I was especially aware of how hard this is on Sunday when our Stake President, an amazing and wonderful leader, was visiting our ward and came to Primary. No, it wasn't ward conference. Yes, I was nervous. I had to remind myself that it's not about pulling off my plan perfectly, it's about helping these little ones have a positive experience and feel the spirit. I love President Monson's quote: "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved." So, no, my plan didn't go like I imagined, but I hope those little Sunbeams felt loved.
I can't control the Sunbeams, but I can control how I prepare and how I treat them. Here are some things that I think help.
- Know their names - helps to have a list to review
- Be consistent - they like to know the expectations; We sit on our chairs, We listen to the teacher, We raise our hand
- Follow a routine - they like to know what comes next; Wiggle songs, welcome, prayer, talk, birthday, spotlight, Singing Time, Sharing Time
- Involve them - even in the littlest ways; hold a picture, stand up front if you like the song, help lead the song
- Get them moving - almost any song can be a wiggle song when you: sign, march, stand up/sit down, tap the rhythm, do an action on a certain word
- Get on their level - adults are really tall to them, especially if they are sitting and we are standing
- SMILE - the easiest way to show them they are loved and accepted
- Pray - they are His children, He knows them and can help us teach and love them
I love this quote by President Hinckley, even though it's addressed to parents, I think it might apply here. "Never forget that these little ones are the sons and daughters of God and that yours is a custodial relationship to them, that He was a parent before you were parents and that He has not relinquished His parental rights or interest in these little ones...Now, love them, take care of them. Take care of your little ones...and love them with all of your hearts..." (Gordon B. Hinckley, address to the Salt Lake University 3rd Stake Conference, Nov. 3, 1996).
If you've had a hard week, you're not alone. We're in this together, building His Kingdom one little Sunbeam at a time!