July 2009 Sharing Time: Building a Strong Family

This sharing time will engage the children in an activity that will help them learn how to strengthen their families.

Preparation: Obtain a tool box and eight tools, such as: a hammer, a saw, a pair of pliers, a wrench, a screwdriver, a tape measure, a file, and a clamp. Attach a note to each tool with one of these phrases on it: Family Meal Time, Working Together, Family Prayer, Family Home Evening, Being Kind, Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, Learning About Ancestors, and Family Scripture Study.

Presentation: Explain to the children that tools help us build things. Today they are going to learn about tools that will help them build a strong family. Show them the tool box and tell them they will find some tools inside. Each tool has a clue on it that will help them strengthen their family.

Ask a child to come pick a tool from the box. Have them read the note out loud (younger children could repeat it after you). Ask the children how this phrase can be a tool to help build their family. Have the children share their ideas and examples. Explain that you can learn more about this tool from the scriptures and our leaders. Read the scripture or quote or sing the song that goes with that concept. Repeat with each tool.

Family Meal Time. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, "The time a family spends together eating meals at home [is] the strongest predictor of children's [success]. Family mealtimes have also been shown to be a strong bulwark against children's smoking, drinking, or using drugs." (Dallin H. Oaks, "Good, Better, Best," Ensign, Nov 2007, 104-8)

Working Together. "When We're Helping, We're Happy," Children's Songbook, p. 198.

Family Prayer. Doctrine and Covenants 68:28. "And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord."

Family Home Evening. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "This program [of Family Home Evening] was begun back in 1915, when President Joseph F. Smith urged the Latter-day Saints to set aside one evening a week devoted specifically to the family. It was to be a time of teaching, of reading the scriptures, of cultivating talents, of discussing family matters. In the increasingly frantic rush of our lives it is so important that fathers and mothers sit down with their children, pray together, instruct them in the ways of the Lord, consider their family problems, and let the children express their talents. I am satisfied that this program came under the revelations of the Lord in response to a need among the families of the Church. If there was a need 87 years ago, that need is certainly much greater today." (Gordon B. Hinckley, "To Men of the Priesthood," Ensign, Nov 2002, 56)

"The Family," Children's Songbook, p. 194.

Being Kind. "Kindness Begins With Me," Children's Songbook, p. 145.

Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. Mosiah 13:16. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy."

Learning About Ancestors. President Thomas S. Monson said, "I admonish all families: search out your heritage. It is important to know, as far as possible, those who came before us. We discover something about ourselves when we learn about our ancestors." (Thomas S. Monson, "Constant Truths for Changing Times," Ensign, May 2005, 19)

Family Scripture Study. Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, "I promise you that daily family prayer and scripture study will build within the walls of your home a security and bonding that will enrich your lives and prepare your families to meet the challenges of today and the eternities to come." (L. Tom Perry, "Back to Gospel Basics," Ensign, May 1993, 90)

Remind the children that the physical tools can build things, but the tools they've learned about today can build strong families. Bear your testimony of how these tools have blessed you and your family. Challenge the children to seek these things in their own lives, with their families now and in the future when they come parents.

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