I was featured on 4/30/13 on “Babble” by journalist Kacy Faulconer. The article is called “What is Value-Based Parenting?”
***Note: Please read the post called “10 Lesson Helps” found under “Primary Lesson Listings” before reviewing any of my Sunbeam lesson plan ideas.
“The Lord taught that those who have desires to assist in His work must ‘be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity’ (D&C 12:8). Only those who are motivated by love will have a positive, powerful influence on those they teach. Pray to be filled with Christlike love toward every person you teach, especially those who sometimes behave inappropriately.” (Teaching, No Greater Call, p. 85).
Materials needed: picture 1-37 (Daniel Refusing the King’s Meat and Wine), pictures of foods from a magazine or book, pictures of foods cut into half, magazines with pictures of food (such as in advertisements) for each child, child-sized scissors, paper plates, glue sticks, a healthy food item like an orange.
On your way to class, stop by the bathroom sink and have each child wash their hands with soap and water. Discuss why we use soap and water and how to properly clean their hands.
Show the picture 1-37 and tell the story of Daniel in King’s court. Briefly discuss how we also eat good foods and follow the commandment about being healthy called “The Word of Wisdom.” Have the children repeat that phrase a few time.
Our bodies are very special and we want to take good care of them.
Show healthy foods from the pictures. What is your favorite food? Let each child discuss.
Sit the children in a circle on the floor.
I’ve brought a healthy food that I love to eat. What is it? (an orange). Discuss where the food came from, what parts we eat or don’t eat and how it makes our bodies strong (it’s full of vitamin C that is good for us). We will sing the favorite food song and when I roll the orange to you, catch it, and tell us your favorite healthy food.
(Sing to the tune “The Muffin Man”)
“Oh tell me what’s your favorite food
your favorite food, your favorite food,
Oh tell me what’s your favorite food,
A healthy food today.”
When you are done with this activity, open up the orange and share a section with each child. Have them show you their clean hands they washed earlier. Tell them they should always wash before eating food. What does the orange taste like? How does your body feel inside when you are eating something healthy?
While they are still on the floor, place the food picture halved pieces in front of them. See if they can guess what they are. Give the other half to the children, one by one, and have the match the food puzzle pieces.
Heavenly Father wants us to keep our bodies healthy and strong by eating food foods and also by exercising. How can you exercise?
If you have good weather, go outside and show all the wonderful things their bodies can do. Line up the children on one end of the yard and have them get to the other side by:
jumping like a kangaroo
flapping their arms and flying like a bird
hopping like a frog
If you have bad weather, do the Path Game:
Make a path game by laying down the pictures of foods on the floor from one end of the room to the other (clear chairs away if needed). Put a piece of paper next to each food starting with “1” and on up to the last picture. On the backside of the numbered papers, write an exercise to do (jump up and down 10 times, hop on one foot 3 times, do a somersault, twirling for 3 seconds, kick one leg in the air, etc.). Have each child draw a number (written on papers in a sack, or spin a spinner or roll a die from a game) and walk that many steps to a picture. Name the food. On the other side, do the exercise it tells you to do. Keep going until they get to the end of the path. Continue with each child. Repeat if appropriate.
Make the “Healthy Plate.” Have the children look through the magazines and find pictures of healthy foods they like. Have them cut them out (or do it for them if they have difficulty with this) and glue the foods on their paper plate. Write the word down next to the food picture.
Bear your testimony that Heavenly Father gave us only one body and it is very special. We need to obey His commandments to be happy and healthy by taking care of our bodies.
Here’s a link to a nice online magazine called Glo.com where I am quoted a few times. It is entitled “Maternal Instincts: 8 secrets of happy moms.”
Anyone who knows me is probably aware of what a huge fan I am of the comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes.” In my opinion, when it left syndication, our society lost one of its shrewdest social commentators, satirists, and philosophizers on familial relationships. Not to mention it was the funniest thing ever printed (with the exception of perhaps “The Far Side”).
In one strip, Calvin, the 6-year-old boy/entrepreneur, has turned over a cardboard box on the sidewalk and is sitting behind it. On it he has written: A swift kick in the butt: $1.00. Calvin’s friend Hobbes asks him how business is going. Calvin’s discouraged reply: “Terrible. I can’t understand it. Everybody I know needs what I’m selling.”
Those sagacious words passed through my mind as literally thousands of people streamed past me with shopping carts full of kids and Costco merchandise at my book signings. In my 3-hour signing segments over the past month, I had a lot of time to watch wonderful families in all shapes and sizes. You should try it sometime…with or without a signing. Just sit there and watch people interact as they hurriedly shop for all the glorious groceries we can’t live without…like chips and mango salsa, take-and-bake pizza, and a giant box of 110 frozen cream puffs.
Here are some things I learned:
When your son pulls you over to a table where there is a book for sale about parenting and tells you that you should buy it, take that as a swift kick in the butt and ask him why (and then listen very closely).
When you respond to your phone more often than your child needing your attention, take that as a swift kick in the butt and focus on what is real.
When a man comes up to the author at her book signing table and accuses, “CHURCH OF THE DEVIL! WORSHIPPER OF SATAN!!! (and worse things that I won’t mention here) and “FALSE PRIESTHOOD!!!!” someone needs a swift kick in the butt but I won’t mention who that is here either.
When you stop and talk to a friend for 2 hours while your kids wait patiently with nothing to do, take that as a swift kick in the butt and give them 2 hours of your undivided time later.
I got a swift kick to knock me down to reality after I heard the following:
“I bought your book last week and started to read it but fell asleep.”
“Does your book have a chapter about How To Not Lose Your Kid in Costco? I’d buy it if it did.”
“Does your book have anything in there about teaching your children about sex? My daughter has 4 sons and just had a baby girl. The boys looked over her privates and said, ‘Too bad. It hasn’t grown in yet.'”
I needed a swift kick in the butt to remind me of the hypocrisy of my signing books on the subject of parenting on the same night of my daughter’s 17th birthday which prevented me from being there for her.
After watching a deluge of families with bright, beautiful, friendly kids enjoying being together, even during mundane chores like shopping, I needed a swift kick in the rear to appreciate how many moms and dads are doing an amazing job at parenting.
Most of all, I got a swift kick, or gentle reminder, that life isn’t really all that complicated. We just make it so. The things that matter most are usually right in front of us with feet dangling out the shopping cart and a face smeared with a sample of triple-layer chocolate cake.
***Note: Please read the post called “10 Lesson Helps” found under “Primary Lesson Listings” before reviewing any of my Sunbeam lesson plan ideas.
“If you teach little children, you know that it can be a challenge to teach them the gospel. But little children want and need to hear gospel truths. They will respond to your efforts to present warm, varied, and enthusiastic gospel lessons” Teaching, No Greater Call, p. 7.
Materials needed: Primary Visual Aids cutouts (sun, moon, stars, animals, plants and flowers), picture 1-33 of Adam and Eve; colorful chalk and eraser or whiteboard, colorful dry erase markers and eraser.
Put all the cut out pictures on the floor or table face down in front of the students.
What are some of the things that Jesus created for the earth? (get answers from each child).
Have each child come forward and turn over a picture and tell what it is. After naming it, have everyone say together, “Jesus created ____________” Everything on the earth was made for us to use and enjoy. Everything is a part of Heavenly Father’s plan.
Sing “My Heavenly Father Loves Me” (Children’s Songbook, p. 228)
Whenever I hear the song of a bird (hand cupped to ear)
Or look at the blue, blue sky, (hand raised above eyes)
Whenever I feel the rain on my face (fingers tapping on face)
Or the wind as it rushes by (motion hands across in front of body)
Whenever I touch a velvet rose (finger touch)
Or walk by a lilac tree, (walk in place)
I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world (arms in a big circle)
Heavenly Father created for me. (hug self)
Repeat the song and then ask them to do all the actions while they sing it.
What is missing on the earth? We have the moon, sun, stars, animals, insects and trees and flowers. What else is an important part of Heavenly Father’s plan? Show picture 1-33. Explain that after all the other things were created, Adam and Eve were created to live on earth and take care of everything. They were the first man and woman. They had bodies like Heavenly Father’s body.
What was the first man’s name? What was the first woman’s name?
Feel your arm. What does it feel like? Did Adam and Eve have arms like ours?
Feel your face. What does it feel like? Did Adam and Eve have a face like ours?
Repeat with a few other body parts.
Sing “I Wiggle” Children’s Songbook, p. 271.
Repeat the song with other body parts.
Adam and Eve had children after they left the Garden of Eden. Having children and families was very important and I am very grateful they did so we could come to earth. You and I were born to a mom and dad so we could be happy and obedient to God’s commandments.
I am going to draw a picture and you tell me which of God’s creations it is. Repeat until they have had plenty of examples. When you draw a person, be sure to emphasize that Adam and Eve were the last and best of God’s creations. They were His children. We are all His children.
Sing “I Am a Child of God” (Children’s Songbook, p. 2).
Let children draw pictures of things on earth that they love.
***Note: Please read the post called “10 Lesson Helps” found under “Primary Lesson Listings” before reviewing any of my Sunbeam lesson plan ideas.
“A skilled teacher doesn’t think, ‘What shall I do in class today?’ but asks, ‘What will my students do in class today?’; not, ‘What will I teach today?’ but rather, ‘How will I help my students discover what they need to know?’” Teaching, No Greater Call, p. 61.
Materials needed: a soft ball or toy, picture 1-35
Show picture of Israelites (1-35) and tell the story of collecting manna and how they kept the Sabbath Day Holy. Collecting manna was like going to the store to get food. We don’t do that on Sunday. Sunday is a special day and it has a special name called “The Sabbath Day.” Can you say, “Sabbath Day”? (Repeat until all can say it). It means it is Heavenly Father’s day that we keep holy.
Sit in a circle and toss a soft ball or toy to each child. When they catch it, they tell something they can do on Sunday. Give them ideas if they need.
Let’s sing a song about the days of the week. We’ll walk in a circle and act these out while we sing.
(sing to the Tune “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush”)
“This is the way we eat our breakfast…so early in Monday morning.” Repeat with other actions. Each time, end with the next day of the week. On Sunday say, “This is the way we go to church…so early Sunday morning” (walk slowly with arms folded).
We also show Heavenly Father and Jesus that we love them by getting clean and putting on our nicest clothes when we come to church. Comment about each child and what they are wearing. Point out things like, “Jonathon has on a very nice vest. It is very clean and has blue and green on it. I think he saves it for his Sunday best.” or “Maria has on special Sunday shoes and white tights. She is wearing a pretty blue dress with pleats at the bottom. Her hair is clean and combed into a ponytail and has a yellow bow in it.” After you have said something nice about each child, tell them how much Heavenly Father is pleased that they got ready in their best clean clothing and clean bodies to come to His house.
Sing “Mary Wore Her Red Dress” (personalizing it to each child)
“Mary wore her red dress, red dress, red dress, Mary wore her red dress to church today.”
Repeat each verse with each child’s name and clothing.
Each child takes off one shoe and puts it in the middle of the floor. Pick up each shoe and pretend it can talk. Say things like:
“Hi. I’m Timothy’s shoe. I live in his closet with his other shoes. He has tennis shoes and snow boots and sandals for the summer. I sit there and wait for every Sunday when he picks me to wear to church.”
“Hi. I’m Angel’s shoes. I am very beautiful. Can you see how I am black with flowers on the top? She never wears me to go outside to play because I am very special. She wants to keep me clean. I only go on her feet on Sundays.”
“I belong to Daniel. He likes me very much. Do you know how I can tell? He takes very good care of me. He doesn’t splash in the mud or water but walks very slowly and carefully when he wears me. He only puts me on when it’s Sunday. I am his “Reverent Shoes.” He thinks about Jesus and walks very slowly when I am on his feet. I remind him to use his inside walking feet and not to run.”
After highlighting each shoe, put them all back and have each child come up and pick a shoe out of the pile. Have them give it to the owner it matches.
We are in Heavenly Father’s house. We keep it clean. We don’t put trash on floor or run in the halls. We walk reverently and take care of everything because it is a special place. Let’s practice walking quietly down the halls with our quiet shoes and check to see if the floors are all clean. If we see any litter, be sure to pick it up and throw it in the trash.
Back in class: How did you feel when you were walking reverently and showing respect for Heavenly Father and Jesus? Bear your testimony about the Sabbath Day and how we can feel when we keep it holy. It is a day when we can worship God and feel close to Him to feel His love for us.
The most important thing we do on the Sabbath is come to church to take the sacrament. It is the most special thing we do. Explain purpose of sacrament. How do we sit while we are in sacrament meeting. Why do we sit quietly? (wait for answers). We sit quietly to show our love for Heavenly Father and Jesus and feel their Spirit.
Make up a story about a girl who is trying to be reverent, but her sister keeps bugging her. Can she think about Jesus when her sister is bothering her?
What would you do?
Tell different scenarios about having someone ask them to do something wrong on the Sabbath. After each one, ask What would you do? Toss the ball to the person who will answer the question.
Why has Disney cashed in on animating fairy tales and creating theme parks about them? Perhaps because their message is universal. Fairy tales are just stories about families and overcoming adversity. Little Red Riding Hood had a caring mother who sent her to visit a sick grandma (by way of a forest and a pesky wolf). Cinderella lived in a “blended family” (as we would call it today) and overcame her dire circumstances with hope, hard work and help from a few animal friends. The Five Chinese Brothers used the special skills of each sibling to survive execution, thus showing that five siblings working together are stronger than each one on his own.
Children have been told these traditional stories in countries throughout the world for centuries. These tales emboldened children who might have felt powerless otherwise, offered them optimism where cynicism was all too common, and taught them that no matter who you are, you can rise above your status-quo state of mind. Who doesn’t need those messages? We pay a lot to hear them!
Could we also use our own family stories to teach children these same lessons? Absolutely, yes! and they don’t have to be heroic deeds by knights in our family tree. In fact, they can also be stories of disappointment and loss, but ones that teach us appreciation for what we have and how we can do better.
Sharing family narratives is a lost art and one we should all recognize and foster within families. I was impressed to see research by Dr. Duke and Dr. Fivush that found the “more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned” (“The Stories That Bind Us,” New York Times, March 15, 2013).
Knowing stories where ancestors overcame compelling challenges helps children know they can also succeed. Furthermore, those with a strong “intergenerational self” (knowing they belong to something greater than themselves), have the most self-confidence and emotional stability. Like Simba from “The Lion King,” seeing his father, Mufasa, in a vision:
Rafiki: Look down there.
Simba: [looks into a pool of water] That’s not my father. That’s just my reflection.
Rafiki: No, look harder. [touches the water, as it ripples Simba’s reflection changes to that of his father]
Rafiki: You see? He lives in you.
Mufasa: [from above] Simba.
Mufasa: [appears among the stars] Simba, you have forgotten me.
Simba: No. How could I?
Mufasa: You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life.
Simba: How can I go back!? I’m not who I used be!
Mufasa: Remember who you are. You are my son and the one true king. Remember…
Simba: We’ll always be together, right?
Mufasa: Simba, let me tell you something my father told me. Look at the stars, the great kings of the past are up there, watching over us.
Mufasa: Yes. So whenever you feel alone just remember that those kings will always be there to guide you and so will I.
Bruce Feiler, author and motivational speaker, challenges us to tell our children where they came from as we raise them to go forward and carve their own paths. It’s another way of saying, “I’ve got your back and so do many others behind you.” I do this by saying something like this to a child: “Your great sense of humor helps you see the world in such a positive way. You inherited that gift from your grandma.” The Ugly Ducklings in the family have hope that one day they will grow into the strong, beautiful adults in their lives. When one of my daughters visited Hawaii on a vacation, I reminded her of a story from her great-grandfather’s life, my grandfather, who had a near-death experience there. It made that location so much more personal to her. It physically connected her to an ancestor she has never met.
One way to assess how well children know their extended family is to ask them simple “What Do You Know” questions. “Do you know where your grandparents were born?” “Do you know where your parents went to high school?” These could be done casually at mealtime, at bedtime, or while driving in the car. In Duke and Fivush’s study, children who scored highest on these questions also felt the highest sense of control over their lives, had higher self-esteem and belief in their family’s ability to function.
After our family Easter Egg Hunt this year, my husband and I sat four of our children down and asked them to write down the answers to 20 “What Do You Know” family history questions. The winner would get a big bonus chocolate bar for their Easter basket. We weren’t sure how they would respond to this activity since “family history” isn’t high on their lists of Fun Things I Do With My Parents.
It was quite startling to see how eager they were to participate (maybe it was just enthusiasm over more chocolate) and even turned hilarious at times. Our kids put down really funny answers when he didn’t know the correct ones (to the question: “What was the name of the ranch in Wyoming where your great-grandparents lived in a cabin?” one wrote, “Hell” instead of “Hillard”).
They didn’t score very well (the highest was 12/20) but the activity was so successful, my husband and I decided to make it an annual Easter Day tradition. I’m sure it won’t guarantee a Happily Ever After, but it does something even better: gives them power to slay their own dragons and find their own way home.
“Children need and appreciate rules and limits. Work with the children you teach to establish a few simple, clear rules (no more than three or four). This will help them govern themselves. Explain that following the rules helps everyone enjoy learning together. Also discuss what will happen when rules are broken. You may want to decide together on a signal for restoring order, such as the teaching standing with folded arms.” Teaching, No Greater Call, pp. 80, 81.
Materials needed: cheese and crackers (or just crackers), pictures of insects (if possible), 5 pictures of the stages of caterpillar-to-butterfly metamorphosis (print off from any internet site with simple graphics), toilet roll tubes (2 per each child taped together with a string tied in a loop to each one), dress ups for “Elijah” (perhaps a scarf and tie to wrap around the head), color markers and/or stickers, Gospel art pictures 1-31 and 1-32.
Show picture 1-31, asking the children what they see. Tell them the man in the picture is prophet named Elijah. The black birds are called “ravens.” Notice what is in their mouths and how he is looking at them with his hand out. Tell story of Elijah being fed by the ravens. God has power over everything on earth and created all the animals. So He can make the animals on Noah’s ark to be friends and He can tell the birds to get food to feed Elijah. All the animals obey Heavenly Father. We should too.
Show picture 1-32, asking the children what they see in this picture. What is in this picture that is the same as Elijah and the ravens? Point out that these white birds are called “seagulls.” The people in the picture are pioneers. Tell the story of the pioneers and the crickets and seagulls. How did the seagulls save the pioneers? Did these birds also obey God? Should we be like these birds and obey Heavenly Father? Why?
Dress us one student as the prophet Elijah. Tell the story again and have him hide in a “cave” (under the table). Other children can be the “birds.” Give them “bread and meat” (crackers and cheese) to fly over and feed Elijah. Take turns.
Sing a song about birds:
Five little birds. Five little birds. (hold up 5 fingers)
Five little birdies sitting on a fence. (put wrist with fingers [5 birds] spread out on top of other arm held out horizontally [the fence])
Oh no! One has flown a-way. (Hold up one finger and put it behind back)
Isn’t that a shame!
4 Little Birdies…(Keep going until there are no birds left)
No little birds. No little birds.
No little birdies sitting on a fence.
Oh look! One of them has re-turned. (Bring one finger out from behind back)
Let us all re-joice! Yeah!!!!! (clap)
One little bird….(Keep going until they are all returned).
Heavenly Father also created insects. What is an insect? They are another name for a “bug.” They crawl on the ground or fly in the air. What is your favorite insect? (Allow discussion). If you have pictures of insects, show them and discuss their names and what they do. Be sure you are positive in nature about insects. If you show signs of fear or are “grossed out,” the children will read your negative messages and body language.
I’m going to give you a clue to a special insect. Listen and then guess what it is:
It used to be a caterpillar.
It has two beautiful wings.
It likes to rest on flowers.
Show the pictures of metamorphosis. Discuss the life cycle of a butterfly. Put the pictures on the floor in random order. Invite the children to come and sit on the floor. Have children put the pictures in order. Mix them up again and repeat.
Sitting in a circle on the floor, show the children how to make a “butterfly” with their hands: hands side by side, palms down, cross thumbs and lock together and flap extended hands for the “wings.” One child makes the butterfly hands as they walk around the outside of the circle of children, and have it land on a person’s shoulder at the end of the song. Everyone sings while they go around the circle:
One Little Butterfly (sing to tune “One Little Elephant”)
One little butterfly flew far away
On a very bright sunny day
It flew into the sky so blue
And when it was tired it landed on you!
(Take turns until everyone has had a chance to be the butterfly.)
There are many people who love Heavenly Father’s creations and want to go into nature to look at them. There are bird watchers and insect collectors. We will make pretend binoculars like bird watchers use. Binoculars help you to see things that are far away.
Give each child their “binoculars” and let them color with markers and/or put on stickers. Show them how to put the string around their neck to keep them on. They look though the two tubes to see birds and insects close up. If the weather is nice, you can go outside an look for insects and birds. If it is not, you can tape up pictures around the room and let them go around and see them through their binoculars.
Bear your testimony of how birds and insects are part of God’s beautiful creations. Tell them to notice different kinds of birds and insects the following week and thank Heavenly Father for them in their prayers this week.
Monday, April 08, 2013
Alice Gold’s Review on:http://imsofunny.blogspot.com/
You know the old philosophy that parenting doesn’t come with a manual? Well, it’s crap. If you have The Holy Bible, you have one of the greatest parenting manuals in existence.
My son sent me a text last week and I answered, “Great” and quickly pushed the SEND button. Then I saw that the auto-correct changed my one-word response to “Breast.” Not exactly the word or meaning I wanted to send to my 24-year-old son.
Texting. You gotta love it.
True to my rebellious, non-conformist nature, I fought against owning a cell phone. I’m one of those “old fashioned” mothers who believes in the tried-and-true traditions of speaking to people face to face, or at least on the phone, if necessary. You know…the measure of a true two-way conversation. I also adhere to research outcomes that show a connection between attuning our brains to face-to-face social contact and better physical and emotional health.
When my oldest daughter was in high school, cell phones were transforming from a “want” to a “need” among teenagers. She was really distraught that we didn’t jump on this newest technology trend. She’d argue, “What will I do when I need to ask my friends to go to the movies/store/party with me?” The answer was so obvious to me I almost couldn’t believe I was conversing with a rational person: “Walk up to them and say, ‘Do you want to go to the movies/store/party with me?'”
No, it seems we have to text the question now. Any question. Any thought that comes into our mind. Any nonsensical, acronymic idea. The demise of the English language will slowly disintegrate as we all LOL.
Let me share something that illustrates our “evolution” of vocabulary. I was the judge for the 2012 Utah state high schools poetry contest. One entry written by Joey King received 2nd place. Vote on which love poem you’d like to receive and then ask yourself, why?
The Evolution of Love Poems
Two figures on a cave wall
Not quite touching
Between them, a fire
A hundred leagues I traveled wearing the skin of a lion
Having the strength of eight oxen and the body of a god.
Then why this sadness deep within?
When will I be conquered?
I, who have torn down the Celtic gods,
And strewn salt in Carthage’s wounded womb;
I, who have beaten Sparta and made its bronze
Ring like a bell? I, who have sailed an army
Down the Nile and torn apart the pyramids
brick by brick? When will I be conquered?
When you open your pale white hand.
I know myself am common born,
Low and base and mean,
But when I hear thee call me love
I think myself a king.
Roses are red violets are lilac,
You hold my heart in your hand like Shylock.
The New World
Before they tear the beating hearts from their victims’
Chests, the savages give them a poisoned wine
To deaden the pain. You give me nothing.
Entrenched in my love for you
I have forgotten to feel the edge of your letter
In my pocket. Your scent is long gone.
I feel blown to bits.
Ten Seconds Ago
Do U ❤ me?
Check yes or no.
Texting is a wonderful, terrible thing. It is wonderful. I do love many aspects of it and have embraced my cell phone (well, given it a lukewarm hug) in many ways. But…
I have university students who cannot write a paper without using texting punctuation, as if they wrote it on their phone and forwarded it to me! Parents have the ugly duty of teaching their children the realities of sexting and other promiscuous perils that come with phone use. My daughter said she has a friend who has banned herself from Twitter because she has become a “Tweetaholic.” Who hasn’t been in a room with a teenager holding a phone and while you are trying to have a conversation, you watch them answer unrelenting texts, play games or surf the web?
How far will it go? I feel parents are riding a willful horse; technology is taking us all for a ride and many don’t have the reigns firmly in hand. I know I don’t. I’m still struggling and have been saddle-sore now for many years.