My hunky music leader (and husband) Dan and I put on a little “play” this Sunday to get the primary kids thinking about how they could allow the scriptures to have a greater impact on their lives.
We started with a stack of books on the table, a Dr. Seuss book, a gardening book, a medical book, a Leo Tolstoy book, and a book of games and activities. (The specific books don’t really matter.)
Dan pointed to the stack of books and asked me to tell him about them.
Me – Well, these are some of my favorite books and they’re really important in my life. I love them.
Dan (holding up the Dr. Seuss) – What’s this book? It looks fun.
Me – Oh, yeah. I love that one. Every night while I was growing up, my parents would sit our family down and read this story to us. They said it was a great story and I trusted them.
Dan – What’s it about?
Me – I don’t actually know because as soon as they’d start reading it, I would tune them out, crawl around on the floor, and poke my brother in the arm. But it’s a really great book, I’m sure. It’s really important in my life.
Dan (holding up the gardening book) – What’s this one? This looks like a cool book.
Me – Oh, I love this book. It’s about growing delicious vegetables. I read the whole thing from start to finish and I was so excited to have beautiful vegetables but nothing ever grew.
Dan – Did you prepare any soil, plant any seeds, or take care of a garden?
Me – No. But I read the whole book and nothing happened. It was super disappointing, but this book is still very important in my life. I hope a garden grows sometime.
Dan (holding up the medical book) – Well this one looks great. It’s about health and wellness. Tell me about this one.
Me – Oh! That one. That one is amazing. I bought it because I’ve been having headaches and feeling old and it says it will help you feel healthier and younger. It was so special to me that I got a really cute case for it. The case had flowers and a zipper. So cute. Then I zipped it into its case right next to my bed. Sometimes, I would take the case with me when I went places and then I’d put it back beside my bed.
Dan – Did your headaches get any better?
Me – Actually no. Isn’t that strange? I didn’t get any younger or healthier by putting that book in a cute case, carrying it around, or even keeping it right next to my bed. But I do still love it. It’s very important to me.
Dan (holding up Tolstoy) – What about Anna Karenina? This looks like a big, important book.
Me – Oh yes. That’s why I love it. It’s big and it has lots of cool words and stuff. People have told me that it’s very interesting and if I read it I can learn a lot about relationships and the human condition.
Dan – Cool. Did you learn those things?
Me – Well, the thing is, it’s very long and every time I start to read it, I get sidetracked so I’ve just read the first page over and over about a gazillion times. The first page is good. But I haven’t learned much about relationships or the human condition. It’s just so LOOOONG! But it’s really crucial to my life to have that book. I love it very much.
Dan – (holding up the game book full of sticky notes) Well, you have one more and it looks great. What’s this game book all about?
Me – Oh man. That is a great book. It’s about cool ways I can play with my family and friends. I read the book, some parts several times, and then I learned a bunch of games. So, now I invite my friends over every afternoon and we play the games and have a great time. I have had so much fun with that book.
When we were done, I asked the kids which book from our play had the greatest impact on the everyday life of my character. Then we talked about why it made such a difference. Of course the kids are sharp so they picked right up on the analogy and we had some great discussion.
I then pulled out my scriptures and told them that these books are truly important in my life but that there have been times when I’ve treated them like the books in our play.
Like the Dr. Seuss book, sometimes I hadn’t paid attention when the scriptures were being read to me.
Like the gardening book, sometimes I had read them but hadn’t taken any action to do the things they told me to do to make my life better.
Like the medical book, I always keep my scriptures in their case and take them with me to church but if I never open them and read, they can’t help me be happy.
Like the Russian Novel, sometimes I get stuck reading the same few pages over and over again without moving forward. Reading any part of the scriptures is good but there’s so much more to learn than can be found in 1 Nephi chapter one.
Like the game book, the scriptures have the most power in my life when I feast on their words, take action in my life to implement their teachings, and share them with others.