Welcome to another week of Primary lesson helps and teaching tips! ;) I hope that these weekly posts are helping someone out there--I really enjoy writing them up! I also hope you take the time to watch this short video about gratitude from the Mormon Channel on YouTube. It's fabulous!
This week's lesson is Primary 2: Lesson 24: I Can Show Gratitude. It's fabulous because gratitude has been on my mind lately! The purpose of this lesson is to help the children understand the importance of expressing gratitude to Heavenly Father.
I'm going to start with telling how I'll teach the lesson. Find my helps HERE.
*Instead of using water, a spoon, and a jar, I'll take fuzz balls and a jar and each time they say something they are thankful for, they can put a fuzz ball in the jar. Less mess. More fun--fuzz balls rock!
*The word strip for the week is gratitude. I would advise you to get actual word strips that teachers use and print the words out in proper formation. Of course, this is the teacher in me talking, but why not teach them about reading and writing in a gospel context? Their understanding is truly maximized by the spirit on all subjects!
*I will make cut outs of ten people to represent the ten lepers and we will separate them to show how many gave thanks and how many did not instead of using fingers. Some of my kiddos have trouble holding fingers down still. :)
*Instead of singing "Children All Over the World," we will sing "Thanks to Our Father" because it tells specific things we can be thankful for.
*I will combine the first two Enrichment Activities and we will look at pictures of animals, plants, houses, our body, etc. and talk about each one and how we can take care of them in order to show gratitude to our Father in Heaven.
*I will bring a baby food jar for each child in our class. When they are coloring their pictures, my DH and I will call two children up and help them write 5 things they are thankful for on small pieces of paper. These will go in the jar and the children can decorate them with stickers. They can keep them as a reminder to be thankful for these things and others.
And now some ways that we as teachers can be examples of gratitude in our classroom. Hopefully some of these tips will be useful to more than just primary teachers--they can be utilized in every aspect of our lives!
1. Be an example of gratitude during prayer. Make sure that when you help the children in your class or when you are saying a prayer yourself that you always give thanks to Father in Heaven first. I have noticed that there are a lot of people who know the order of prayer, but don't always follow it. I've been guilty of it myself! There is a reason that we are commanded to give thanks first. Elder Richard G. Scott has told us, "An important aspect of prayer is gratitude. When we contemplate the incomparable gift of prayer and the limitless blessings that flow from it, honest appreciation fills our mind and heart to overflowing with thanksgiving." President Ezra Taft Benson counseled us, "There’s a great tendency for us in our prayers—in our pleadings with the Lord—to ask for additional blessings. Sometimes I feel we need to devote more of our prayers to expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for blessings already received. Of course we need the daily blessings of the Lord. But if we sin in the matter of prayer, I think it is in our lack of the expressions of thanksgiving for daily blessings."
2. Say thank you for EVERYTHING, big or small. There are no small acts of service. When you notice that a child in your class is quiet and sitting nicely, thank them! They are making your job of teaching much easier. The children will see that you are grateful for them and will in turn be more grateful for you. When we are thankful for the small things, we will be thankful for the larger things. On the other hand, if we do not give thanks to those who serve us in small ways, how will we ever be grateful for the larger gifts and acts of service that come our way? Our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson, then a counselor in the First Presidency, has counseled us with these words of wisdom, "We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues." Our example of gratitude has the capacity to lift those we teach and everyone we come in contact with. Say thank you!!!
3. Show gratitude in small acts of service. Children love to receive letters and cards in the mail. When a child in your class does something especially wonderful for you, reciprocate with a simple expression of gratitude. Mail works, so does a small treat taken to their home during the week. Even a hug can do wonders to show your gratitude, and children LOVE to be noticed for their good works! We learn in the Doctrine & Covenants about the blessings that come from expressing gratitude. Section 78 verse 19 says, "And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more."
4. Always be on the lookout for things to be thankful for. If we are constantly seeking reasons to be grateful for our life and things that happen to us, we will be much happier! A happy attitude begets more happy attitudes from those around us. There are reasons to be thankful all around us--we just have to become more aware of them! In the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon, Amulek tells us that one of his desires for his brethren (which includes us) is that, "ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which [God] doth bestow upon you." (Alma 34:38)
May we always be aware of the blessings of the Lord in our lives and show gratitude to our Father in Heaven and those around us is my prayer. Have a blessed and restful Sabbath! :)