As a new member of my ward’s Primary presidency, I was excited and a little nervous to start the new year with the adjusted Sunday meeting time. For as long as I could remember from past Primary callings, sharing time and singing time were a staple. Now we were going into the new year without sharing time. Primary would be only 50 minutes long with only singing time and a classroom lesson with a teacher.
Just so everyone is on the same page, Primary is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints children’s organization, which meets on Sundays—a junior Sunday School of sorts for ages 3 to 12. Primary meeting consists of a singing time, sharing time (this contains a lesson from the scriptures), and then classroom time arranged by age with an assigned teacher. Since we have fifty minutes now instead of an hour and forty minutes, time moves along very quickly.
After six weeks on the new schedule, there have been some amazing results:
1. Since Primary runs a lot faster, most of the children sit still and participate. Gone are the days of boredom and disruption. They listen better and are happy.
2. Class time with the teacher is more of a discussion and not a lecture. The children participate and learn together with each other and are more engaged.
3. With no Valiant 11 class, (previously the eleven and twelve-year olds’ last year of Primary) the children who would still have been in Primary are now moved up to participate in the Youth program which includes Girl’s Camp, Boy Scout Camp, temple attendance, and priesthood ordinations. Our eleven-year-old children are not bored out of their minds having to wait another year to start in the older group and they are happy. There is a visible difference in their attitudes on Sunday.
Our Church leaders are inspired. The older children in Primary desperately needed to have more spirituality in their life and that is what they now have.
As Primary leaders, we have more time to visit Primary children at home during the week. This helps those children who are not as active at church to hear a message of hope in their home.
We can feel joy when we love others. Children are easily taught to love others because of their guileless personalities. The word “JOY” helps us remember how we can feel joy in our every day life. Loving God and loving others.
Remember this order:
J — Loving your God (Jesus Christ)
O — Loving others
Y — Loving yourself
In keeping with the goals of each and every Primary organization, we are bringing children closer to Christ and helping them to feel joy and the Holy Spirit.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.