Friday, September 19, 2008

Behold Your Little Ones

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently helped out with our Stake Primary Leadership Training meeting and my major responsibilities were putting together a folder with all our handouts, making dessert (did the Daring Bakers Eclairs again), and putting together a presentation for new curriculum (new nursery manual and 2009 CSMP) and addressing any Sharing Time/Singing Time needs. As my general duties in our Stake Primary presidency, I have been assigned to be a "consultant" of sorts for all music and Nursery needs which works out perfectly because those are my favorite parts of Primary!

While we were setting up for the meeting in the Primary room, Aedan would frequently go up to the podium and fold his arms and bow his head to say a prayer in the microphone and he did this several times with an incredible reverent manner. Just yesterday, Aedan got behind me and put both hands on my head and said, "Close eyes mommy" and then started to say a prayer, trying to give me a blessing by the laying on of hands. Now while he does not yet have the priesthood authority to perform blessings, I am amazed he picked that up and recognized all the little bits of it. He recently saw Neal help give a friend a blessing before she had her baby and something about seeing his daddy serve and perform Christ-like acts really stuck with him.

I've had a lot of time to focus on the music aspect of Primary, keeping myself busy with making CDs of the CSMP music for each unit, occaisionally playing the piano while visiting some units, meeting with the music leaders. I would really like to put more emphasis on Nursery now and with the new Nursery manual, Behold Your Little Ones, I feel like Nursery is finally getting some additional attention church-wide. First off, Nursery is one of my favorite places to be on Sunday. I love it and it really makes me sad when people don't realize the importance of the Nursery class and view it as a "glorified babysitting" calling. I think we often don't realize how much kids this age are actually absorbing.

I love the title of this new manual, "Behold Your Little Ones" which comes from the Savior speaking to the Nephites in 3 Nephi 17:23 and the spiritual thought we chose to focus on complimented this theme nicely. Again, a worthwhile read, M. Russell Ballard's Great Shall Be the Peace of Thy Children talks about the significance of the word 'behold'. He says, "Notice that He didn’t say “glance at them” or “casually observe them” or “occasionally take a look in their general direction.” He said to behold them. To me that means that we should embrace them with our eyes and with our hearts; we should see and appreciate them for who they really are: spirit children of our Heavenly Father, with divine attributes"

Nursery is the first class of Primary and it provides a chance for children ages 18 months to 3 years old to learn basic truths about our church and the gospel and to really learn what being a child of God is all about. I'm sure many parents of toddlers can agree with me when they say that it is amazing the things they learn in Nursery. I know I need to do a better job at letting the teachers know how much we appreciate them. Aedan comes home and says things and sings songs that I know he learned in his Nursery class. So thank you to all of his teachers, both current and past!

This new manual is wonderful and I can see why they recommend that each family with Nursery age children should have a copy in their home - it works great for FHE and it is so incredibly easy to use. I am hoping they redo all of the manuals to be like this manual. Each lesson is in two pages or less and right by the lesson is your visual aids and an activity to copy and print. All the music for the lesson is written within the lesson, any tips to help the lesson go smoothly is written right in the margins... I love this manual! Buy one, I promise you won't regret it!

And for anyone actively using this manual for their Nursery calling, be sure to read the introduction very thoroughly as there are a few guidelines that have changed for Nursery. The obvious ones are that we are to use church-approved materials only in Nursery (ie. anything published directly from the LDS church, including music) and no set times for each activity but still keep a general schedule (snack, lesson, playtime, etc). These are the church's guidelines, not mine although I fully support them. Watch the introductory video online, it is pretty good too.


  1. This post was full of information! I'm hoping that nursery is coming into its own. The unsung heroes of the church are in nursery! Thanks for boiling this all down for us, Jackie!

  2. I was trying to find some friends post, Matt and Erianne in Ohio, and came across yours. I just have to say I love your blog. You are so brilliant!

  3. Jackie, you really did a great job with the folders. They looked so nice to begin with, and I have referenced it quite a few times already at church. I have also read Elder Ballard's article at home and like you said, it is excellent. The right perspective can make so much difference in a calling. Thanks for all you did.


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