It’s Not What I Taught, But What I Learned

At church I serve a leadership calling with the young children ages 3-11, and every so often it’s my responsibility to spend a month of Sundays teaching the group a lesson on basic gospel principles.

January is my month, and the principle we’ll be studying is:  We Believe in God, the Eternal Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ.  Pretty basic, yes?  But today I found out through teaching just how truly profound it is.

I started by asking the children to raise their hands if they knew the first name of their dad.  The kids offered answers like Will and Brad and Paul and more.  I explained that these were their fathers here on Earth, the fathers of their physical body.  Then I asked the kids to raise their hands if they knew who the father of their spirit was.  I was glad to see so many raise their hand and answer before I could even call on them:  GOD.

Yes, we have a father on Earth and a Father in Heaven.  A father of our body, and a Father of our spirit.  But what’s the difference between our body and our spirit?

I had some kids come up and volunteer to put socks on their hands.  Yes, socks, because though the lesson called for gloves, I don’t have nearly so many different gloves as I have socks (you should see our sock basket!).  We had a purple fuzzy sock, a long green and blue striped sock, a brown argyle sock, and more.  Every one was different.


image courtesy Maria Nissen,

Our bodies are like the socks – all different.  Some taller, some shorter, some bigger, some smaller, some different colors.  Our bodies may even work differently than others, we may live in different places, we may believe different things.  But all of us are the same on the INSIDE – we are all spirit children of our Father in Heaven.  He loves us all the same.  We are all part of his family.

And if we’re all part of His family, that makes us – every one of us – family to each other, too.

I showed a picture of my family, the seven of us.  It’s a favorite of mine, one I believe shows how happy we are together and how much we love each other.  I asked the kids “How do we feel about the people in our own family?”  We love them, we help them, we care for them.  So…if by being spirit children of our Father in Heaven makes us ALL family, shouldn’t we treat ALL people like we treat the people in our families at home?

I emphasized, especially with the older kids, that if we understand that we are spirit children of God, and we try to see each other as God sees us – as one family – then we should understand the need to show love, care, kindness to all.

I feel like some of the kids “got” it – many were quiet and participated when necessary, and I pray that they ponder on the ideas we talked about.  I know my heart was full as I taught, and I know what I was teaching was true.  I learn so much when given the opportunity to share, and I’m grateful that we can talk about such basic principles that are the foundations of our faith.