Thursday, January 07, 2016

This Sunday was my daughter's first day as a little Sunbeam. I was hoping to send the Hubby and the Bubby to Sunday School while I went with the little lady to her first primary class, but Heavenly Father had different ideas.

The Primary chorister called a few days before and asked me to substitute for her. I was tempted to say no and tell her I wanted to be with Boo Bear, but I know how hard it is to find someone musically inclined without other commitments to substitute. So I said yes.

There is a brand new song for the kids to learn. It's so new that it's not even in the Children's Songbook yet.

 If I Listen with My Heart

If I had been a little child when Jesus lived on earth,
I would have liked to walk with Him and listen to His words,
But as I search the scriptures I can hear His words of peace,
And if I listen with my heart I hear the Savior's voice.

I prepared a pretty average singing time. I wrote the lyrics on butcher paper, printed pictures to put with the lyrics, and came up with a simple game for the kids to put the pictures up and pick primary songs to sing with them.

My goal was pretty much just to not make too big a fool of myself and keep the kids entertained for the 20 minute singing time. If they learned any of the song that would be a bonus.

Boy, did I underestimate those kids.

Baby Bear did okay at first, until she saw me stand up to lead the opening song. She wanted to come too, so I ended up just holding her and singing really loud in front of the piano. I couldn't get her to sit back down with her class, so she sat with me up front. That was okay until she saw that the other kids got to go up to the podium for the scripture and prayer. She wanted to go too and cried really loud when I wouldn't let her. So we found Daddy and he and Bubs sat with her while I led singing time.

The little kids go first while the big kids go to class. Most of them can't read so I had them take turns picking a picture and finding where it went on the poster. There were pictures of Jesus, listening ears, a heart. Each one had a primary song to sing written on the back. Between me having no idea what songs the kids knew and some of the kids being pretty new to primary, I assumed I'd just be singing for them. I was wrong.

They each sung with all their little hearts. Even the songs they didn't know. They'd sing something and as soon as they'd catch a word they'd belt it out really loud. Totally off key and totally adorable.

Each picture they picked went with a line of the lyrics. I explained each line a little bit as we put the pictures up. We talked about our hearts and how they helped us feel feelings. We talked about how Jesus loved to talk with the children where He lived. We talked about how Jesus doesn't live on the earth now, but He still lives and loves each of us. He loves us and wants to talk with us every day. We talked about how usually you listen with your ears to the words people say, but you can also listen to your feelings and what they say to you. We learned that it's the Spirit that speaks to us with our feelings and tells us the things Jesus wants us to know.

I didn't expect it to be so easy to talk about the Spirit. When you try to talk to adults about it, especially if they are hearing it for the first time, it can get complicated and confusing. It can be hard to find the words to explain how your feelings know so much, how you can communicate with deity through emotions, and how to know if your feelings are the Spirit or just your own worrying and contemplating.

But the kids listened and answered questions, volunteered the things they already knew, and soaked up things that were new to them.

They got it. And it didn't seem foreign to them.

We repeated the words to the song and listened to the music of the song. Then a magical thing happened.

They sung it nearly perfectly. This song that they'd never heard before sounded fantastic, like they'd been singing it for years. We sung it a couple more times and by the time it was time to break for classes, the kids knew the song.

I walked with Boo Bear to her class and she waved goodbye with a smile.

The big kids came in next and it went just as fantastically. The big kids really engaged in the conversation. When we talked about not being able to hear Jesus's words with our ears, they reminded me that Joseph Smith had actually seen and heard Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. When I asked them what our hearts did, they responded with intelligent answers about the circulatory system and how the heart pumps blood that carries oxygen to all the parts of our body. Then we related how the figurative heart helps us receive inspiration that is just as vital to our spirits as oxygen is to our bodies. They were not only listening, but excited to learn about the gospel and how to build a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

They also sung the song to near perfection on the first try.

It was a great experience. As the day went on I pondered about the lessons I had learned. I thought about how easy it was for the kids to learn spiritual truths because of their openness and their purity. I also thought about how easy it was to learn something that I would be hard because they did work to prepare by learning the lyrics and the meaning of the song before they sung it. I ended the day grateful that I had been able to participate so much in my little lady's first primary day. I was grateful that He had better ideas than I did.

But the very best part came a couple days later when I was coloring with my kiddos. I was drawing shapes and having her tell me what they were. When I drew a heart she answered with, "Heart uh-minds us Jesus wuvs me." And then my heart uh-minded me that even the littlest Sunbeam can feel His love with their heart.

Hooray for happy Sunbeams.

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  1. Love it! I love when the little ones repeat back to you things you really want them to learn.


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