Primary stories

Susan M - May 27, 2007

I wasn’t raised in the church, so I don’t have any childhood primary stories of my own to share. But over the years I’ve served in Primary, and here are a few that have stuck with me.

My first experience in Primary was taking my three year old son to sharing time for the first time. They sang the welcome song to him. I stood near the back of the room, dying of embarrassment, as he stood in the front of the room, picking his nose.

My favorite calling in Primary has to be nursery leader. The nursery kids were my favorite people in the ward. One amazing little boy was a very difficult child at times, but so sweet. A girl from another ward came to visit and she had on a pink Chinese-style dress—shiny satin with sparkly silver thread embroidered over it. She had red sparkling shoes, like Dorothy’s from the Wizard of Oz. He was all over her all day, drawn like a magnet to her sparkly outfit. He would not leave her alone. At one point I had to pull him out from under the table, where he was lying on his stomach, his head under her chair, eyes glued to her shoes.

The child I identified with the most in nursery was a little girl who was very shy and hated attention. She’d often come in, sit down and place her hands over her eyes. Sometimes she’d cover her ears. She’d freeze in the middle of the room, scared to go after the toy she wanted, because there were other kids near it. Every once in awhile she’d carefully back up, without looking behind her or acknowledging me at all, to sit on my lap. I always felt gifted by her trust.

Once I substituted in a class of four year old boys. There were three of them, and the lesson was on Heavenly Father. I started out by asking the boys about their dads. One little boy said, “My dad’s not at church today. He hasn’t been home all weekend. Because he’s been drinking and my mom’s not having it.”

Ever since then I’ve wondered what my kids have been revealing about our family to their teachers. I’m sure it isn’t good.

And then there’s everyone’s favorite kid in singing time. You know the one. The five or six year old boy who has just discovered the joy of singing. And does so as loudly as he can. I love that kid.

Got any Primary stories to share?

15 Comments »

  1. Primary pianst for 9 years (over 4 ward splits and 1 move). Primary pianst is the best calling in the ward. I was so sad when I was pulled out of the Celestial Kingdom and sent to Hell (EQP). I loved those kids. I loved their honesty and enthusiam.

    Besides the spiritual experiences the best part was racing the kids through “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”. One day I played it really fast (ahead of the Choirester). She was a good sport about it and later (through the years) when the kids got rampungous (just about every Sunday) she’d ask the kids if they wanted to race me in this song. About 1/2 the time they would win (when my hands were cramped from Saturday’s yard work) and about 1/2 the time I’d win.

    Comment by Daylan — May 27, 2007 @ 12:01 pm

  2. Recently in our ward one of the new sunbeams (and the youngest in that group) quickly stripped naked and took off running during opening excercises.

    Comment by E — May 27, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

  3. yesterday, my 3yo punched her dad in the cheek and did so with enough gusto to elicit a loud yelp. he asked her why she would do such a thing and she said, “because we believe that man will be punished, dad!”

    my mother-in-law once shared in her primary class the story of the ga who wore nurse’s shoes… everyone’s heard that, right? she likened the story unto herself, saying she only had one church dress. one of the boys interrupted and said, “yeah, and it’s real ugly, too.”

    my mother-in-law taught a lesson to her 8yo’s and discussed types of good music and bad music. the bishop, who has one of those sickeningly-sweet-but-honestly-innocent families, had a daughter in the class who started shouting, “my humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps, check ‘em out!”

    i once taught the 10 and 11yo boys. wow, were my hands full! it amazed me how smart they were, though, and they frequently led their own discussions. a lot of the boys went to parochial schools and thus had a lot of interesting insight. a fistfight once broke out over “the jews” and whether or not they were christians.

    Comment by makakona — May 27, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

  4. My dad was in the nursery, and he heard some juicy gossip that way too! One time, he heard one of the girls talking with one of the other nursery kids about her mom, and how her mom was pregnant but didn’t want everyone to know about it yet!

    I served in primary before and after my mission, and I loved it! The one baptism that I’ve performed myself was for one of the kids I taught in the 7-8 year old class. He was extremely rowdy, and I was never able to teach him without having to take him outside for a bit and have one of the primary president sit with him to calm him down, but in sharing time, my job was to sit with him and keep him occupied, and we became really close friends!

    Comment by onelowerlight — May 27, 2007 @ 2:13 pm

  5. I loved the nursery, as well, Susan. I also loved the Sunbeams. I would take 20 minutes or so at the beginning of each lesson and let them show me their ow-ies, and their new shoes. Somebody was always pulling up their dress to show us their new panties. Sunbeams take that sort of thing in stride.

    I hated, hated teaching the Merry Misses. They were so awful to each other. The president called me (maybe she’d heard I was considering homicide) and asked how I liked my calling. I said, “I hate it and I hate those girls. It’s only a matter of time before I slap one of those gum-chewing, hair-twirling little snots.”

    And they put me in Sunbeams the next week. How grateful I am that they didn’t lecture me about being a Christian or anything like that. I think that was really very nice of them.

    Comment by annegb — May 27, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

  6. Hey, Susan, would you e-mail me? gardnera@netutah.com

    Comment by annegb — May 27, 2007 @ 4:54 pm

  7. My friend was teaching a lesson about the armies of Helaman. A 6-year-old girl asked, “What about the armies of Shelaman?”

    Another friend was substituting for her daughter’s Sunbeam class. She said, “We’re going to learn about Jesus today.”

    One sunbeam said, “Jesus is cool!”
    Another said, “Jesus rocks!”
    Her daughter said, “Who’s Jesus?”

    Comment by EmilyCC — May 27, 2007 @ 7:46 pm

  8. I taught primary for a year-and-a-half. This was some years ago. There was one boy in the class who was very smart but he could not sit still or keep his mouth shut. I could tell he wanted to be good, he just didn’t have the ability to contain his energy. Sometimes he’d sit on his hands. I could see that he was trying, though he was largely unsuccessful at it.

    I used to be that kid. I can remember going to Primary and thinking “I’m going to be good. I’ll keep myself quiet today in class. I’ll sit on my hands and I’ll be still.” But I was incapable of doing that.

    I couldn’t help but feel that getting that calling had something to do with God’s sense of humor.

    For the most part, as a kid, I loved Primary. I think the last six months or maybe year, I was ready to “graduate” and was tired of the Primary routine. But in general, Primary was a delightful experience.

    My wife is a convert and she never went to Primary as a child. She had the calling as Primary pianist for just enough time to become acquainted with all the Primary songs. I thought that was great.

    Comment by danithew — May 28, 2007 @ 6:45 am

  9. I remember once doing Sharing Time and the Senior kids were just out of control. So, I opted to do what I did with the younger kids. I yelled out “hands on your head! Okay, now on your eyes. Hands down. Stand up. Wiggle…” etc. etc. until they were done. It worked so well that I did it every month I had Sharing Time.

    One little boy was extremely smart and very energetic. He always, always, always wanted to be picked and/or answer the question. He was only a Sunbeam, so it took a while to teach him how to be more reverent, but I told his parents to be grateful for a child already “anxiously engaged”.

    There was a boy that just blew my mind. His parents were into memorization, and he could memorize anything! He would get up, at age 3 (and 4 and 5 and 6) and have his entire talks memorized (even the one about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). I had him be our narrator for the Primary Program, and the 10 year old girl didn’t memorize anything –this kid had the whole program memorized! And he was smart, kind, reverent…basically we’re expecting to see him be the next Prophet someday… :)

    Comment by Cheryl — May 28, 2007 @ 7:06 pm

  10. my sis n law overheard her little boy singing i am a child of God.

    …he has sent me here,

    has given me an earthquake home…

    i wondered if it was a by-product of living in ca.

    Comment by garry — May 28, 2007 @ 8:14 pm

  11. cheryl, we had a friend whose son was exactly like that. we had him give talks as a sunbeam and he always had them memorized. he’s eight now and he is SUCH a cool kid. my current claim to fame is that my 3yo has the first four articles of faith down pat. we’re working on them slowly, but it seemed silly to have me whisper them to her to pass them off when she has every word of “mary poppins” memorized.

    Comment by makakona — May 29, 2007 @ 9:10 am

  12. I grew up in uber-patriotic southern Utah.

    Around the Fourth of July, our Primary presidency decided to have a flag ceremony, complete with some of the Primary Cub Scouts presenting the colors. I got picked.

    So I wore my Cub Scout uniform to church and was given the task of carrying the American flag.

    I stood in the back of the Primary room and looked up at my flag and noted that the tip had a sort of decorative spearhead on it. Seized by sudden inspiration, I lowered the flag point toward the podium, yelled “CHARGE” at the top of my lungs and ran down the center aisle.

    It seemed like less of a good idea that afternoon when my parents made me write “I will not goof off in Primary” 100 times.

    Comment by Seth R. — May 30, 2007 @ 9:29 am

  13. How old were you, Seth?

    Comment by Cheryl — May 30, 2007 @ 10:31 am

  14. 3rd grade.

    Comment by Seth R. — May 30, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

  15. I was primary president for a while in the Bronx, a calling which gave me severe anxiety and nightmares, but nonetheless had its lovely moments.

    One week we talked about the new temple being built in Manhattan, as the open house and dedications were nearing. Afterward I gave the children crayons and paper to draw their own pictures of the temple. One child drew a beautiful rendidition of a temple, with several wheels on the bottom of it.

    “It’s the temple coming to New York!” he said.

    This is the same child of a certain blogger who reportedly wanted to plant popcorn seeds in order to grow an apricot tree. Gotta love the way kids think.

    Comment by AmyB — June 1, 2007 @ 2:57 pm

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