We always start our lesson time with each child telling something joyful about their week. When they were 4.5, this was a difficult thing for them. However, over the last 16 months since I've been their teacher, they have learned quite well how to talk about interesting things in their lives. They've also learned how to be respectful of other people and wait for their turn to talk. This was one of my biggest goals for these children. They've also grown in their ability to grasp the lesson material and make connections in their own lives.
It is so important that children learn to be grateful, that this week's lesson is an extension or review of last week's lesson. I'm supposed to start it out by showing the picture of the Ten Lepers from last week. The children are to raise their hands if they remember what the picture is. One of them will be chosen to tell the story. Of course others will join in as they are still learning to only speak during their turn. At the end of this participation, I remind the children that Jesus Christ healed all ten lepers, but only one remembered to thank him. Jesus must have been happy that one person remembered, but sad that the others did not.
Next there is a story about a little boy, who loved surfing and building sand castles at the beach with his father. After his father died, the boy was sad and missed this favorite activity. His Primary (Sunday School) teacher noticed the boy's sadness and invited him to surf with his little boys. The three boys had a great time. When the boy got home, he wanted to thank his teacher for the day at the beach but didn't know what to do. The boy decided to something nice for him to say thank you. The boy thought and thought then asked his mother if he could pick strawberries from the strawberry patch that he and his father had planted together the year before. He also made a thank you card with a drawing of a big wave. Later that afternoon, the boy took the strawberries and card to his teacher and said, “Thank you for taking me surfing.” The teacher smiled and hugged the boy. They were both happy.
"And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more," Doctrine and Covenants 78:19. This scriptures tell us that if we are thankful, we will be happy.
Life can be overwhelming, when I allow myself to see only my trials. Choosing to see and count my blessings instead of my trials, I feel much happier. If I then remember to thank God and those He sends to bless me for help and kindness, I feel rich. A simple “thank you” can help others feel happy for doing good and it can make me feel joy. Cards and return kindnesses are great, too.
Finally, I'll encourage the children to see how many times they can use the special words “thank you” during the week with their family and friends.
Since my children love to color and talk, I like to end our lessons with coloring time. This week, we'll make thank you cards that they can give to someone of their choice. Sometimes there gabbering gets a bit loud, but they are so happy to have the opportunity to visit. Sometimes I play Primary songs to bring the mood to a more Sabbath-like feeling with an ap on my phone. Cell phones are amazing tools/toys.