The lesson manual asked that I teach the story of the Good Samaritan, as well as teaching them about Jesus having the children come unto Him when they were being turned away. I was also supposed to remind them about Jesus healing the blind man, and to teach them that Jesus' whole life was about being kind to others. This lesson was a great follow-up lesson to last week's "I Can Be A Friend" lesson.
For some reason my class was smaller than usual. I only had two children: Caleb and Jocelyn. I began my lesson by showing this picture of my granddaughters, Haley and Kaitlyn.
|Haley (Left) and Kaitlyn (Right)|
The conversation went something like this:
Me: This is a picture of two little girls. Do you think you could be friends with these little girls?
Caleb and Jocelyn: Yes.
Me: They look like nice little girls. Do you think you could be nice to them?
Caleb and Jocelyn: Yes.
Then I showed this picture of Haley as a baby.
|Haley -- Notice the Smile -- Definitely NOT Gas|
Me: This is another picture of a little girl. Do you think you could be friends with her?
Caleb and Jocelyn: Yes.
Me: That's good. I'm so glad. Is there something a little different about this little girl?
Caleb: She's a baby.
Me: That's right. Is there anything else that you can see that's different?
Caleb: Her nose is different.
Me: That's right. Her nose and her mouth are a little different.
I then placed Haley's baby picture over Kaitlyn's picture so that Haley's baby picture was next to the current picture of Haley.
Me: I'm so glad that you could be friends with this baby, because she is my granddaughter. And this other picture is Haley as she looks today at 5 years old.
I explained that Haley had been to the hospital a couple of times, and that the doctors had fixed her nose and mouth. I then explained that while Haley looks more like we do now, that she still has some problems talking, and that her voice sounds a little different. I explained that she is going to go into the hospital very soon so that the doctors can help her with that problem. I asked the children if they could be friends with someone who talked differently, and they agreed they could do that.
We then discussed people in wheelchairs, and people who were blind or deaf. The children agreed that they could be friends with and love those people too.
My assistant, Sister Moore, is African-American. I took a breath and began what could have been a tricky situation.
Me: What about someone who has skin that is a different color from yours? Sister Moore's skin is different from yours.
At this point, Caleb and Jocelyn almost simultaneously jumped out of their chairs, threw their little arms around Sister Moore, and said, "I love you, Sister Moore." Sister Moore was obviously quite touched, and I have to admit to a little catch in my throat, as well.
Sister Moore: I love you too!!!
I taught this lesson on the anniversary of 9/11/01, so I had to take this one step further. I asked if the children had heard about 9/11, and they said no. I explained that some bad people who lived in a different country flew planes into two big buildings in New York City, and it had hurt some people. (I avoided the word "kill" because they are very young.) They said they had heard about that. I asked them if they could love someone who lived in a different country, and they said they could. I asked them if they could forgive the bad men who had done this, and they said they could. I explained that it is important to love everyone and reminded them of a previous lesson that we need to forgive. They said they could do that.
I then went into the meat of the lesson about the Good Samaritan, and the rest as outlined in the manual.
Since the stated purpose of the lesson was: "To encourage each child to express love for others through kind words and deeds," I couldn't help but wonder who had taught this lesson--me, or the children. When they threw their little arms around Sister Moore and told her that they loved her, I think I could have ended the lesson right there.
I was reminded of the Book of Mormon scripture, Mosiah 3:19:
"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." (Emphasis added.)
It is my prayer that we all try to be more like little Caleb and Jocelyn. The world would be a much better place.