I don't know what happened to this week. It's Wednesday, and I've not posted since Sunday. Contemplating some inspiration I received for my Primary class, I've had my head in the clouds, quite literally.
Many years ago during a special Sacrament meeting in Hawaii, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to every congregation by special satellite broadcast. He was concerned about many things. Mostly, I remember his advice to parents, which was imprinted upon my brain forever. 'Parents do not beat your children. Talk to them; they will listen.'
After praying about my little charges for weeks, I thought I saw in my mind's eye a video of our class sitting around our table talking. The subjects of our conversation came to mind as well.
Although our most troublesome child wasn't present last Sunday when I gave the directions a try, the rest of the children reveled in this grown up treatment. As we discussed, questioned, considered, and related, we all came to one conclusion. Even children as young as 5 and 6 could learn to settle down and be respectful. After I squeezed the actual lesson into about 3 minutes, we drew pictures as usual. I asked them to draw a picture of themselves doing something to calm down angry feelings. Crayoned pictures of children napping, praying, and singing began to appear on white paper. They truly understood that they had free agency to control their own emotions. They know that Satan has no power over them if they chose to follow Jesus.
Next time our wild child graces us with her sweet presence, we'll repeat this lesson. This little girl is so much like me as a child. Or at least she is like me times ten. Nevertheless, she seems to have been taught similarly to me that she has an uncontrollable temper. When she flies off the handle, I see that she has no clue how to get ahold of her emotions and conduct herself in a correct manner. Besides being embarrassing and exhausting, such behavior does little to endear a child to other children or the adults around her. I love her, because she is a child of God, as well as a sweet little girl seriously in need of affection and acceptance. I identify with her plight.
I wish parents around the world could understand that quietly teaching a child to control themselves is ever so much better than using force, violence, or other manifestations of anger/power. The gentle spirits of children respond to gentleness. Likewise, the gentle, free-willed spirits of children will find a way to protect themselves, tantrums being one result.
Little children are a gift from God. He expects us to do our best by them and not offend their gentle spirits.