Karen Lofgreen, “Sharing Time: I Believe in Being Obedient,” Friend, May 1995, 42
(Information about and quotations by President Hunter are from Howard W. Hunter by Eleanor Knowles, pages 25–41.)
By the obedience of one [man] shall many be made righteous (Rom. 5:19).
Being obedient means being willing to make right choices. When you are obedient, you are blessed. Can you remember a time when you were blessed because you obeyed a commandment, a law, or your parents?
President Howard W. Hunter knew that it was important to obey his parents. He also learned that it is important to obey Heavenly Father’s commandments. He kept a journal, in which he told about things that happened in his early life and about the lessons he learned then.
For example, in those days, you could buy fruits and vegetables only at the time they were harvested in your area. Each spring he helped plant a family garden. During the summer and fall, he picked the fruits and vegetables and helped his mother preserve, or save, them for eating during months when they weren’t otherwise available.
His mother taught him to pray, and he developed a testimony while he was very young. He said, “My mother had taught me to pray and to thank Heavenly Father for all the things that I enjoyed. I often thanked Him for the beauty of the earth and for the wonderful times that I had at the ranch and by the river and with the Scouts. I also learned to ask Him for the things that I wanted or needed.”
When he was eight years old, he wanted to be baptized. His nonmember father felt that Howard should be older before he joined any church. Though he knew Heavenly Father wanted him to be a member of the Church, he also knew it was important to do what his father wanted him to do. He honored his father by waiting for his permission. Five months after his twelfth birthday, Howard was baptized.
When he was a teenager, the Saints in Boise, Idaho, met with Church officials to talk about building a new tabernacle. The Boise members were asked to donate money to build the tabernacle, and Howard was the first to raise his hand. He pledged twenty-five dollars—a lot of money for a teenager in those days—as his offering. “I worked and saved until I was able to pay my commitment in full,” he said.
Instructions: The pictures of President Hunter on page 43 show some of the things that he did to be obedient. Fill in the missing word(s) under each picture. On separate sheets of paper, draw pictures of ways that you are obedient. Label and color the pictures
Sharing Time Ideas
1. Thread a long piece of yarn or string through a button or a ring, and tie the ends together. Have the children stand in a circle and pass the button along the string from person to person. As each child receives the button, he or she names a way to be obedient at home, school, neighborhood, or church.
2. Make eight to ten large footprints out of paper. Label one “Earth” and another “Eternal Life,” and place them far apart from each other in the room. Ask the children to name some things we can do so that we may gain eternal life—love others, keep the Word of Wisdom, etc. As each answer is given, write it on a footprint and place it in a path on the floor or around the wall between the “Earth” and “Eternal Life” footprints. Discuss how we can obey each commandment. Use all the footprints.
3. For each class, prepare a set of nine cards with a letter from o-b-e-d-i-e-n-c-e written on each. Have each class work together to discover what the letters spell, then, using the letter on the card to begin each response, write on each card ways they can be obedient (e.g., O—obey my parents, obey traffic signs; B—be at church on time, be kind to my brothers and sisters). Share all ideas with the whole group.
4. Make a calendar for each child. Have the older children fill in the name of the month and the days of the week (teachers may do this for younger children). Let each child decorate his or her own calendar, and encourage all to hang them in their homes. Each evening they can write or draw on the calendar what they did to be obedient (e.g., “I stopped at the stop sign,” “I said my prayers,” “I ate a healthy breakfast”). Have them bring the completed calendars to Primary on the final Sunday of the month and share them.
5. Invite the children to name songs that help them learn about obedience. Sing the songs and discuss what rule(s) is (are) taught in each song. Include “I Thank Thee, Dear Father,” “Baptism,” “Quickly I’ll Obey,” (Children’s Songbook, pp. 7, 100, and 197, respectively).
6. Have the children draw a picture illustrating the following terms to add to their “My Articles of Faith Book” (see Sharing Time, Jan. 1995, p. 36): obedience—when we are willing to make the right choice, law—a rule that requires us to be obedient.