Sunday, April 10, 2016

Thoughts from General Conference - Saturday Sessions

Pres. Henry B. Eyring mentioned D&C 25:12. This has always been my favorite music-related scripture.

Sis. Mary R. Durham asked, "How do we prepare the children?" She discussed the Holy Ghost and Articles of Faith 4 and 5. Also, she asked, "How do we teach our children to kick off worldly influences and trust the spirit?" She talked about Eli the priest and young Samuel's experiences with hearing the Lord's voice for the first time while in the Temple. Samuel was prepared at a young age by an immersive environment, the same thing we should do for our Primary children at church and home: help them prepare for and understand the Lord's voice for the first - and each succeeding - time that they'll hear Him via an immersive environment. The Spirit will adapt to the level of the child.

Elder Donald L. Hallstrom chose to speak on how we are created in God's image as His children. "When difficult things occur in our lives, what is our immediate response? Is it confusion or doubt or spiritual withdrawal? Is it a blow to our faith? Do we blame God or others for our circumstances? Or is our first response to remember who we are—that we are children of a loving God?" Of course, one of the most widely circulated memes on Facebook is when he quoted Elder Holland just a little later in his talk: "You can have what you want or you can have something better." Perhaps, we music leaders could combine this theme in a Singing Time and coordinated Sharing Time one-two punch. :) "The more distractions that surround us, the easier it is to treat casually, then ignore, and then forget our connection with god." What a powerful image for good we shine upon the Primary children when we put away the devices during Sharing Time to show respect for the sister giving the lesson.

Elder Steven E. Snow mentioned that "some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns." This fits in well with Primary because there is usually (at least) one hymn we sing with the congregation during the Primary Program in the fall. The original hymnbook of the Pioneer Saints had about 90 hymns with only lyrics, no music. What did/do the Primary kids think about that? He reminded us that the Savior wants us to "humble [ourselves] as a little child." We are responsible for helping raise our children to stay humble into adulthood: "We do not do this by breaking their spirit through unkindness or by being too harsh in our discipline. While nurturing their self-confidence and self-esteem, we need to teach them the qualities of selflessness, kindness, obedience, lack of pride, civility, and unpretentiousness. We need them to learn to take joy in the successes of siblings and friends. Then, he quoted Pres. Howard W. Hunter, saying, "Our genuine concern should be for the success of others."

Elder Dale G. Renlund had a very emotional story about the South African woman during Sacrament meeting, and I think it's important for us to constantly emphasize to the Primary what she thought as how we should view the Atonement of Christ: "Oh, he, the Savior, did this just for me."

Elder Neil L. Andersen had a lot to say about children and their families. "God loves children. He loves all children. The Savior said, 'Suffer [the] little children … to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven'...These children and youth are blessed with believing hearts and spiritual gifts." Also, a very important thing that I'm trying to work on is this: "Knowing someone’s name can make a difference." It's hard for me to remember names. I still get mixed up with my own neighbors' kids, but maybe I'll make up a fun way to try to remember them/test myself...?

Elder M. Russell had the funniest and truest quote of the day's conferences: "The irony of being parents is that we tend to get really good at it after our children are grown." How does this apply to Primary? Same concept applies, but we get to keep "kids" for the length of our "parenthood." We need to be better "parents" as we grow closer to the Spirit and relay the promptings and teachings of the Spirit to the young souls of which we are in charge.

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