Guest Author - Terrie Lynn Bittner
As the teacher, you have the most direct contact with your students. You have the most unstructured time to tell them about things that matter to you, either in the context of the lessons or in the moments before or after you teach. You build the closest relationship with the children. However, there are many other people in your Primary who also deserve love from the children, and you are just the person to teach them to do that.
When you have a few minutes to fill, ask them who the Primary president is. Who is the first councilor? The second councilor? The secretary? The chorister? The pianist? Make it into a game to see if they can remember. Take a few minutes when you finish early to explain the duties of one of the people on the board. For older children, create a matching game and put it in your bag for a day when you have some extra time. List all the things the leaders do in one column, and the names of your leaders in the other. Let the children draw lines to the person who does them. (Some duties are done by more than one person.)
As you teach, express love and appreciation for these people and help the children appreciate the work they do. “I really loved Sister A’s sharing time today, didn’t you? She must have worked a long time on the game you played.” “Did you like the new song Sister B taught us? She really helped me to think about the Savior in a new way.” “I just love Sister C. She works so hard and loves you all so much!” “What would we do without Sister D to keep track of who is here and to remind us when to go back to closing exercises? Secretaries have so many things to do in Primary!”
Do your students know that everyone in Primary is a volunteer? This can be important information to older children. One child, upon learning this exclaimed, “You don’t get money to teach us? Then why do you do it?” This was a great opening to express my feelings for the children and for the opportunity to serve in the church.
Help your students express appreciation for these leaders. Often a lesson calls for children to make a card for someone. Select a leader and describe that person to the children. Invite them to make cards or think of a homemade gift you could make that person. For instance, you could cut out large musical notes and have each child write a sentence of thanks to the music leader. Draw a staff and let the children decide where the notes go. If you know music, you can then play or sing the tune they have just created, but you may not want to glue them down until they are satisfied with their tune. If there is someone your children especially love, let them write letters and draw pictures to be made into a book.
Encourage your class to pray for their Primary leaders. This helps them to develop love for them and to understand the divine nature of their work. When they see how much you love your leaders and begin to understand the nature of the callings, they will also learn to love them.
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