By Joy D. Jones Primary general president
What a blessing it is to begin a wonderful new year in Primary. Our 2017 outline and theme for sharing time and the children’s sacrament meeting presentation are based on Joshua 24:15: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, showed us how to make wise choices. “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15).
One of the purposes of our life here on earth is to learn to use our agency wisely. By following the Savior, we can learn to make choices that bring us happiness and blessings. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Children are capable of learning how to make good choices. They want to make good choices.
For the Strength of Youth teaches: “While you are free to choose your course of action, you are not free to choose the consequences. Whether for good or bad, consequences follow as a natural result of the choices you make.”
It is critical for children to understand the blessings that come from choosing wisely and the outcomes that follow bad decisions.
Parents can watch for opportunities each day to teach their children the importance of good choices. Children learn best in an environment of love and understanding. As they are guided, as they “practice,” and as they are allowed to learn from their mistakes, they can develop righteous patterns that will equip them to make wise decisions in the future.
Living prophets teach us to choose the right. Our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, has counseled: “Each of us has the responsibility to choose. You may ask, ‘Are decisions really that important?’ I say to you, decisions determine destiny. You can’t make eternal decisions without eternal consequences.”
We want to help children cherish their eternal identity, learn to live gospel principles and discern the promptings of the Spirit. What a blessing it is for them to have the influence and teachings of parents, teachers, prophets, the scriptures and the Holy Ghost to help them.
We know that parents and Primary leaders will be guided by the Spirit as they pray and strengthen their own testimonies of the gospel principles they teach. Looking through the “2017 Outline for Sharing Time,” which is available at Church Distribution Centers or to download at lds.org. Primary leaders will see that the monthly themes, songs, scriptures and principles build upon one another. The outline is supplemented with color photographs, resources, quotes from Church leaders and preparation tips.
I know that our Heavenly Father will bless us all — children, parents, teachers and leaders — in our sincere efforts to better understand and appreciate the God-given gift and privilege of agency. As we exercise this gift in righteous ways, our faith will increase and we will more anxiously follow our Savior’s example of doing what our Father in Heaven asks us to do.
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