Guest Author - Terrie Lynn Bittner
Is your family looking for a fun service project, perhaps one that can be completed over several Sabbaths and Family Home Evenings? After a lesson about honoring and loving your bishop, announce a project called Thirty Days of Smiles for the Bishop. (Adapt the number to the number of days in the month.)
Collect a shoe box and envelopes that fit into the box. If there is room left over, fill it with cookies or another goodie. Have your family decorate the box and the envelopes in any way they like, something bright and cheerful that will be fun for him to explore.
Next, make a list of things that can go into each envelope. Do you want one item in each envelope or several? If you want several, do you want them all to be similar, or completely different? Make assignments for filling the envelopes.
Following are ideas for filling the envelopes:
1. Jokes and riddles. These can be found in books, your children’s memories, or even made up by your family. Try making up bishop or LDS-themed jokes during Family Home Evening. Write them on decorated paper and illustrate them.
2. Inspirational stories from your family’s personal experiences. Type these for him to read.
3. Original stories and poems written by members of your family.
4. Drawings by the children (or adults if they’re artistic.)
5. Illustrated papers that say, “I love my bishop because….” These could include stories of ways he helps your family or sets an example.
6. A CD of your family singing together.
7. A family photo and pictures of other ward members or ward activities.
8. A declaration signed by the family promising to love and honor the bishop.
9. Home-made gift certificates good for things like cleaning the building or bringing lunch on a busy meeting day.
10. Small home-made treats, such as cookies. Put these in the first envelope so they don’t spoil.
Following is a brief suggestion for the lesson portion of the activity:
1. Opening Song: Our Bishop, from the children’s songbook.
2. Tell the children you are going to give them clues to help them guess who your lesson is about. Include the information that it is someone we love. The last clue can be that he is the father of our ward.
3. Ask them to tell you what a bishop does. After finding out what they know, give them additional information. Make sure they understand he does not get paid, and does all this while taking care of a family and having another job.
4. Ask them why we should love the bishop and then have them suggest ways they could show love for him.
5. The July 1989 Friend has a sharing time lesson on bishops. Use material from this lesson and also play the game that shows children what a bishop does.
6. Introduce the project.