It was a faith-building experience. Since I beginning to teach the 4/5 class, my skills were put to the test and found wanting. Mighty prayer began. How is it possible to teach sweet, highly-active children the doctrines of Christ, keeping them engaged and choosing to participate appropriately? Right away the Holy Ghost inspired me to use games and action to teach the lesson. Perfect! All week I studied the material and planned my strategy.
After contemplating our last class, I realized some of my littles were chatterboxes, just as I had been at that age. Before we began our gospel lesson, I gave them each time to tell about their week. We practiced active listening, undivided attention, and not interrupting. Immediately, after the prayer, I quickly related a few short stories from scripture about atonement and repentance. Moving to the floor, we played a fishing game. Each taking turns (which also became part of the lesson), I would give a short scenario and ask questions that led them to understand the steps of repentance: recognizing, revealing (confess and apologize), regret, restitution, relinquish (abandonment of sin), and righteousness (obey commandments in the future). In between I slipped in my favorite idea of smiling, which the loved. Finally, we practiced kneeling beside an imaginary bed (small chair), thinking about the day, recognizing mistakes, and praying to tell Heavenly Father we are sorry. We also pretended to tell Him about the good things of the day, too. They loved it and begged for more.
It was the perfect time to move on. During our play, we also talked about giving hugs instead of punching or pinching. We talked about not teasing, not giving too many hugs, etc, etc. All the while, I prayed a silent prayer that God would let me see them as He does and give me His perfect love for them. He did. I do. We then moved back to our table and practiced active listening, undivided attention, and not interrupting, as I asked them to tell what they wanted to have and do. After the prayer, I took four happy, loving 4/5-year-olds to closing exercises. It worked! God be praised!
Next week, I'm planning a bean bag toss to teach forgiveness. I'm so grateful to my Father for hearing and answering my prayers. He is so great, so kind, and so good. He waits in the wings for for us to turn to Him and is always willing to guide our paths.
"Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 18:10
"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children." Isaiah 54:13
"But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth." Doctrine and Covenants 93:40