response to our faith, obedience, and the proper use of agency."
- One of my favorite games growing up was Outburst--where you picked a card that had a category and then 10 things that fell under that category, and you tried to name them all in a certain amount of time. I made an "Outburst" card (for the whole family to work together) that summarizes the ideas in Elder Scott's talk in 15 points. Download HERE. (Sorry, I didn't cover it in cool red marks, you'll just have to print it and mark off what the family says in black sharpie or something. :) Give family members 1-2 minutes to come up with as many things as they can from the list. If they miss anything, go back and highlight what Elder Scott said about it in his talk.
- For older children/youth, have them make a "T-chart" (divide a paper into two columns). On one side, write "Inviting the Spirit." On the other side, write "Things that block the Spirit." As you listen to Elder Scott's talk together, family members write down principles under the appropriate column. Share & compare. Have each person come up with a personal goal to help them improve their being "in tune" with the Spirit for this whole month. Follow up later.
HANDOUTS & FREEBIES:
- There's a coloring DICE about the Spirit, along with instructions on how you might use the cube, in THIS NURSERY LESSON. There's a coloring page of a boy getting the gift of the Holy Ghost HERE and a girl one HERE.
- There's a fun crossword all about the Holy Ghost HERE and a word search HERE.
CRAFTS & MORE:
- No crafts for you this week. That's okay, right? The Spirit does the inner beautifying. :)
- Give family members an origami box filled with white candies (it's a gift, just as the Holy Ghost is...and the white represents our purity). Wash it all down with some good ol' milk!