Friday, March 2, 2012

Object Lessons

Give a volunteer a piece of hard, dry clay and ask them to shape it into a useful item such as a cup. After they attempt it, ask why they couldn’t do it. They will probably respond that the clay is too hard to mold and shape. Give them a piece of soft clay and ask them to complete the task. When they are done, explain that like soft clay, a person who is humble is more open to the Lord’s efforts to shape his life into something wonderful and useful. But a prideful person is hard and stubborn and will not allow the Lord to mold his life.
Missionary Work
The Savior once told his disciples, “Feed my sheep”, which means to teach the people and feed them spiritual food. While Ammon was on his mission to the Lamanites, not only did he feed and take care of the king’s flocks he also fed the people of the land spiritually.

Have a vase or container with paper sheep inside it. Cover with a Kleenex and secure with rubberband. Explain that it represents the barrier that people put up against things they don’t trust or understand. Put some vegetables onto the Kleenex. The vegetables represent the gospel, which is food for our spirits.

Tell the children they are going to do an activity to share ways to help feed Heavenly Father’s children. Have them think of ways they can show neighbors and friends they care about them, and ways they can be good examples of the gospel standards. For each idea put a marble or other weighted item onto the Kleenex. (Eventually the barrier will break and the food will pour out.) (If the items you chose aren’t very heavy, have the children put several on the Kleenex each time they give an answer. Experiment with this activity before teaching the lesson.)

Explain that each of our actions makes an impression, and when people realize that they can trust us, and that we care about them, then the barriers will come down and we will be able to begin to feed them the spiritual food of the gospel.
 Satan's Temptations
Show some fishing lures (or the pictures of fishing lures), and ask the children if they know what the items are used for. Explain that fishing lures are designed to attract and catch fish. Some lures are sparkly and shiny and some look like food (like bugs or small fish), but they are all traps. The lures are always attached to a hook. (Show the children the hooks.) When a fish takes the lure or bait they become hooked and can’t get away. Their lives are destroyed and they are devoured.
Satan also uses lures. His lures are attractive to people and are meant to entice us to sin. Many times we don’t see the danger or harm in his lures, and then we take the bait. When we take the bait then Satan sets the hook and we’re caught.
Sin always causes misery and unhappiness, and Satan wants us to believe that once we are caught by his lures and hooks there is no way to escape. But the Lord has provided a way we can escape. It is called repentance, and it may be painful and difficult. Imagine how a fish feels having a hook removed from its mouth. It can be very painful. But imagine how the fish feels if it is set free back into the water. Removing the hook of sin from our lives may be difficult, but the wonderful feeling of being free from its destructive hold is worth the effort. But it is better if we never allow ourselves to be caught in the first place.
 Baptismal Covenants & Eternal Blessings
Give each child a small piece of wrapped candy. Tell them you promise to give them a bigger, better item at the end of class if they promise not to eat or open the candy. Emphasize the fact that you are both making promises. Point out that eating candy is not a sin, but there are many things in life that give pleasure that are against the commandments of God. If we obey God commandments and avoid partaking in these spiritually harmful things, we can eventually receive the greatest gift of all which is eternal life.
After a little lesson have the children trade their small piece of candy for a full size candy bar. Ask them what would have happened if they hadn’t kept their promise and had instead opened and eaten the small piece of candy. They wouldn’t have received the bigger, better prize. Point out that it is the same with covenants. We need to keep our promises to the Lord so that we can receive the wonderful rewards and blessings he has promised. (Note: If a child has opened or eaten their candy tell them they can still have another chance. Give them another piece of candy, and tell them to bring it back the following week. If they bring it back uneaten and unopened they can still earn their reward. The Lord also gives us the opportunities in life to fix our mistakes and repent.)
As we keep our baptismal covenants we learn to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ, and we become worthy to receive the greatest gift and reward we could ever receive, which is eternal life.
 Divine Truth & False Beliefs
Get a pack of gum and take the gum out, but then fold the wrapper back up and slide back into the box. Offer the empty pack of gum to a child. After they take a piece, ask them how they felt when they discovered the wrappers were empty. Explain that during their life people will try to convince them to accept things that are empty and have no value. Discuss about divine truth to help them avoid the disappointment and sorrow that comes from accepting false beliefs. (Give that child a piece of real gum to take home.)
Ask volunteer to break a toothpick. Point out how easy it was. Tell the children that the broken toothpick represents someone who does not have a strong testimony. That person’s resolves to follow Christ is easily broken when temptation comes along. Someone who has built up their testimony of Jesus Christ through study, prayer, and obedience to the commandments can gain spiritual strength.
Add toothpicks to a pile as you mention (or as the children mention) things that will strengthen a testimony such as: studying the scriptures every day, praying every morning and night, listening to General Conference, listening carefully to teachers and speakers at church, listening and participating in Family Home Evening and family scripture study, reading stories from the Friend magazine, studying for and giving talks in Primary, and obeying the words of Christ.
After you have at least 10-12 toothpicks in the pile, have a volunteer try to break the pile. They must keep them bundled close together. If they do this, it should not be possible to break them. Explain that our testimony can start out weak and small, but it can be reinforced and built up until it is strong and firm.

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