Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Teaching Children Obedience

This is my second lesson in my Mom's MTC, if you want all the nuts and bolts about how we use this curriculum in our home please read this post.


- To God
- To Parents
- Listening

Songs: “Quickly I’ll Obey” pg. 238 Children’s Song Book or  “I Feel My Savior’s Love” pg. 74 Children’s Song Book

Memory Verse:

John 14:15 “If ye love me keep my commandments”

Read A-Loud Books:

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

Week 1- Introduction to Obedience

Scripture Stories: 

“Not my will but thine be done.”

  1. Are there times when you want something different than what your parents want?
  2. Why is it hard to obey sometimes?
  3. Should you obey even when it is hard?
  4. What blessings came because Christ obeyed?
  5. What blessings have you gotten because you obeyed? 
Key Concept: Show the kids a picture of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Talk about how Heavenly Father asked him to do the atonement. Jesus said yes, but it there was a point when it got really hard and Jesus didn't want to do it anymore.  He kept going because he loved Heavenly Father and us.

Abraham obeyed

   1. What did God ask Abraham to do?
   2. Why did he go?
   3. Because Abraham obeyed, what did God promise to do for him?
   4. Do Mommy and Daddy ask you to do things that are hard for you to do?
   5. What do you think your parents will do for you when you obey?

Key concept: Abraham was asked to do something and he didn't know why. Yet he loved God and wanted to do what he asked. God knew that obeying would be hard for Abraham but he needed to know that he would obey. Sometimes we are asked to do hard things that we don't understand, but when we obey God we always know that he will bless us and make us happy. You might also want to stress the point that killing children is not something that God usually commands.


Obedience is Love (From Kids of Integrity)

  • Write or paint the following header at the top of a large piece of poster paper: “To Love Means to Obey.”
  • Write John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep my commandments" on your poster.
  • Paint your child's feet with washable paint, and have them make footprints across the paper.
  • Explain to your child that the footprints represent someone doing exactly as they are asked. Remind them that the Bible says that if they love God, they will obey His commandments. Explain that when they obey God or their parents, they are showing that they love them.
  • Remind your child of one or two recent incidents where they obeyed you. Add one or two heart stickers (or draw heart shapes on the paper) to “reward” these examples of obedience. Thank your children for obeying and showing you that they love you and God. Let your children know that when they obey, they can add more hearts to the poster.
  • Hang the poster in a prominent location as a reminder to be obedient.
  • Each time you add a heart to your poster, review the memory verse and remind your children that they show they love God when they obey Him and their parents.
Treasure Hunt

Set up a traditional treasure hunt where you  hide clues and each clue leads the children to the next clue until the final clue leads to the treasure.  In this case the treasure could be a treat or a picture of God, heaven, or your family. At first have the children try to find the treasure without giving them any clues (make sure it is hidden well!) When they are unable to find it give them the first clue and help them complete the treasure hunt. At the end of the treasure talk to the children about how we need directions from our Heavenly Father or else we would wander around aimlessly. When we obey our Heavenly Father has promised us the greatest treasure of all-- to live with him forever.

Story Books to Read:

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems        

No David by David Shannon

The Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci

The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack

Week 2- Listening 

Scripture Stories: 

Christ is the good shepherd

Read John 10:1-17

  1. How do you think Jesus feels about the sheep?
  2. What does He do for the sheep?
  3. What do the sheep do when he calls their name?
  4. What if the sheep didn’t obey?
  5. Jesus takes care of the sheep, do you think He will take care of you?
Key Concept: The sheep hear and follow the shepherds voice. We are like the sheep and Jesus is the shepherd if we come when he calls he will keep us safe and lead us where we need to go. Just like a real shepherd Jesus protects the sheep with his life because he loves us. If we get lost He will always try to find us, we just need to listen to his voice.


Obedience is the Best Route

Before the kids come into the room set up an obstacle course (with pillows, toys, blocks, furniture, etc) but leave one very clear and easy path to navigate though the mess. Blindfold the kids and tell them that there is a surprise waiting for them at the other end of the room, where you are sitting. Tell them that if they can make it to you they can have it. Let them start to make their way towards you but don't say or anything or try to help them  in any way (unless of course they are going to hurt themselves). After they have wandered and run into things for a little bit guide them back to the start and tell them that this time you are going to give them instructions, but they have to listen carefully. Again sit at the other side of the room but this time give them specific instructions about how to walk safely through the obstacle course (just a warning this takes practice, if you can practice giving instructions to your spouse or another adult before you try kids... it is harder than it seems).

Once they reach the prize talk to the kids about what was different about the first time (when they didn't get instructions) and the second time (when they had instructions). Remind them that Christ is like a good shepherd who is always giving us directions and if we follow them we are happier and safer.

Listen to my Voice

Give one child a staff (or a broom stick) and have them stand in front and pretend to be  the "Good Shepherd." Have another child stand next to them (without a staff) and have them pretend to be the "False Shepherd". Have the Good Shepherd and the False Shepherd take turns calling out instructions like, "touch your nose', or "sit on the ground."Children who follow the Good Shepherd can stay in the game while those who follow the False Shepherd are out of the game. The last person still in the game wins. You can make it harder by having the children close their eyes. Also, if you don't have very many people you can also just have one person be the Good Shepherd and the False Shepherd by having them face forward when they are the Good Shepherd and turn their back when they are the False Shepherd.

The Silence Game 

Tell the children that you are going to "make" silence, and that making silence is hard to do. It requires that you keep your mouth, your feet, and your body quiet. If one person is noisy then you can't make silence. Ask them if they want to try. If they say yes then tell them as soon as you hold up a sign that says "silence" on it they should start to make silence. Tell them that they need to hold still until they hear their name called and then they can move.

Hold up the silence sign and sit with the kids in silence for as long as you think they can do it. You want it to be long enough that it takes some effort of their part to be quiet. The more you do this activity the longer the children will be able to sit in silence. We did this activity every day for a month and by the end my kids were up to about 5 minutes of silence.

At the end of the silence the teacher stands up very slowly and walks tip toe to the end of the room, while the kids stay where they are. Once at the other end of the room whisper each child's name, one at a time, and have them walk as silently as they can to you. When all the children have come talk to them (still in a whisper) about how Jesus speaks to us with a still small voice and that when we are still and silent we are able to hear his voice.

We play this game every day we "do" school at the end of our day. It is a good way to wind things down and the kids haven't gotten tired of it yet!

Story Books to Read:

Lon Po Po by Ed Young

Strega Nona by Tomie de Paolla

Howard B Wigglebottom Learns to Listen by Howard Binkow

Just Go to Bed by Mercer Mayer

Week 3- Obedience to God

Scripture Stories:

Lot’s Wife

   What did the angels tell Lot and his family to do?
   What did Lot's wife do?
   Why do you think she did it?
   What happened to her because she disobeyed?
   If your Mom and Dad tell you not to peek at something, is it hard or easy to obey?

Key concept : Lot's wife disobeyed  and looked behind her as they were fleeing the city. God dealt with her disobedience by turning her into a pillar of salt. We probably won't be turned into a pillar of salt but there are always consequences when we disobey. Even though it can be hard it is always best to obey.

I Will Go I will Do

Read 1 Nephi 3

Why didn't Laman and Lemuel want to obey?
Do you ever murmur when your parents ask you to do something?
Why didn't Nephi murmur?
What did he tell his father and the Lord that he would do?
How can you be like Nephi? 

Key concept Nephi obeyed because he loved the lord and had faith that he would provide a way for them to be successful. Laman and Lemuel murmured because they thought the task was too hard. Just like Nephi we need to have faith to go and do what the lord tells us and trust that everything will work out okay. 


Four Parts of Obedience

I stole these four parts of Obedience from the Duggar family who said that they try to teach their children that obedience to God and parents is:

Instant (do it right away even if you don't understand)
Cheerful (do it without whining or complaining)
Thorough (do a good job)
and Unconditional (do it out of love and without expecting a reward)

For this activity I talked to the kids about each of the four parts of obedience and then drew a picture (since they can't read) of what it meant. Then I told them a story (that I made up, but you could use one from your family history or your own life) about a little girl who didn't do any of those four things when her mother asked her to obey and had them tell me what she should have done instead. Then we role played different examples of obeying well and not obeying well.

You can use whatever pictures work for your kids, somehow these ones worked for us! 
I posted the picture I made on the wall next to our memory scripture and every day after we said the scripture I would have the kids tell me the four parts to obedience. Some days we would do another role play, just to reinforce the idea. I also tried to compliment my children whenever I saw them obeying well, by saying "Wow, Rose thank you for obeying me cheerfully" or something of that sort.

Like a Hen Gatheth her Chicks

Show a video or a picture of a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wing. Talk about how when there is danger the mother hen will cluck and the baby chicks know to run under their mother's wings to get safe. Talk about what might happen if the baby chicks didn't listen to their mother. This video  is long but has good images, you could watch as much or as little as your children are interested in.

Read the scripture in Matt. 23:37 that says, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" 

Talk about how Christ wants to gather us and keep us safe just like the mother hen, but we have to listen and obey his voice. Brainstorm specific ways that the kids can listen and obey Christ.

If you want to extend the lesson you can also play "umbrella tag" where someone stands in one place and holds an umbrella that serves as a "safe" spot whee they can't be tagged. Runners can only stay under the umbrella for 10 seconds and then they have to run again.

Flopped” Cookies (From Kids of Integrity)

Make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with your children. Use the recipe for “Family Favourite Oatmeal Cookies” provided below, or another recipe of your own choosing.

Next, make a second, smaller batch of cookies that don't turn out well. Use a recipe of your own, being sure to double the quantity of oil, or follow the recipe for “Sure-to-Flop Cookies” provided below. The increased proportion of oil will make the cookies meld together on the cookie sheet. (Don't worry, the “flopped” cookies won't be wasted; they can be crumbled up and used as an ice cream topping.)

When you are making the second batch, tell your children that you are “making it up as you go.”

After you have compared the success of the two batches of cookies and while you are sampling the cookies, talk to your children about the importance of following instructions. Use this to lead into a discussion on the importance of following God's instructions. Close your time by praying that God would help you follow His instructions found in the Bible.
questions for discussion

    * What did I do right the first time?
    * What went wrong with the second batch?
    * Where do we find God's instructions?
    * What does the Bible say about children obeying their parents?
    * What is the promise for children who do obey their parents?

    Family Favourite Oatmeal Cookies
    ¾ cup butter or margarine
    ¾ cup apple sauce
    2 cups brown sugar
    4 tsp. vanilla
    2 eggs
    ⅔ cup milk
    2 cups whole wheat flour
    6 cups quick cooking oatmeal
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. salt
    2 cups chocolate chips

    Mix the first six ingredients in a large bowl with a hand mixer.

    Add flour and oatmeal, then sprinkle the salt, baking powder and baking soda on top.

    Mix with the hand mixer again. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop in teaspoonfuls on a cookie sheet.

    Bake at 375 ˚F for 15-20 minutes.

Story Books to Read:

Dear Mrs. La Rue: Letters From Obedience School by Mark Teague

Tootle by Gertrude Crampton
Star Boy by Paul Goble

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

Week 4- Obedience to Parents

Scripture Stories:

The Ten Commandments

Read Exodus 20

Why did God give the children of Israel commandments?
Do any of these commandments sound familiar?
What would happen if all people lived by these commandments?
What commandments have your parents given you? 

Key concept: Give the children a little bit of the background story of the children of Israel (exodus from Egypt, gold calf, etc). Help them understand what each of the commandments means and how it applies to their lives. Teach them that God gave the children of Israel commandments to help them make good choices and be ready to receive the promised land. If we follow the ten commandments today they will help prepare us to receive more blessing from the Lord.

Noah Obeys a Strange Request (From Kids of Integrity)

   1. Do you think it was easy for Noah to obey?
   2. What do you think the people who were watching Noah build the ark said?
   3. What would have happened if Noah hadn't obeyed God?
   4. How did God reward Noah's obedience?
   5. What are some things that your parents ask you to do that seem strange? (You may wish to use some of the examples below. Use the accompanying questions to prompt further discussion.)

          Parent: “Don't drink that blue stuff in the bottle in the garage.”
          Child: “But it looks like Kool-Aid.”
          Parent: “That could be antifreeze in the bottle. What do you think would happen if you drank antifreeze chemicals?”

          Parent: “Always get off your bike to cross the road.”
          Child: “But it's such a bother to walk my bike across the road. The cars always stop for me anyway.”
          Parent: “What could happen if a car didn't have time to stop?”

          Parent: “Don't touch the candle, please.”
          Child: “The flickering flame looks so interesting. I want to touch it.”
          Parent: “What would happen if you did touch it?”

          Parent: “Make sure you don't eat that green bar.”
          Child: “But it looks just like the candy that Joey had. Why can't I try it?”
          Parent: “The green bar could be mouse poison. What do you think would happen if you ate mouse poison?”

Key concepts

God asked Noah to do a strange job. He asked him to build a boat when there wasn't even a lake or an ocean around. God told Noah that He was going to flood the whole earth with water. The boat that God asked him to build was to be huge! It was to be large enough to hold Noah and his family and also some of each kind of animal that lived on the earth. It may have seemed like a strange request from God, but Noah obeyed.

Sometimes we (your parents) ask you to do things you don't understand, such as “Don't touch that,” or “Don't play over there,” and you wonder why you have to obey. Even though the requests seem strange, it is still very important for you to obey your parents' instructions. Disobeying can be the difference between life and death.


Mom says / Dad says (From Kids of Integrity)

Modify the popular game of “Simon Says” by replacing the phrase “Simon says” with “Mom says” or “Dad says.”

The rules of the game are as follows: The game leader (mom or dad) calls out a simple instruction such as “Touch your toes.” If the game leader precedes their instruction with the words “Mom says” or “Dad says,” the children playing the game need to complete the action called out by the game leader. If a child has not been listening closely and follows a directive that was not preceded by “Mom says” or “Dad says,” they are “out.”

Usually, anyone “caught out” in this way has to sit out the remaining rounds of the game until only one child – the winner – is left. However, you may decide to skip this step to ensure that all children remain in the game for each round.

Traffic signs

Show the kids pictures of traffic signs or go on a walk and find all the ones you can. Make sure that you show them a "Stop" sign, speed limit signs, and traffic lights. Talk to them about why we have traffic signs and rules for the road. Talk about what might happen if people didn't obey the rules. Show them a picture of a traffic accident and talk about what happened. 

Why did these people get in an accident? 
Do you think they are happy? 
Do you think they wish they had obeyed the signs?
What do you think they will do different next time?  
Why do you think God gives us rules? 

After your conversation have the children make their own traffic signs, real ones (like a "stop" sign, and spiritual ones like, "Do not Kill', or "Honor they Father and thy Mother.") If your kids enjoy playing with cars you can also set up a road course for them and act out what happens when cars obey the traffic signs and what the consequences are when they do not.

Rules Keep us Safe

Place a marble on a large plate and the slowly rotate the plate in a circular motion. Increase the speed but still try to  keep the marble on the plate.  This will become increasingly hard (and might take some practice) but eventually the marble will fly off the plate. Next put the marble in a bowl with high sides and rotate it in a circular motion. Unlike the plate the bowl should allow you to get the marble moving fairly fast without it flying out. After you have demonstrated let the children have a turn with both the plate and the bowl.

Afterwards ask the children why they think the marble didn't fly out of the bowl, but it did the plate. Point out that the plate did not have boundaries and that without boundaries the marble spun out of control. Talk about how God and our parent give us rules and boundaries because they love us. At first hey might seem to be barriers but that just like the walls on the bowl they actually keep us safe and allow us more freedom.

Story Books to Read:

Peter Rabbit by Beatrice Potter

Poky Little Puppy

Franklin is Lost by Paulette Bourgeois

Miss Nelson is Missing by James Marshall

Final Program

Put on a program for parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends, or stuffed animals and review what they have learned. Include the song and scripture they have learned as well as some of the stories they have learned over the month. Instead of doing a lesson the day (or two) before the program we spend it getting ready for the program. It doesn't have to be anything big, just a chance for them to teach what they have learned... because when you teach something you learn it the best. 

If you have any other good ideas for scripture stories, activities or books that go with obedience please leave a comment. I plan on using this same lesson plan again with my children next year and it would be great to have some new ideas!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Five Things for Friday, 52nd Edition


Ames, Iowa.

That is where we will probably be moving in a few months.

Is anyone from Iowa?

I don't know a soul in Iowa and the thought of moving there excites me and terrifies me all at once.

Jon and I feel good about the idea of moving, but it is hard to leave our families behind. We have never lived far from family and so I know that will be hard for us.

If anyone has any good tips for moving a long distance or finding a house and getting settled in a place where you know absolutely no would be most appreciated!

Oh, and being THREE HOURS away from a temple! I've always had a temple within 10 minutes of where I live. That is going to be hard.


When I showed you our homemade Christmas gifts I forgot to show you the gift Jon made for me.

He welded me a sculpture (out of an old cookie sheet) to portray the poem I wrote, "My Life is a Tree, not a Path."

The tree is welded on showing that it is firm and eternally constant, while the mountains and the people on the path are held on with magnets, indicating that worldly ideals of success are changeable and oh so very fleeting.

Isn't it beautiful?

He totally surprised me with it and it made me cry when I figured out what it was. It is hanging in our bedroom now and I love the beautiful reminder is to me that my possibilities to grow really are endless!


Can I just say that I am ready for summer. No, and it isn't because I am sick of the snow, even though we did get TWO feet in one storm a few weeks ago. 

It is because I really hate folding socks. 

Oooh... I hate it. 

In the summer everyone (except for Jon who has to wear shoes to work) wears sandals and so I hardly have to fold any socks. But in the winter there are five people who wear seven or eight pairs of socks each week and that turns into a big pile and I just hate folding them.  I don't know why. Maybe it is because they never all match and so after the hard work of sorting through a bazillion socks I still have a pile of socks with no mate. It just feels very unsatisfying. 

So here is me wishing that sandal weather in Iowa starts really soon... at least sooner than May. A girl can hope right? 


Oh, I love this music video. 


It was my week to post over at The Gift of Giving Life. If you ever wanted to know more about doulas and what we do, and how we are a lot like dolphins you will appreciate my post. And if you want to hear a beautiful story about an amazing woman and her little boy, Caleb, you will want to read this. Their story is inspiring!

Have a wonderful weekend!

If you want to link to your own "Five Things for Friday" post you can use the tool below to add your link. 1) Please link to the URL of your blog post and not your main blog and 2) Please include a link back here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Understanding what it Means to "Preside"

Several months ago in Sunday School we had a lesson on marriage taught by an instructor who had been a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War. He gave an example that helped me better understand what it means that men "preside" over the church and in the family.

The teacher explained that whenever he would take a helicopter out on a mission the most important person for him to have was the co-pilot. The co-pilot's job was navigation, while the pilot's job was the manual flying and the overall safety of the helicopter. He stressed that just because the co-pilot had a "co" in front of his title it didn't in any way diminish his importance or contribution to the helicopter. The pilot and the co-pilot both had different jobs but both were vital to the flying of the helicopter. He also stressed the point that the co-pilot had to have exact same abilities and skills as the pilot did. If the pilot was unable to fly the helicopter for any reason, the co-pilot would need to (and would be qualified to) step in and fly the helicopter home to safety. In another mission the "co-pilot" might actually be designated as "the pilot" but that it was important for the saftey of the helicopter that there be someone designated for each mission as "the pilot" ( who held the keys and was accountable for the helicopter) while someone else was designated as the "co-pilot" for the mission, possessing equally important (but different) responsibilities.

This division of labor but equality of responsibility is obvious in the set up of a helicopter's cockpit. The pilot and the co-pilot have different controls on their panel unique to their individual responsibilities (the pilot's side has the keys, the co-pilot's side has the navigation equipment) but both of them have steering wheels (or stick things, I don't really know what those are called!)

Even though it is the pilot who has the keys, turns on the helicopter, and is responsible for the manual controls he is not flying it alone. He is working in tandem with his co-pilot.
They are flying it together.

The instructor also mentioned that having a good co-pilot was one of the most important things you wanted as a pilot. No pilot wanted his co-pilot to be less skilled, less educated, or less capable than him. The pilot put a lot of trust in his co-pilot and he wanted to know that he was equally matched so that he didn't have to worry about the other half of the responsibilities or the safety of the helicopter.

Then the instructor said one last thing that I have been mulling over in my head ever since. He explained that no matter how the mission went, what happened or didn't happen, who was killed or lost, or how beat up the helicopter got the pilot was the one who was ultimately held responsible for the overall safety and mission of the helicopter. He said that at the end of the mission when the General asked for a report it was the pilot's responsibility to give it and to be held accountable for his overall stewardship over the helicopter. This didn't mean that the others in the helicopter weren't also held responsible, they were and could be rewarded or punished based on how they fulfilled their responsibilities. Yet, in being designated as "the pilot" for that mission and being given the keys to the helicopter the pilot was ultimately the one individual held accountable for the safety of the helicopter, its occupants, and the fulfillment of the mission.

I've been thinking a lot about this instructor's analogy. In my younger years I was often confused or frustrated by the scriptures that talk about how women are to submit to their husbands or that men are to preside in the family and in the church. Sometimes those words just seemed to rub me the wrong way. Yet I've received many tender mercies of understanding throughout my life about men and women's roles and I feel like this instructors analogy was another one because it really helped me to understand the word "preside".

In The Family: A Proclamation to the World it says,
"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness..."

The world commonly defines the word "preside" as " to exercise guidance, to lead, to control." I know several women (and have been one of them myself) that don't feel like their husband "presides" in their home. They maintain that all the decisions are made jointly, that they work through problems together, and both make sacrifices sometimes to let the other person "have their way." They don't feel like their husband is the president and they are the vice-president, they lead their family together. Elder L. Tom Perry has said something similar,
" There is not a president and vice president in a family. We have co-presidents working together eternally for the good of their family . . . They are on equal footing. They plan and organize the affairs of the family jointly and unanimously as they move forward."

God doesn't want marriage, or His church, to be a dictatorship by men but expects that decisions will be made with both the input and equal consideration of both men and women's voices. Men and women are spiritual equals in the home and in the church. Yet it is confusing to understand how a marriage can be equal when one of the members is suppose to "preside."
First, it is important to remember that "presiding" in God's kingdom has a much different connotation than it does in the world. In D&C 121:41-43 we learn that he who leads in God's kingdom is not the "greatest" as he is in the world but the "least." It says,
"No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.."

Other definitions of "preside" that I have heard are "to cherish", "to stand in front of", "to watch over." These meanings are easily observed in LDS church services when the man who presides over the meeting is usually not the one to conduct or to lead the meeting, his job is mainly to sit in front of the congregation, to watch over it, and make sure that their spiritual and physical needs are being met.
The story of Adam and Eve also gives us greater understanding into what it means for men to preside.
After Adam and Eve had partaken of the of the fruit of the tree of knowledge God realizes that something has gone wrong and he first calls on Adam, to whom he had given the stewardship of the earth, to explain what has happened.
"And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." And He said,"Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
In response Adam does not try, as some believe, to dodge responsibility for what happened and place the blame on Eve. Adam merely gives the Lord a true account of what happened.
And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

Then the Lord turns to Eve and asks her for an account of what happened. He holds her responsible for her choices.
And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
Again, Eve is not trying to pass the blame she is telling the Lord what happened-- that she took of the fruit knowingly but that she had been beguiled by the serpent. The Lord then sees that it was Satan, disguised as a serpent ( which is a symbol of Christ), who is to blame.
And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

After punishing the serpent God then gives Adam and Eve several great promises, which as I have written before were really not "curses". Both Adam and Eve were accountable for the choices they made and both received the consequences for them. Yet, it was Adam who was called before the Lord first to give an account of what had happened. Just like a helicopter pilot being called before the General, Adam had been given a very specific stewardship over the earth and was accountable before God for the overall welfare of it.

Adam, like all men after him, is responsible for the work of spiritual re-birth, which includes the saving ordinances of the gospel, priesthood leadership, missionary work, and ensuring the safety of the family. These are all stewardships that have been entrusted to men and for which they will one day be held accountable before God for. They can't pass that stewardship off to anyone, not even their wife.

But that doesn't mean that men "lead" or are "in charge" in the family or in the church. Men and women are working together to fly the same helicopter, to reach the same goal ("to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man") and the only way we will land it safely is if we understand our individual stewardships and work together as equal partners.

Is there a way that we can embrace that beautiful truth rather than feel threatened by it, and help the men who have been chosen to preside--- for this mission at least-- understand and live up to their responsibilities?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Teaching Children Honesty

Like I promised, here is the first lesson from my "Mom's Missionary Training Center". Honesty isn't one of the nine Christ-like attributes that is listed in "Preach My Gospel ( it technically falls under the "virtue" section),  but I felt like my children needed some specific attention in this area. So depending on what your children need you could use some of these activities during the month you focus on "virtue" or you could use it separately like I have done. I have included a few scriptures and stories from The Book of Mormon but most of them are from the KJV Bible. Feel free to use as little or as much of this as you like and to adapt it to the needs of your family.

These lessons are to be designed to be done every day (or every few days) for a whole month. Don't do all the stories and all the activities for the week in one day! The idea is that with constant exposure and repetition of the virtue (from several different angles) that kids will start to internalize the message. With my kids I have taught them the song and the scripture the first week and then work on those every day. Then I usually teach a scripture story, do an activity, or read a story book to illustrate the principle.  I don't do more than one story or more than one example in a day, and if a lesson went really well I will sometimes repeat it again the next day. Usually the total lesson, with song and scripture, takes about 15-25 minutes.

At the end of the month I have the kids do a "program" for their Dad, usually for Family Home Evening. In the program the kids sing the song they have learned, repeat the scripture, and each child shares something they have learned that month. Sometimes that means having Dad read them their favorite story book from that month, or dressing up and acting out a scripture story. It is also a time for them to share an art projects they have worked on that month.

As far as the books go, I get all the story books from the library. I just request them all at the start of the month and since our library lets us check things out for three weeks we have them most of the month. I try to leave the stories I read on a special shelf and read them to the kids as many times as they request throughout the month.

For scripture stories I usually find a picture online, save it on my ipad, and then hold it up while we talk about the story. The Gospel Art Book is also a good resource (though it doesn't have some of the more obscure stories) and LDS Church distribution center also sells packets of primary pictures that are helpful. Also, I don't play the piano and so I use this FREE app on my ipad (also works for an iphone) to play the songs, it works great. Though, if you have a piano player that would be better!

If you have other questions about how we use this curriculum in my home let me know and I will do my best to answer them!


-          to God
-          to others
-          to yourself

Song: I Believe in Being Honest, pg. 149 in Children’s Hymn Book

Memory Scripture:

 Ether3:12, “… Lord I know that thou art a God of Truth, and canst not lie.”

or  1 Corinthians 13:6 " Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;"

Chapter book to read-a-loud  this month (or for older kids to read themselves): 

Sun and Spoon by Kevin Henkes

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Nothing But the Truth by Avi

Third Grade Baby by Jenny Meyerhoff

Week 1—Introduction to Honesty

Scripture stories:

Ananias and Sapphira  (Acts 5:1-11)

Key concept:

Ananias and Sapphira were greedy and kept back part of the money they said they would give the church. Not only were they greedy they were afraid to tell the truth and so both of them lied. Through the Holy Ghost Peter knew that they had lied and God dealt harshly with them. God won't always kill us every time we tell a lie, but He always sees us and we will have to be accountable before him someday.

Ideas to Discuss:

   1. What did Ananias and Sapphira do?
   2. What happened to them because they were dishonest? 
   3. Why do you think they lied?
   4. Does God always know when we are lying? 
   5. Do you think God only cares about big lies or do you think He cares about little lies, too?
   6. Have you ever had anyone lie to you? How did that make you feel? 
   7. What can you do when you don't feel like telling the truth? 


The  Demonstration Game

This game helps children understand the difference between what is true (honest) or untrue (lying). Start by asking them if they know the difference between something that's true and something that's not true? Then give them examples of things and have them tell you if it is 'True' or 'Not true.'" Start with easy observable facts and then move toward more abstract things, for example:

    * The sky is green. (Kids say, "Not true.")
    * (Point at head) This is my head. (Kids say, "True.")
    * Ants are bigger than elephants.
    * We see with our eyes.
    * We hear with our nose.
    * Milk comes from chickens.
    * Take a cookie out of a jar and eat it. Then say, "I didn't eat the cookie."
    * Drop a toy on the couch. Then say, "Yes, I left my toy on the couch."

After you demonstrate let each child have a turn coming up with their own statements and you respond with a "True" or "Not True" response. 

If your children grasp the idea fairly quickly then you could move on to the next part in the same game. If they are young and are still trying to grasp the idea you might just want to play this first part of the game for a day or two until the idea really settles in. 

Move on by saying, "You really can tell the difference between true and not true, can't you? Do you know what it's called when someone says something that's not true? It's called a lie."

Now: "I'll say some more things and you say, 'Truth' if it's true and 'Lie' if it's not true."

    * Pick up a dollar on the floor. Then say, "I didn't find a dollar."
    * Give a bit of food to someone else. Then say, "No, I didn't eat all my food. I gave some of it to."

For older kids you might also try telling half-truths and see if they can pick up on them.

Let the children make up their own examples after you do the initial demonstration. It is best if you can use real examples that relate to your children lives, and the more crazy they are the more fun this game becomes!

This is also a game that can be played at any time during the day when you find a good teaching moment. 

 Sweet detectives (from Kids of Integrity)

Set out a variety of treats on the table. Some good ideas include melted marshmallow, icing sugar, pudding, Oreo® cookie crumbs and melted chocolate with pretzels to dip in.

Have all but one person exit the room. The remaining person may sample one of the treats. (With younger children it is wise to have an adult stay to supervise quantities.) When he/she has sampled one treat, he/she calls the others back in.

Invite the others to guess which treat has been sampled. Note any deceptions the “sampler” has used, such as spilling some extra crumbs on the table to make others believe that they had actually sampled that treat. Take turns until everyone has had a chance to be the sampler at least once.

Reviewing the following questions will help you share the concept with your children that no matter what we do, God is always watching. Take time to explain that even if we conceal our sin from others, God knows what we have done. Let your children know that concealing truth is still considered lying. Choose one or more of the verses listed below to pray in closing.

questions for discussion
  • How could you tell what treat had been sampled?
  • Even if we guessed wrong, who knows exactly what the sampler ate?
  • Who, other than the supervisor, knows how much the sampler ate?
  • Have you ever tried to cover up the truth only to find out that some little clue led your parents or teacher to the truth?
  • Is it wrong to try and cover up the truth, even if you don't say anything?
  • Can you lie without saying anything at all?
  • Even if your parents or teachers never know what you have done wrong, who knows?

Stories to read:

The Adventures of Pinocchio by C. Collodi

The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen

The Empty Pot by Demi

Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss

Week 2— God is Honest

Scripture Stories

Christ’s trial  ( John 18:19-24, 29-40)

Key Concept:

Christ was perfectly honesty, even when it was hard. If he had told a lie the soldiers might have let him go but he always told the truth. Christ was like his Heavenly Father and Heavenly Father is always honest. Satan is the "Father of lies", he always tells us lies or half lies and so he can't be trusted. God always tells the truth and so we can always trust him to keep us safe.

* Have you ever told the truth even when it was hard?
* How did it make you feel to tell the truth?
* Have you been stuck? How did it you get out?
* How can we choose to be like Jesus?


A Lie Trap (adapted from Kids of Integrity)

Show the kids a video of a spider catching a fly in its web, or if you are able to go outside and find a real spider web with a fly in it is even better.

This YouTube video is a fairly good video to use

While (or after) watching the video talk to the kids about what is happening: 

    *  Is the bug happy?
    * Do you think the bug wishes it had never flown into the web?
    * Will it ever get out?
    * Who could get it out?
    * If you lie, who can help you get out of it?
    * Have you ever lied?
    * Did you end up wishing that you never had?
    * If you do get trapped in a lie, who should you go to for help?

Explain to your kids that Satan is like that spider. He wants us to be people who do not tell the truth and become entangled in lies. Our lies keep us from being free and often get bigger and bigger.

Later that day, or the next day, make a spider web with yarn in your room. Place a prize or a treat at the other end of the web and then have them navigate through it. Let them do it as many times as they like. Afterwards talk to them about how when we tell lies they entangle us and make it harder for us to reach our goal of becoming like Jesus. 

My kids wanted the spider web up all day, they loved playing in it! 
If your kids are older you could have them re-wind up the yarn and talk to them about how it is much harder to undo a lie, than it is to just tell the truth in the first place. 

Stories to Read:

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire by Diane deGroat

Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie by Laura Rankin

The Berenstain Bears and the Truth by Stan Berenstain

A Day's Work by Eve Bunting

Week 3— Honesty to Others

Scripture Stories

The story of Achan (Joshua 7)

Key concept:

God dealt with Achan severely because God hates dishonesty! But as much as God hates lying and stealing, He will forgive you when you are truly sorry about what you have done. Mom and Dad will also forgive you when you repent of wrongdoing.
Questions for discussion

   1. Have you ever taken something that didn't belong to you?
   2. How did you feel?
   3. Did you give it back?
   4. What did Achan do?
   5. What happened to Achan?
   6. Even if you think no one is watching when you take something that does not belong to you, who always sees you?

 Zoram makes an oath (1 Nephi 4: 20- 37)

Key concept:

Zoram gave Nephi his word that he would not betray him and that he would stay with him, because Zoram kept his word he was blessed. We also need to keep our word. If we tell someone we are going to do something we should do it.
  1.  Have you ever promised someone that you would do something?
  2. Did you do it?
  3. How did Nephi know that he could trust Zoram?
  4.  Can people trust you if you tell them you will do something?
  5. How does it make you feel when someone tells you they will do something and then they don't do it it? 

To Tell the Truth, or not to Tell the Truth

Start this role play by pretending to make a bad choice( ie. you pretend to be at the grocery store and you sneak a candy bar). Go back and be excited about what you have and see if you can get the kids to go back and do it with you (hopefully they will say "no" if you choose something obviously enough wrong). 

Pretend to have dilemma about whether or not you should tell the truth. Bring up all the reason why you shouldn't (you'd have to give the candy back, you would be embarrassed to take it back, you are afraid you will get in trouble). Have the kids counsel you on why or why not you should tell the truth. Depending on what they tell you re-enact the consequences . For example if they tell you to not the tell the truth show how next time your mom doesn't trust you at the store, and how your heart feels sad. If they tell you to tell the truth pretend to tell it and show how after that your mom trusts you more and you feel happy. Stress the point that even though it may be scary to tell the truth, that in the end it is always better.

After you have done the role-play once let the children have a turn leading it. 

Travelling tales and tails (from Kids of Integrity)

While you are driving in the car (or throughout the day) tell your kids something false, such as “Hey, look at that horse running down the road.” Do it again a few blocks later, and yet again another few blocks down the road.

When the kids begin to comment on your dishonesty, use the following questions as a guideline to initiate discussion:
  • Did you think it was funny when I mentioned the horse?
  • Would it be funny the second time?
  • What if I told you untrue thing like that all the time?
  • Did you stop believing me about the horse?
  • If you tell stories that are not true, even just to be funny, will other people trust what you say?
  • Can you think of a dangerous situation that might arise if people realized that they can't trust what you say?

Stories to Read:

The Boy who Cried Wolf in Aseop Fables

Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big by Berke Breathed

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine by Evaline Ness

Week 4— God Forgives Us When We Lie

Scripture Stories

Peter Denies Christ and is Forgiven ( John 13:34-38; Matt. 26: 69-7 and John 21: 15-17)

Key Concept:

Christ warned Peter that he would betray him and deny him. Peter didn’t think he would but he feared for his safety and he denied him three times. Afterwards he felt really bad about it. Sometimes we are tempted to lie to make things easier for ourselves, but we should always tell the truth. Christ visits Peter after is resurrection and because Peter is sorry for what he has done Christ forgives him. We need to forgive others just like Christ forgives us.

  1. Have you ever told a lie and then felt bad about it afterwards?
  2. Why did Peter lie?
  3. Is it ever okay to lie, even to protect yourself?
  4. Instead of lying what should Peter have done?
  5. How did Christ forgive Peter?


Pure truth (From Kids of Integrity)

For this experiment, you will need a small bowl of water, a pepper shaker, cotton swabs (the double-ended stick swabs), liquid dish detergent and some additional water.

  • Prior to beginning the experiment, coat one end of the cotton swab with dish detergent. Leave the other end free of soap. Mark the soapy end in a way that only you will know which end it is.
  • Shake a generous amount of pepper onto the surface of the water in the bowl. Explain that the pepper represents people.
  • Tell your children that the cotton swab represents God. Put the non-soapy end of the swab in the water and move it around to let some pepper gather on it. Explain that when we are truth-tellers, God will allow us to come into His holy presence.
  • Next, tell your children that the people in the bowl have been lying. Ask them to list some ways the people could be telling lies. Then place the soapy end of the cotton swab in the bowl and watch the pepper flee! Explain that when we have been lying, God doesn't want us in His presence, nor do we feel comfortable coming to talk with Him until we have confessed our sin.
  • Add some extra water to the bowl. As you do so, explain that when we ask God to forgive our sins, He washes our sins away. (Adding the extra water causes the pepper to scatter across the water's surface again.)
  • Finally, using the non-soapy end of the cotton swab, swish the cotton swab through the pepper, showing that the pepper no longer “runs away” from the cotton swab. Emphasize that after we have confessed our sin, God welcomes us back into His presence.
Bocca Della Verita

Show children a picture of the Bocca Della Verita (the mouth of truth).  Show them where Rome is on a map and explain to them people travel from all over the world to stick their hand inside of it to see if they are telling the truth. Stress the fact that it is just pretend. 

Talk about how even though the statue is just pretend it reminds of how important it is to tell the truth. Telling the truth keeps us safe and happy, while telling the truth traps us and makes us unhappy. 

Have the children make their own Bocca Della Verita out of plaster, clay, or paper mache, or whatever you can think of and decorate it.

We made our out of clay, but Asher's cracked
Older children might like this clip from "Roman Holiday" with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck

Stories to Read:

The Honest to Goodness Truth by Patricia McKissack

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto

A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno

Final Program

Put on a program for parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends, or stuffed animals and review what they have learned. Include the song and scripture they have learned as well as some of the stories they have learned over the month. Instead of doing a lesson the day (or two) before the program we spend it getting ready for the program. It doesn't have to be anything big, just a chance for them to teach what they have learned... because when you teach something you learn it the best.

If you have any other good ideas for scripture stories, activities or books that go with honesty please leave a comment. I plan on using this same lesson plan again with my children next year and it would be great to have some new ideas!