Conference Talks: Linda K. Burton, “Is Faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ Written in Our Hearts?” Ensign, November 2012
Thought: “And so we understand that the Atonement of Jesus Christ gives us the opportunity to overcome the spiritual death that results from sin and, through making and keeping sacred covenants, to have the blessings of eternal life.” -Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Teachings of Jesus” Ensign, November 2011
Hymn: “God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son” Hymns #187
Story: David didn’t like practicing the piano. He’d always make mistakes when he practiced and he didn’t feel like he’d ever be able to play it as good as his friend Ethan. David’s mom came in and sat down next to him, telling him to not give up just because it was hard. She told him there would be much harder things in life he would have to face than just practicing the piano, and that in those times, he’d need to turn to the Savior.
David wondered what the Savior had to do with piano. David’s mom explained that because she paid for the lessons, she could ask him to practice. Because the Savior paid for our sins, He asks us to keep his commandments—not because we need to pay him back, but so we can learn to become like Him.
But being like the Savior was hard for David sometimes. His mom agreed, but she asked David if she should give up on being a mom because it was hard and she had already made too many mistakes?
The thought of his mom giving up made David say, “No. You can’t quit!”
David’s mom agreed with him. “I don’t have to be perfect,” she said, “I just have to keep trying.” She then told David that the Savior says the same thing when we get discouraged. By following Christ, we don’t “earn” our way into heaven. We’re becoming the kind of people who want to live there.
With that comment, David realized what the piano and the Savior’s plan had in common. “We’re practicing for heaven,” he said.
His mom gave him a hug and told him that Christ gives all of us strength to help us, no matter how long it takes.
Activity: We don’t have to be perfect; we just have to keep trying.
Set up an obstacle course and have one member of your family run through it blindfolded. They start with a hundred points. Knocking things over reduces points, and they have to complete the course in under 30 seconds. For every ten seconds they go over, they lose ten points. Since they have no idea where to go or what to do, they shouldn’t end up with a high score.
After they’ve gone through it, have them run it again without the blindfold. Once they’re done, ask them which version of the course was easier.
When they’re done, teach them about how life is like the blindfold, and there are times where we don’t know what we’re doing and it’s hard. This is especially true during trials, when it seems impossible to accomplish our goals. The Atonement allows us to run the obstacle course of life, but we don’t lose points if we knock things over or go too slow.
Through the Atonement, we will always have a perfect score, no matter what. However, like the first time they ran the obstacle course, we will make a lot of mistakes and we will feel like we have to give up. But we don’t have to get through life perfectly, we just have to keep trying and the Savior makes up the difference.
Conclude by asking them for ways they can practice for heaven in their own lives.
For additional ideas to teach your family about the Atonement, check out Practicing For Heaven, which in addition to the story of a young boy’s piano lessons, also includes more lessons, conference talks, and resources for teaching young families about this crucial doctrine.