Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Lessons Do Work!

I teach primary at church. in fact - I'm lucky enough to teach Amberly and nine other 6 year olds every Sunday. I love it. They are so sweet and love to learn. They also love snacks, and talking and leaning back in their chairs and coloring but that's not the point.

Last week I taught this lesson - Worshiping at Church
It went well as do most lessons on Sundays.
Nothing out of the ordinary just a nice little lesson.

Yesterday Amberly was playing outside barefoot as usual and sliced her big toe wide open.
She came in dripping blood and crying.
Poor thing.
We wrapped it up in a nice big bandage because we all know:
"The bigger the bandage the better it feels!"
Am I right? I'm right!

Last night as she was going to sleep she was very upset and worried about how her toe looked. She is my little sweetie that is aware of how she and everyone else looks on a daily basis and will comment on the fact. Remember how she wakes up and immediately goes into the bathroom to brush her hair even though she is still half asleep? So you can imagine how a big white bandage on her big toe would cause concern for her and her fashion sense.

Then it hit me! The lesson I taught last week at church. I retold her this story:
*from the primary manual or you can get a copy here*
Tell the children about a boy who had a problem that almost made him stop coming to church. His name was Vaughn Featherstone, and he later became a General Authority. Introduce the story by explaining that when Vaughn Featherstone was young, his family was quite poor and couldn’t afford much clothing.

“I had a pair of shoes that I’d wear to church. They weren’t the best shoes. They had holes in the bottom sole, so I’d cut out pieces of cardboard [from a cereal box] and slide them in as an insole. When I went to church I would sit with both feet flat on the floor; I didn’t want to raise one leg and have someone see [the printing on the cardboard from a cereal box] across the bottom of my shoe. I’d go off to church that way, and everything was fine until those shoes wore out. Then I didn’t know what I would do. I remember it was Saturday, and I thought, ‘I’ve got to go to church. Over at church I am somebody. They really care about me.’ I remember thinking that through, and I went to a little box of shoes some neighbors had given us. I went through them, but I could find only one pair of shoes that would fit me. … They were a pair of women’s nurses’ shoes. I thought, ‘How can I wear those? They’ll laugh me to scorn over at church.’ And so I decided I wouldn’t wear them, and I wouldn’t go to church.”
  • • How would you feel if you had been in Brother Featherstone’s place?
  • • What would you have done?

Let several children respond; then continue with the story:

“I went through that night, and the next morning … I knew I had to go! … I decided what to do. I would run over there very early and sit down close to the front before anybody got there. I thought, ‘I’ll put my feet back under the pew [bench] so no one can see them, and then I’ll wait till everyone leaves. After they’re gone I’ll come running home half an hour later or something.’ That was my plan. I dashed over to church half an hour early, and it worked. Nobody was there. I put my feet back under the bench. Pretty soon everyone came in, and then all of a sudden someone announced: ‘We will now be separated for classes.’ I had forgotten you had to go to class. … I was terrified. The ushers started coming down the aisle, they got to our row, and everybody got up and left. But I just sat there. I couldn’t move. I knew I couldn’t for fear that someone would see my shoes. But the social pressure was intense. That whole meeting just seemed to stop and wait until I moved, so I had to move. I got up and just followed the class downstairs.

“I think I learned the greatest lesson I have ever learned in my life that day. I went downstairs, and the teacher had us sit in a big half-circle. Each of my shoes felt two feet in diameter. I can’t tell you how embarrassed I was. I watched, but, do you know, not one of those eight- and nine-year-old children in that class laughed at me. Not one of them looked at me. No one pointed at my shoes. My teacher didn’t look. I was looking all the time. I was watching everybody to see if anyone was looking at me. … Of course they saw those nurses’ shoes that I had to wear to church. But they had the fine instinct not to laugh” (Vaughn J. Featherstone, “Acres of Diamonds,” in Speeches of the Year, 1974 [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1975], pp. 351–52).

I love telling stories like this to the children. They are at the age where they sit and you can see them visually seeing the story unfold before their little eyes. This story had them entranced. And guess what? Amberly woke up this morning, got ready, put on her fancy flip-flops that showed her big white bandage and went to church with a smile. She even sat in the pew next to me with her feet kicked up under the pew and whispered, "Mom, I'm just like that man in the story!" Yes sweetie, you are.

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