Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Primary Talks

I think there are many reasons why Heavenly Father's church includes opportunities for tiny children to stand up in front of their peers and give a prepared talk.  Primary is the training grounds for these littlest church members, a safe place for them to nurture their little testimonies.  Standing up and delivering a talk, just like the speakers in Sacrament meeting prepares them to take the next step, being a youth speaker in Sacrament meeting.  It also develops their self-confidence in standing in front of a group which can prepare them for a wide variety of leadership and teaching callings in the church.  But at the core of all these reasons is the reason I believe any of us are asked to speak in church: to increase our knowledge and testimony.

I am a big fan of memorization.  Yes, I know that to simply regurtitate memorized facts does not equate understanding a concept.  But I think it is a start.  Yes, it is better for our children to understand the messages in the Primary songs, but knowing their words can certainly be a foundation for concepts like faith, following the prophet, and reading the scriptures.

And so, my kids memorize their Primary talks.  I write them, but I really focus on using words they can understand so hopefully they are getting more than just a fight with mom out of the experience.  Because, let's face it, Primary talk = fight with mom. 

I remember oh so clearly the Saturday before talk-day with my mom's frustration coming out in statements like, "It's not that hard if you just pay attention." Or, "Can't you just hold still and focus on this so we can just. be. done."  And then my frustration would come out in the form of tears.  I vowed not to let that happen with my kids.  "I'll make sure their talks are written a week in advance, and we'll work on them little by little at bedtime so it is not a frustrating experience."  Yeah... I broke that vow.

Despite the fight and frustration, my kids are really good memorizers, and really confident little talk-givers, and I am always excited when they come home with the assignment.  I was a little less excited this month, though, when they were assigned talks 2 weeks apart and with the same topic: "How can the 4th Article of Faith help you return to your heavenly home?"

I racked my brain for a creative idea for Adam's talk, and I loved the pirate allegory I finally invented.  And I was so proud when his sweet little delivery moved a member of the primary presidency to tears.  How could I possibly write another talk on the same darn topic?  Somehow I managed, and I'm proud of Alex's "two homes" talk, which he will get to give again as part of the Primary Program in the fall.  Hopefully the next time the talk fairy comes our way, Adam will be ready to start writing his own.

Be sure to look at the eyes in these videos.  Each boy was recovering from a cold the day he gave his talk.  You can see it in their exhausted little eyes.  And I need to remember to stay outside the reach of the video camera.  You can see the left-over frustration in my eyes in Alex's video.


Kari said...

We were always taught to memorize our primary talks as well. And my kids will memorize theirs. I think it's becoming a lost discipline and many parents assume their child can't do it.
I'm glad someone else is with me, and I'm impressed with the talks you wrote!