Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd

Welcome to another week of Primary lesson helps!  This week's lesson is found in the Primary 2 manual, Lesson 23: Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd.

As I read the purpose of the lesson, "To help each child understand that every person is important to Jesus Christ," I realized something.  I've already KNOWN this, but I needed the good reminder--if there is a purpose to each lesson, aren't I as the teacher supposed to be the example of each purpose?  Wow.  That is a huge deal!  How will the children in my class actually learn to apply this lesson if I don't show them HOW to?

Jesus said love ev’ryone;
Treat them kindly, too.
When your heart is filled with love,
Others will love you.

Words and music: Moiselle Renstrom, 1889–1956

I'm going to give you some suggestions of how we can show the children in our class and all those in our lives that each person is important to Jesus Christ.  I'm going to start by telling you a story...

When I first moved to Kansas with my parents a l-o-n-g time ago, I was only 11 years old.  We moved here the week that school started and I knew NOBODY.  I had gone to primary 1 time and had met a few girls my age, but I was basically friendless, in a new state, starting at a new school.  I was really scared.

It wasn't long before I had made some friends at school and at church and was feeling like part of the group.  There was one girl in our class at church that was a bit different and the other girls were not very nice to her.  I was unsure what to do, as my parents had taught me to treat everyone with kindness, but I really wanted to fit in.  I am ashamed to admit that I followed the crowd.  I have spent my life making up this mistake.

A few days after one such unkind incident as you can probably imagine, the girl's mother called my parents to let them know how her daughter had been treated.  I was called into my parents' room and they asked me if what they had heard was true.  I was immediately ashamed--the same feeling that I had had when the actual incident occurred.  I tried to defend myself, knowing all along that I was wrong.  I eventually confessed and told my parents that I would try very hard to fix the situation.

I soon became good friends with this girl.  She was still different and continued to be different for the rest of our school career.  She is still in my ward today.  I am proud to be her friend and I am grateful that Heavenly Father has also called me to be her visiting teacher because she does listen to me and take advice from me.  She trusts me and I am ever grateful to parents who called me out about my bad behavior instead of thinking that their child would NEVER do that.  Because of this experience, I was able to come to a greater knowledge and understanding of the worth of souls.

"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God..." Doctrine & Covenants 18:10

Here are a few lessons that I learned from this experience:

1. Everyone is of eternal importance to our Father in Heaven.  No matter what we do, no matter what sins we commit, our Father in Heaven always loves us.  He wants all of us to repent and return to Him.  President Gordon B. Hinkley said, "Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children." We should treat each other like family members that we love and care for.  This is the same way that God cares for and treats each of us.

2. There is a great need to look past mortal difficulties and see eternal potential.  This is built upon the foundation that we are children of God.  We each come to earth to experience things that, when handled correctly, will lead us back to our Father in Heaven.  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has taught us that, "God Himself said we are the reason He created the universe! His work and glory—the purpose for this magnificent universe—is to save and exalt mankind. In other words, the vast expanse of eternity, the glories and mysteries of infinite space and time are all built for the benefit of ordinary mortals like you and me. Our Heavenly Father created the universe that we might reach our potential as His sons and daughters."  As we come to realize our own potential, we will be able to see the eternal potentials that others have.  No matter what trials and weaknesses we have here in mortality, each of us has the potential to become like our Father in Heaven.  No matter what physical ailment or mental disability that may be present in the children you teach, these are only for a small moment and are not indicative of the amazing spirit within the mortal frame they have been given.

3. Patience really IS a virtue and forgiveness is as well.  Sometimes you will be called to work with someone that knows how to push your buttons.  This will happen for your entire life.  There is no way that you will be able to get along perfectly with each and every person you meet.  This is called being mortal.  As you learn to be patient with other personalities and to forgive things that others have done to you, you will find it easier to see the eternal importance of each soul you come in contact with.  Most of the time I feel that those who offend us really and truly meant no offense.  Even if the offense is meant, we have still been commanded to forgive and be patient with those who have given the offense.  "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven..." Luke 6:37.  Make allowances for people.  This doesn't mean that you make excuses for behavior, it means that you take into account all that life has thrown at the person and try to put yourself in that situation.  It makes it a lot easier to forgive and to have patience.  I know that I am grateful when people make allowances for me.

4. NEVER speak ill of those you come in contact with or anyone close to them. Or anyone, really.  If you want to create a basis of trust with those around you, the quickest way to do this is to find the good in them and those they are close to (family members, etc.).  The quickest way to lose trust is to speak ill of someone.  President Uchtdorf has counseled us to, "Stop it!  It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters."  

I know that when we follow these basic principles of Christian living that we will be able to cultivate relationships of trust and caring and that our capacity to love and serve will grow and become more perfect each day.

Now, onto the lesson! ;)  Find the lesson helps HERE.  These are some ways that I will be altering the lesson to fit the needs of the kiddos in my class.  Feel free to use these ideas if you think they'd help your class as well!

*The "puzzle" will be created by just printing out a photo onto cardstock and cutting it into squares.  Making an actual puzzle would stress a few of my kiddos out.

*I will be placing the puzzle piece of the lamb underneath on of the children's chairs or under the table in our room.

*I will bring a towel for each child to put on their head to pretend to be a shepherd as they search for the piece of the puzzle.  Depending on how things go, we may go for a short "field trip" to find the puzzle piece near a picture of Christ outside the chapel.

*Our word strip for the week will say "fold" and we will talk about what the word means in relation to shepherding.

*We will glue cotton balls to our lambs for the children to take home.  I'm making 2 printouts--one smaller lamb with their name and a larger lamb on a whole sheet of paper for the cotton balls.

*I will have the children sign cards for the children in our class who aren't there and will deliver to those children through the rest of the week to let them know that they were missed. Since I make cards, I will just make up about 5 of them and use these.  I'll probably utilize the lamb image in the lesson helps. :)

That's all this week--hope any or all of this information can help you in some way!  Have a restful Sabbath! :)


Katrina said...

Oh my goodness, you are an angel. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. I love my primary class. And I want to do a good job teaching them. But sometimes I struggle to come up with ideas that will keep them interested, while at the same time getting the spirit of the lesson across to them. Thank you for your ideas.

Julie said...

Thank you very much for sharing a part of your "uni-verse" with us! The pictures and lessons helps are a god-send to me this week. Bless you!

Nathalie C said...

Thank you so much for sharing these ideas. I will definitely have the children do the sheep craft, now I must find glue that isn't a gluestick haha!