In my church, we are volunteers. We accept a position in the “ward”, really a congregation, that will help uplift others. I have had the opportunity to be in the position of Primary since I was 18 years old. I am now 36. We have moved a lot. Every time we move, I am asked to be in the Primary. I have been a teacher of various ages, in the Primary presidency, nursery (for the little ones), activity days (group of girls aged 8-12) and music leader. I have loved some of these positions and have been frustrated by some. When I am not in primary volunteering, I am usually substituting for someone who is absent. Here are a few things I have learned while doing this.
- The things they learn in primary are important. They are the foundation to children understanding that they are special and that they are children of God. They learn how to pray and how to have faith. They learn how to give talks and how to overcome fears of public speaking. Many times, kids I have taught are goofing around and/or being grumpy or starting off into space, but they are collecting little bits of information that add up to a strong testimony.
- Kids want to feel safe and happy at church. They do need to behave and be respectful, but they also can have lots of fun. When they are happy at church, they remember the feeling and want to come back. They feel accepted and loved and a part of something big and important.
- Even the smallest children can learn. They are so impressionable and they are able to see pictures of Jesus and know who He is. They are able to feel the Spirit that will be the foundation of their belief in Jesus Christ. Primary teachers are a part of this. They are able to bring this Spirit into the lives of the children.
- Primary can be a frustrating place to be, especially if you have children of the same age at home. Usually we wrestle the kids through the first hour of church and then go on to wrestle other people’s kids. BUT I still have grown to love these little maniacs! They are so smart and willing to learn and to choose the right. They want to follow Jesus and have a happy life. It is so inspiring to see this in small children. You know they come straight from heaven.
- Finally, I loved learning what my kids were learning and knowing the songs they knew. It was great to be connected in that way. I got to see them grow up in primary and how they interacted with friends and teachers. Plus, I could bug them if they were misbehaving.
I know some people are in the midst or primary duties they don’t like or would rather skip and sometimes I am in the same boat! But I am glad I have had all these years to be in a mostly happy place that teaches the basics of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes, we forget the basics and it is always good to have a reminder.