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Monday, September 19, 2011

FHE - Heavenly Father Gave Us Commandments Because He Loves Us

Family Home Evening
Heavenly Father Gave Us Commandments Because He Loves Us
(Adapted from Family Home Evening Resource Book Lesson 2)
(I am in no way speaking for the Church, or teaching doctrine. I had simply adapted the lessons found in the resource book to work with my small children and created some visuals. This items are for your personal use and are my personal opinion.)

Scripture: “He keepth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18)
Song: “Keep the Commandments” (Children's Songbook p. 146)

Reminder: The younger the child, the smaller the attention span. It is better to do one or two activities that keep your child's interest than attempting to do everything listed and getting frustrated. If your child isn't interested in an activity or discussion, skip it and find something that works. What works for my children won't always work for yours.

For the Parent: One of the hardest experiences in life is watching someone we love break the commandments and follow the path to unhappiness. As parents we can help protect our children from following such a course by teaching them early that the commandments are one of the greatest gifts our Heavenly Father provided. We need to show our children that the commandments keep us on a path to eternal happiness. These commandments ensure prolonged freedom. The commandments are not meant to be a burden to us, but a beautiful blessing. They are gifts from our Heavenly Father who loves us and wants to keep us safe and help us return to him in Celestial glory.

If you want a PDF version of this FHE Lesson you can find it here.  Please remember to print off the graphics in addition to the lesson. 

Preparation:  Print, color, and laminate Happy and sad children. 
                Print and laminate Stairs to Happiness.
                Print and laminate Stairs to Unhappiness.
                Print story of Mama Bear.
                Create clues for a treasure hunt. (I used 7 relatively easy clues for my young kids.)
                Have a treasure treat for kids at the end of the hunt.

Lesson: Talk about how much you love your children. Tell your children the hopes and fears you have for them. Discuss with them different rules that you have established to keep them safe. Examples include not crossing the street alone, not touching a hot stove. Then talk about the rules to teach good behavior such as sharing and serving others.
Read the story of the Mama Bear.
Talk about how much Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to be safe and return to Him. Explain that is why He gave us commandments. They are our “clues” to how to return home.
Explain that some people feel the commandments are hard and trap us. It sometimes looks like those who break the commandments are having fun. At first the commandments seem difficult. Read Alma 41:10: “Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.” (Emphasize the last sentence, “Wickedness never was happiness.” Discuss how Satan makes it look like fun to break the commandments, that those who don't follow the rules benefit. Explain this is temptation. At first it looks like you have more freedom when you don't follow the rules but it actually traps us and it gets harder and harder to follow the right.
Show both stairways. Explain how the more and more choices we make the farther the pathway we go. When following the right, this makes keeping the commandments easier to follow and gives us more benefits and blessings. When following temptation this dark path eventually traps us making it very difficult to escape. Show your doll cut-outs and come up with situations that will lead up one of the stairways. (We gave ours names and I told a one or two sentence story about a choice they made. Example: “Chris's little brother broke his favorite toy. Chris was frustrated and sad but he took some deep breaths and left the room so he wouldn't do something unkind.” We put Chris on Control your temper.) Have the children match the situation to the commandment or sin. Then try to match the blessing or consequence that comes with that choice. Continue this with as many of the choices as your children have attention for.
Make sure you explain that even though Satan tempts and tries to trick us every thing we do is our choice. My son once told me that he hit his brother but it wasn't his fault because Satan made him do it. We must teach our children that we all make our own choices no matter what Satan does, we control ourselves. Also explain that even when we make a bad choice and begin to follow the pathway to unhappiness we can always repent and if we are sincere and faithful Heavenly Father will forgive us and we can try again. We all make bad choices at one time or another, none of us is perfect. Tell of a time when you made a bad choice and how it made you feel. Then explain what you did to repent and how it felt to have that burden released.
Tell of a time when you kept a commandment and it resulted in a special blessing. (Children LOVE to hear stories about their parents. It's a good idea that your children know that you have messed up too, because it will make it that much easier for them to tell you when they've done wrong.)
If you still have their attention tell the story of Nephi and the gold plates. The commandment he was given was incredibly hard but because of his faith and obedience him and his family were greatly blessed.
Talk about commandments that you are grateful for. Ask your children commandments they are grateful for.

Talk about how commandments are like “clues” to return to Heavenly Father. They aren't always simple, but if we follow and succeed we will find our ultimate “treasure.” We did a treasure hunt that of course ended at dessert. I made treasure brownies.

We said a closing prayer and enjoyed our treat.

The paper doll graphics and the stairways are 100% my creation.  These are for non-profit use only.

The graphics for the Mama bear story were found here.

(I didn't create a link to our treasure clues because they were so personalized.  I found the treasure chest clipart at here .)

Happy Family Time!!!


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