For more information on this topic read “Helping Hands, Saving Hands,” by Koichi Aoyagi, Ensign, May 2010, 36–37.
May we follow the counsel and example of the prophet and each day seek out those in need. (Koichi Aoyagi, “Helping Hands, Saving Hands,” Ensign, May 2010, 36–37.)
“Called to Serve,” Children’s Songbook, p. 174.
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)
Gather items such as bathrobes, towels, and scarves to make simple costumes for the role-play activity of the good Samaritan. Act out the story of the good Samaritan. You can review the story first in Luke 10:30–37. You will need the following characters: the traveler, a thief (or thieves), a priest, a Levite, a Samaritan, and the innkeeper. (If your family is large, someone could even play the part of the donkey that the traveler rides on.)
When you have finished the role play, tell the family that the Savior told this story in answer to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” What does this story teach us about who our neighbors are? Whom should we serve? Emphasize that our neighbors can be anyone in need, people that we don’t know as well as those on our street and even those in our own home.
(Deborah Pace Rowley, Before They Turn Twelve: Helping Children Gain a Testimony of the Lord’s Standards, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2007], p. 91.)
Steven was worried about his mother. She had been sick for several months. His father had put a bed in the living room so that she could watch Father and Steven decorate the Christmas tree and participate in all the Christmas activities. Christmas had been fun even though Mother was sick. She had been so excited about the tree. It had always been her favorite part of Christmas. Sometimes when Steven sat beside her on her bed, she would say, “Steven, just look at that star. Doesn’t it make you happy just to see it? When I wake up in the morning and
open my eyes, there it is. It is like having heaven in our very own house. It reminds me of Jesus, and when I think of him I don’t feel sick anymore.”
Now the holidays were over and Father said they needed to take down the tree on Monday night. Steven worried about what Mother would do without the star to look at every morning. He worried about it all through sacrament meeting. It felt lonesome not to have Mother sitting
next to him on the bench. He worried about it all during Primary. Then during singing time, Sister Pope had the children sing Steven’s favorite song, “I Am like a Star.” That was it! That was Steven’s answer. He could be Mother’s star. He would do and say happy things all day. He would help in every way he could. Mother didn’t need to be sad because the star on the Christmas tree was gone; Steven would be her star instead.
Steven didn’t tell anyone about his plan. On Monday night he was quick to help Father get out the box for the ornaments and was careful taking the ornaments off the tree. He even got out the vacuum and cleaned up the pine needles that dropped off the tree when Father carried it out to the trash.
The next morning the house seemed empty without all the beautiful Christmas decorations. But Steven remembered his plan. He looked for ways to help and serve all day long. He brought Mother her favorite magazine to read. He got her a drink of water when it was time to take her medicine. He read her his favorite picture book. He made his bed and cleaned his room even though Mother couldn’t come upstairs to see it. He sang Primary songs to Mother to help her fall asleep and he played quietly while she was resting.
All week Steven tried hard to be helpful and happy just like a star would be. Sometimes he would hum his favorite song just so he could remember. On Saturday morning, Father sat in the living room with Mother while she ate her breakfast.
Father said, “Do you miss the tree, dear? I know how much you liked looking at the star.”
Mother looked at Steven and smiled. “I don’t miss the star on the Christmas tree. I have my very own star that is shining brightly. My special star makes me smile and reminds me of Jesus. With all this help, I know I will be better soon.”
Steven felt such a warm, good feeling inside he thought he must be glowing just like a real star. Then the Steven Star gave Mother a great big hug.
(Deborah Pace Rowley, Before They Turn Twelve: Helping Children Gain a Testimony of the Lord’s Standards, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2007], p. 90.)
Make some star-shaped sugar cookies and deliver them to someone in your ward or neighborhood. You may want to pray as a family to decide who needs to receive a special treat to lift their spirits. Include a note that says, “You are stars to us!” with the cookies. Deliver the plate, ring the doorbell, and run!
(Deborah Pace Rowley, Before They Turn Twelve: Helping Children Gain a Testimony of the Lord’s Standards, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2007], p. 92.)
Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
2⁄3 cup butter or shortening (butter makes a better-tasting cookie)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1⁄4 cups flour
2 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Cream sugar and butter or shortening; add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together and beat into creamed mixture, combining thoroughly. With hands, shape dough into a ball. Wrap and
refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight until dough is easy to handle.
Grease cookie sheets lightly. On lightly floured board, roll one-half or one-third of dough at a time, keeping remaining dough refrigerated. For crisp cookies, roll dough paper-thin. For softer cookies, roll 1⁄8-inch to 1⁄4-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes with floured cookie cutter. Reroll trimmings and cut.
Place cookies half an inch apart on cookie sheets. Sprinkle with decorative toppings, if desired. Bake at 375 degrees about 8 minutes or until a very light brown. Remove cookies to racks to cool. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
(Lion House Classics, [Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain, 2004], p. 106.)
Click here for a printable pdf file.