Sunday, January 8, 2012

FHE: I am a child of God

Purpose: To teach that each of us is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents. We lived with them before we were born. Our Heavenly Father knows us personally and loves us.

Reminder: Do not use all of the materials presented in this lesson. Pick which stories and activities work best for your family and your ages.

Possible scriptures Psalm 82:6 (In the nursery manual, it replaces "Most High" with "God" to aide childhood understanding)Malachi 2:10; Acts 10:34-35Acts 17:28–29Hebrews 12:9; Doctrine & Covenants 76:23–24Doctrine and Covenants 138:55–56; Moses 1:1–7. 

Possible Songs: O My Father,” Hymns 292;“I Am a Child of God,” Hymns 301, Children’s Songbook 2; "I Lived in Heaven,” Children’s Songbook 4;  “I Know My Father Lives,” Hymns 302Children’s Songbook 5; "My Heavenly Father Loves Me," Children's Songbook 228

Possible Materials: Family portrait(s); 
Wordart with "Our Heavenly Father"; 
Picture of Heavenly Father
"Parents" puzzle; 

Moses Figure;

 poster about each child; 

Coloring page "God Knows..."; (If not linked, I made my own. I haven't shared them yet, because I don't know if anyone wants them. Solution: let me know you'd be interested.)

Introduction: Hold up the family portrait or separate pictures of each family member (for a twist, use baby pictures), and ask, “Who are these people? In what ways are the members of our family different from each other? (Facial characteristics, age, talents, etc.) In what ways are members of our family alike? (Facial features, interests, desires to learn, etc.)” Talk about how we inherit some of these characteristics from our parents. Hold up the paper on which you have written “Our Heavenly Father,” or use the clipart found here (please take into consideration that not all people are comfortable with using a cartoon picture of Heavenly Father). Ask, “Who is Heavenly Father? How are we related to our Heavenly Father?” Use the responses to give you direction in explaining the lesson on the appropriate level. Make sure they understand that Heavenly Father is the father of our spirits, and we are his spirit children.
Explain that your children will always be members of your family and that you will always be their father and mother. Nothing can change that. 

Cultural connection: In Lilo and Stitch, Lilo teaches us about ‘Ohana. “ ‘’Ohana’ means ‘family.’ ‘Family’ means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten. But if you want to leave, you can. I'll remember you though.” We always use this concept in our family because we did have someone that left. We point out that it’s a choice, but we don’t have to forget them when they make that choice.} The same is true of God’s family. He will always be our Father. We will always be his children. But to return to him we must live his commandments. Remind your children that their worth, like their family membership, is unquestionable. Ask them what if someone were to tell you that you are not a child of God? After listening to their answers, reinforce the fact that regardless of what others may say, they are still children of Heavenly Father.
From the Friend: “We grow to be like our parents” The Friend, April 1984 This is a GREAT hands-on activity from the friend. The puzzle pieces only fit together with the right parent, showing that babies always grow up to be like their parents. Try to include dialogue like, “What is a baby frog called? What will that tadpole grow up to be?” 
(On the blank puzzle, you could take a small picture of each child or a family picture on one side, and tape a picture of Heavenly Father on the other side). Explain that just as animals grow up to be like their parents, we will grow up to be like our parents. Ask older children what qualities they have developed that are like those of their parents (sense of humor, patience, talents, etc.). Heavenly Father is the father of our spirits, so we can grow to be like him. Heavenly Father is loving, good, and kind, and he wants to help us. When we are loving, good, and kind, we are being like Heavenly Father. Explain that we should try to become more like Heavenly Father every day. Discuss what qualities we would need to develop for us to be more like our Father in Heaven. Explain that when we do kind and loving things, we are being like Heavenly Father.

From the Scriptures:  Read Moses 1:1-22, or read the summary from the friend for younger children. Point out how many times God says, “my son.” Was this an important concept? Explain that Heavenly Father has important things for us to do while we live on the earth, such as being a mother or a father, a missionary, a teacher, a helper at church, or a helper in the community.What important work might Heavenly Father want you to do?
Explain to your children that because they are God’s children, they are worth very much. What is it about us which Heavenly Father would love so much? (First of all, he loves us because we are his spirit children; we are his family. Secondly, he loves us because of what we are capable of doing and becoming.) How does your knowledge that you are a child of God influence your thoughts, words, and actions?

Further discussion: As you discuss the idea of worth and potential, have your family members analyze Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 and Moses 1:39 together so that they will get a feeling of how important we are to our Heavenly Father as his children. Emphasize to them that it does not matter what we look like or where we live, that their love is unconditional and very real. We should always remember that not only are each of them specifically children of God, but also the annoying kid from school, their teachers, and their family members and that this knowledge should affect the way we treat one another. Briefly bear your testimony or share a personal experience about how remembering to treat others as the children of God has changed or affected you (or the other person).

Closing Application 1: Explain that Heavenly Father is the king of heaven and earth. Because we are his children, we are princes and princesses. We have the book written by Rachel Ann Nunes titled Daughter of a King. I highly recommend it. It's about a girl who knows she is a princess and will one day return to her father in his castle. If you don’t have access to the book, I suggest you take time to make up a story of your own about princesses who are returning to their Father the King. Make a simple crown for each child and write the words I am a child of God on each crown. Let the children color the crowns.
Media: Daughter of a king by Jenny Phillips
Closing Application 2: To emphasize that Heavenly Father knows and cares about each child, have the children color pictures based on sentences like “Heavenly Father knows I am sad when _____,” “Heavenly Father knows I am happy when _____,” “Heavenly Father knows my favorite thing to do is _____,” and so on.

Assignment: Explain that Heavenly Father knows about Each child’s admirable characteristics. For example, you could say, “Heavenly Father knows that Emily is a loving daughter.” Make a personal poster for each family member that lists some of their admirable characteristics and the sentence “I am a child of God, and I can become more _______.”  Explain that each morning before prayer the family member looks at the card and identifies a godly quality he could develop to fill in the missing word, such as loving, forgiving, educated, or accomplished. He should use whatever quality he may feel he needs to develop at the time. Encourage family members to seek the Lord’s help in being true to their capacity to become like him. In the evening, they should ponder the chances they had during the day to work on their potential. Challenge each person to examine the experiences he has had each day and share with his Heavenly Father what he, as one of God’s children, has learned from them.The Resource manual strongly encourages this part of the lesson for teenagers and adults.  
Resources:  The Family Home Evening Resource book lesson 5; Sunbeams Manual Lesson 1; Nursery Manual lesson 1; Gospel Principles Lesson 2 (Part one)

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