Last September at our stake training, I started sweating when I heard the theme for Primary this year. I wanted this theme to be one I can embrace, but I’m having a hard time loving it.
I’ll state my bias right off: the eternal family doctrine is an aspect of the Church that I struggle with. Add to that my worry that this theme will make families who are already in tough positions, feel inferior, and well, it feels like a long year.
Still, I’ve been trying to find ways to be true to my feelings and teach the material I’ve been called to teach. In my first post on my Primary dilemma, I mentioned wanting to let our kids know that God loves all families; I asked that we share ideas as they came to us.
I’ve come up with a couple ideas:
1. Our bulletin board: we took pictures of all the kids with their families (see the picture). This shows the kids just how different everyone’s family looks, and we have ready-made pictures of families to use during the year’s sharing times.
As I labeled the families, I ran into a problem–many of our families don’t have the same last names. And, this is where I believe divine inspiration took over (which I have to mention because it doesn’t happen to me that often). Instead of writing, “The Curtis Family,” we wrote, “Asher and Sister Curtis’ Family.” This took care of kids being raised by grandparents, teachers who are dealing with infertility, and single parent households.
We have a girl who isn’t a member but comes to Church every week with a family in the ward. They are “Angela’s Church Family.”
2. PowerPoint Presentation: for the last week of January’s sharing time, I put all these family pictures together with the music, “Families Can Be Together Forever,” interspersed with families from the scriptures and Church history–I was amazed at the diversity there. And, the kids loved seeing their families pop up. Really, it was the quietest they’ve been during sharing time for a while.
If you’re in Primary, how are you handling this year’s theme and sharing times? If you come from a non-traditional family, what would you like your Primary to do to make this year easier?
But, as I start to feel like I’ve figured out how to handle this theme, I realize I’ve got another problem coming up. In a few weeks, I’ll be doing the following sharing times (feel free to ignore my snarking comments in italics, but know that these are the kids in my ward who I’m thinking about when I start preparing these lessons):
1. Fathers preside over, provide for, and protect the family with love (1 Nephi 8:12; “Proclamation,” paragraph 7; GP, chapter 37).
–unless your father is in jail for a violent act…
2. Mothers nurture the family (Alma 56:47– 48; 57:21; “Proclamation,” paragraph 7, GP, chapter 37).
-unless your mom is too strung out on drugs to take care of you, so she drops you off at your grandma’s…
I would argue that the head of the household (whether it’s a parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, etc.) should embody all those characteristics. Why the need for one sex to have sole claim on important characteristics of parenting?
So, my latest dilemma with this year’s theme: How do I teach something I don’t agree with? Is it possible to be true to my ideals and obedient in my calling?