Teaching Old Testament, Primary-style

I’m having a pretty good time teaching the Old Testament to my Valiant 9 class. They’re a good group of kids, and the Old Testament is a wack book of scripture, so it’s kind of hard not to have fun with it. One of my kids is a natural thespian. When we had the lesson on the Creation, he wanted to act it out, and I, having nothing better to do with our time, said sure, why not. So he took on the role of Creator, and the other kids…well, one of them handled the lights, and the others sort of took turns embodying things like water and springtime. It was a little avant garde. At some point I did remember that it’s against the rules to let anyone portray a member of the Godhead in role-play situations, but by then it was too late, so I figured God would just have to forgive us this one time. Unfortunately, re-enacting the Creation turned out to be their favorite activity, so God has had to forgive us multiple times, but I like to think the Godhead understands these things.

They have acted out other stories, too. Enoch, for example, was given a modern twist when J (Brother Thespian), reading his big speech from the scriptures themselves, told the wicked that God had commanded all men that they should “represent.” (Technically, in Moses it says “repent,” but now you can say you’ve heard it both ways.) But their favorite play was when Abraham escaped the idolatrous priest and he and his family were forced to flee. Or, as our class played it, “FLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” (We went outside to approximate a verisimilitude of fleeing. Fortunately, the weather is getting warmer just in time for all our Biblical heroes to start fleeing one place or another.) [1]

I tend not to use the manual very much—not because I’m such an original and talented teacher but because, to be honest, the OT Primary manual is pretty much bullcrap (no offense to it). I found the Doctrine and Covenants/Church History manual a lot more helpful, even if I didn’t always take the lesson in the direction it directed. [2] The OT manual has been more or less useless, at least as far as teaching the scriptures is concerned. (It did all right with the Plan of Salvation.) You could be forgiven for assuming that the church doesn’t mean for people to read the Old Testament at all, let alone learn something from it.

To wit: Lesson 10 is supposed to be on Abraham and Lot. The stated purpose of the lesson is “to strengthen each child’s desire to show love to others.” If you’re familiar with Lot’s story, “love one another” is maybe not the first thing you associate with him. But the manual reminds us that Abraham and Lot shared the land. (It’s true, they did. Genesis 13:1-18.) How can we show love and unselfishness when dividing something to share with another person? When Lot was captured in the battle of the kings, Abraham showed his love and concern for Lot by rescuing him. How can we show love and concern when a family member is kidnapped by an enemy state?

I appreciate that maybe you don’t want to get into the thorny theological issues related to the destruction of Sodom with 9-year-olds (I mean, I don’t, and didn’t), but this is a really…lame take on this section of the Old Testament. Not that showing love to others is lame. Showing love is awesome. In fact, one of the recurring themes of our lessons is that God wants his children to love one another, but they keep murdering each other instead and that’s why God is so ticked off at them all the time. (To the point of tears. Moses 7:28. Dude, I can relate.) It just seems, I don’t know, like they’re reaching with some of this stuff. Especially the part where the manual asks how the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah shows Heavenly Father’s love for his children. (In case you’re stumped, He destroyed the wicked to protect the righteous from their evil influence. Because that’s what God does when He really loves [some of] you.)

Then there was Lesson 12 on Isaac and Rebekah, which proposes to “teach the children that the same eternal blessings promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob can be theirs if they make and honor temple marriage covenants.” (Insert GIF of Kanye West shaking his head disdainfully.) Well, as it happens, I don’t teach lessons about temple marriage. That’s a personal failing of mine; I’ll own it. I don’t know how to teach children that temple marriage is the only way you can be with your family forever but not to take it personally if their own families aren’t sealed in the temple. So there’s that. But even aside from that, we have the problem of this story of Isaac and Rebekah bearing no resemblance whatsoever to any likely scenario these kids are bound to encounter in their own search for an eternal companion.

Indeed, when I told my kids that Rebekah just got on the camel and went to marry Isaac sight unseen, they thought that was crazysauce. (Not as crazy as when God commanded Isaac’s dad to murder him, but you know, that one’s a hard act to follow.) The manual wants me to point out how Abraham’s servant sought guidance from the Lord when choosing his master’s son’s wife, conscientiously formulating his own plan and asking God for confirmation, more concerned with completing his assignment than with his own comfort. Okay, maybe. Or maybe he was really tired after a long journey and figured anyone who was nice enough to give him and his camels a drink was bound to make a good spouse. (I mean, he’s not wrong.) The only thing that really mattered was that Isaac not marry one of the Canaanites. That was literally Abraham’s only request. So the servant finds a girl who’s not a Canaanite who is also nice enough to water his camels, and luckily for him, she’s keen to leave home and marry a dude she’s never met.

No, I didn’t teach it quite that cynically, but neither did I infuse meaning into things that are actually not that meaningful. I didn’t teach a whole lesson on Isaac and Rebekah, because frankly, there just isn’t a lot of there there. I quickly summed up the story of Isaac and Rebekah at the beginning of the lesson on Jacob and Esau. And now I’m two lessons ahead of schedule because I also forgot to teach the Easter lesson the week before General Conference (known by much of the Christian world as Actual Easter). Oopsie. [3] [4]

The next lesson I’m supposed to teach is on Jacob marrying Leah and Rachel and working for Laban for 20 years before he finally gets out of his contract. I’m supposed to point out that “if we do what is right, when someone else wrongs us the Lord is aware of our situation and will bless us for our patience and righteousness.” Maybe. Or maybe it’s just karma for stealing your brother’s birthright. (Yes, I know God prophesied that Jacob would rule over Esau, but Jacob was still kind of a sneak about it. I mean, come on.)

The trouble with teaching the Old Testament to children is that it’s hard for Mormons to make sense of the Old Testament even as adults. The Gospel Doctrine manual tells us the story of Isaac and Rebekah is about temple marriage and the Abrahamic covenant is same as the new and everlasting covenant. (Neither of those things is true, but whatever.) It’s hard for Christians in general to make sense of the Old Testament without reinterpreting it for their own purposes (in a way its original audience would not have understood). I mean, to some extent, that’s okay. Paul did it. I think Jesus himself did it. But it’s hard to look at some of these lesson plans that are only tangentially related to the scriptures they’re allegedly elucidating and not conclude that the church considers the Old Testament essentially negligible, as far as our theology is concerned.

To be sure, there’s a lot of weird crap in the Old Testament. I mean, I didn’t tell the kids about Lot’s daughters getting him drunk to have sex with him, and I’m not going to tell them about the rape of Dinah or about that dude who dismembers his concubine and mails her parts to all the coasts of Israel. (Does anyone pretend to understand that?) Some truths really aren’t useful, and neither are some Bible stories. Frankly, I’m not sure I’m a very good teacher at all because I can’t always come up with a good moral to these stories, even the Safe For Primary ones. I don’t know how to teach 9-year-olds things I don’t believe (e.g. that it wasn’t messed up that God asked Abraham to kill his own son), so I don’t try. I feel like my job for now is just to tell the stories, and the kids can make sense of them at their leisure. Sometimes it’s easy to moralize. (Don’t be wicked. There will be smiting.) Other times you just have to go outside and practice your fleeing.

_______________________

[1] I’m pleased to report that no one has a problem with the girls playing men, but J (who happens to be the only boy in the class) tends to get the juiciest roles because he is the best actor. (No one disputes this. The others don’t have the heart to put on a play without him.) One day one of the girls wanted to play God the Creator, and J said, “Okay. Do you know all the words to say?” “Kind of…” she replied. “It’s not easy playing God, you know,” he said unironically.

[2] The thing that most impressed me about the Church History manual was how well it incorporated the stories of women and girls. You have to give the correlation committee credit where it’s due.

[3] Actually, I think that was the week we covered Abraham’s (almost) sacrifice of Isaac. That’s…kind of Easter-y. In a sick sort of way.

[4] I suppose I could have taught the Easter lesson on Orthodox Easter, but that would probably have confused the children even more than a lesson on God ordering a human sacrifice.

Comments

  1. Hedgehog says:

    “So the servant finds a girl who’s not a Canaanite who is also nice enough to water his camels, and luckily for him, she’s keen to leave home and marry a dude she’s never met.”
    Well, he’s rich dude she’s never met. I sometimes wonder what her alternatives were…

  2. “I sometimes wonder what her alternatives were…” Yeah. The other week one 9-year-old in my class insisted that Rebekah mush have been listening to Abraham’s servant’s prayer, and she ran to get water for him and his camels because she REALLY wanted to get married. I was annoyed with his comment at the time, but maybe he was right. I mean, Abraham’s servant did bring ten camels and lots of other stuff to give away, so maybe she saw all of that and knew this was her big chance.

  3. I’m in my first primary calling and teaching the OT has been rough. I’ve never realized how insane these stories are until I have to help kids learn moral lessons for everyday life from them. I’ve mostly stopped trying.

  4. PREACH! I’m wrapping up my preparations to teach the “Joseph messes with his brothers and then forgives them because he is THAT much better than all of us” lesson in Gospel Doctrine tomorrow. Trying to figure out how to get around the “bad things happen for a reason” theme (not always true). The OT is definitely a challenge and BOY, do they ever need to update the curriculum.

  5. Pete Enns recommended starting kids with the New Testament instead of the Old Testament so I recommitted to scripture study with my kids starting with the Gospel of Mark. I thought, no talking snakes or mass smitings, this will be easy! But it seemed like every single chapter was full of demonic possession and Jesus casting out demons.That was fun to try and explain without freaking out my kids. Nothing makes me realize how little I actually know about the scriptures than trying to make sense of it for kids.

  6. greendavis2016 says:

    Currently teaching the Valiant 10’s and 100% relate. Mostly I try to come up with fun stuff to do. Last week we timed how long it would take to fill up a 40 gallon Rubbermaid tote with pitchers from the kitchen (a la Rebekah watering the camels). Trying to link these activities to actual doctrine seems pointless and agree, the key points that the manuals suggest really leave me shaking my head in disbelief.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    greendavis, what a great idea for an activity! I guarantee the kids will remember that lesso. For a long time…

  8. J. Stapley says:

    RJ rules.

  9. My wife (raised LDS) and I are reading along with the lesson plans for our scripture study. She noticed that we jumped a bunch of chapters last week. I bemoaned how as LDS we’ll never go over those chapters. The lessons plans are the same every four years. So she spent time in personal study to read a bunch of chapters that had stuff in them that she’d never heard before. Nothing shocking, or anything that the church would be trying to hide; but she still found it a positive experience to go over something that was new-ish.

  10. Blonde Eggshell says:

    Please come and teach our Gospel Doctrine class. Anytime.

  11. I’m currently reading an illustrated kids bible with my five year old. I’m pleased to report that once you strip out the scribes’ obfuscation, it remains a pretty bizarre collection.

    I don’t know how to teach children that temple marriage is the only way you can be with your family forever but not to take it personally if their own families aren’t sealed in the temple.

    This.

  12. I taught Primary for a year and after only three weeks jettisoned the ridiculous manual in favor of bible story activities that held the attention of the class. Many of my ideas came from Christian curriculums. The new teacher said the kids missed me, and that they didn’t sit reverently during class. Likely because I also didn’t require that the kids sit reverently during class.

  13. Bro. Jones says:

    It’s against the rules to have kids role play as deity? Oops. Guess I broke the rules a few times.

  14. Can I come to your Primary class instead of GD? I promise not to say or do anything that’d make you send for the Primary President…

  15. ” but not to take it personally if their own families aren’t sealed in the temple.”

    Is it not possible to teach something is true if it might cause discomfort? Obviously no, one says to make kids feel bad. But our own church President understood this truth when he wasn’t sealed to his parents.

    Glad that no one spared him from experiencing a discomfort that made him long for his parents to be sealed together!

    And the inverse of this, is that’s it’s really possible you deprive the kids of an foundational experience with temple marriage teaching that would otherwise provide a baseline for future understanding about the importance of temple covenants.

    Surely, you can get to know the children in your charge and if they have needs in their family then cater the lesson to them that helps them see the importance of temple covenants in a way that ministers to them individually?

  16. Marivene says:

    greendavis, a camel will drink 10 to 20 gallons of water at a time. Times 10 camels…if you don’t have access to the kitchen, just carrying a couple of gallons back & forth across the room enough times to have “watered” ten camels gets pretty tiring, & makes the point. Rebecca was not a servant, used to heavy labor. I was raised as a Protestant, & I loved the Old Testament stories. I thought Eliezer was lazy, letting Rebecca do all that work while he watched, until I learned that the Jewish quality of “chesned” – roughly, generous service- was a quality for which Abraham’s family was known. For Rebecca to let Eliezer drink from the jug, since he was a stranger, she had to dump the rest of the water. The polite way to do that was to empty it into the water trough ( let me water your camels), but Eliezer wanted to see if she would do the polite thing, or the generous thing. Rebecca passed the camel test with flying colors.

  17. Corbin Mcmillen says:

    Weird crap in the ot?
    The ot is heaven compared to 2018

  18. Kristine says:

    E.C.–any Mormon kid whose family isn’t sealed in the temple is already 1000% aware of the principle and anxious about the fact that his family doesn’t measure up. Hammering the point as relentlessly as we do, starting in Primary, just makes those kids feel like they don’t belong at church.

  19. I’m a bit perplexed by this post because it presents criticism of the current approach to an OT manual without offering any real solutions. Any of us who’ve read the OT (begets and all), or taught the OT at any level recognize that as a book of scripture it’s difficult to get into- and has stories that are impossible to relate with for various reasons. However, the correlation committee and their authors do as well as possible with simplifying this difficult material. So- what would you do differently with the manual? Have you contacted the correlation committee with your insights and offered alternative ways to approach these difficult subjects? Would you avoid them altogether? What do you suggest?

  20. IMO: there is a well-founded rumor (I’ve seen photos of the pilot program manuals) that new Primary manuals are coming in 2019. Chatter has it that they will be organized more like the Come Follow Me youth curriculum, with a greater emphasis on sharing from the children. As far as criticism without solutions, I think the post is intended to provide some commiseration and venting. And I, for one, need that.

  21. Rachel: I welcome any new efforts to improve our teaching so I hope that the rumor turns out to be correct. I’ve personally known at least one member of the correlation committee, and from his descriptions of how manuals are developed its very clear there is a significant amount of effort put into each one. While I understand the frustration expressed here, I’d like to see a bit more charity towards those who work so hard to produce teaching materials for us- especially when material like the OT is so difficult to simplify for kids…

  22. I’m in a transitional period regarding how to participate in primary callings. Right now, I’m comfortable teaching Nursery and Sunbeams, because those are the only classes in the church that don’t insist on teachers teaching highly-specific conclusions to all books of scripture. I find this particularly painful with the Old Testament, since I find very few of the stories to be about how people should actually behave. I believe any story can encourage a fruitful and enlightening discussion if the discussion participants feel free to explore it and draw novel\personal conclusions, but I find it terribly stifling to be in dead-end discussions that only support one interpretation. I don’t like to participate in discussions like that, and I’m not willing to teach that way. I very much hope a change is coming that is less content-based and more sharing-based.

    In response to having “charity towards those who work so hard to produce teaching materials for us”, I would say charity is always a good policy…but I don’t believe it’s good policy to have several men decide for millions of people how to study scripture and teach children.

  23. IMO, Though he was speaking specifically of the Gospel Doctrine manuals (I assume, but don’t know that, the process of writing other manuals has in the past been similar), one committee member’s comment was : “I’m on the committee that writes them, and I don’t like them at all.” https://mormonheretic.org/2011/11/26/daniel-peterson-talks-candidly-about-correlation/
    There is also a study I cannot now locate of the committee preparation of one of the PH/RS Teachings of the Prophet _______ manuals. If I remember correctly, that committee was not permitted to actually first read the prophet’s writings and decide what to include. Instead, it seemed to have been given a bureaucratically chosen list of topics on which they were instructed to find something to include. Maybe I misremember that analysis, but for me it is possible to both [charitably] appreciate the efforts of the curriculum committee members and not appreciate the results.
    I haven’t taught the Valiant 9 class for some years now, but I certainly understand a Primary teacher’s motivation to vent about the existing manuals. I appreciate RJ’s doing it with good humor, just as I appreciate the efforts of those working in other frustrating callings such as curriculum committees.

  24. Is it not possible to teach something is true if it might cause discomfort?

    What truths about sealing do you want to teach? Eternal damnation if you aren’t or everything will work out in the end? Because the prophets have taught both, with the trend towards emphasizing the latter.

  25. I know it’s not the best teaching, but the Living Scriptures videos saved me when I didn’t know what to teach or when I didn’t have a testimony of the topic. The boys learned the story, and that’s all I could ask for. We did let them run around outside more than our Primary President would have liked, but she’s the one that told us that the class had run off more than one teacher. Sometimes you’ve just got to let kids run around and watch a movie and hope that you don’t kill them when they’re being awful.

  26. Richard Brown says:

    I taught in Primary for three years while I was stationed in Japan and I personally loved teaching from the manual for the OT and all other books of scripture. I never found it difficult to teach from the OT. I learned to study the lesson the week prior to teaching it an tailor the message to the class I was teaching. I could always find the moral of the story from each lesson in the manual. My wife has been teaching in Primary for the last 8-10 years and she loves teaching all of the lessons to her class. I also taught Seminary for classes in the OT and found it equally exciting to learn from them as we discussed the OT and how to apply the doctrine and principles in our daily lives.

    I remember being called by the Seminary teacher and being asked to teach the lesson about King David and Bathsheba to help the teacher. We had a great discussion about choices and consequences and how they impact our lives and how quickly one bad decision can, when not addressed, lead to more bad decisions.

    Having said all this, I’m looking forward to the new manuals (for various reasons) in Primary to be patterned after the “Come Follow Me” curriculum, assuming they are coming out in 2019. I have observed how teaching in the Church has shifted from the old Missionary Lessons to Preach My Gospel, from the old youth manuals to Come Follow Me, from the old way of teaching in 3rd hour to the new pattern, and now too Ministering instead of Home/Visiting Teaching. I see the evolution of teaching and it exciting as we adapt to new generations and the way they learn best.

  27. I’m not big on quiet, seated, focused teaching for kids, really. I’m not convinced that it’s the best way for anyone to learn, especially children. Since they get the same lessons over and over again anyway, they might as well pick it up in layers here and there, with lots of fun engagement to get them through. Which is to say that I approve of the “fleeeeeeeeeeee” activity.

  28. Preaching to the choir. One lesson on Jacob talked about his being an example of honesty. Really? The guy who dressed in skins to fool his blind old man of a father into giving him his brother’s blessing?

  29. Thanks for this, Rebecca J. I was recently called as the primary president, and my goals are, in order:1) let the kids know I love them, Jesus loves them, and they can come to me with concerns; 2) help them have a positive experience at and with church, or at least help them not dread it; 3) help them learn something.

    The primary manuals definitely still err on the side of assuming kids can sit, listen, and comprehend, and like the adult manuals, leave out some of the good stuff. (I’m trying to figure out how to work Jael into a sharing time.) My most enjoyable and memorable lessons growing up involved activities, crafts, games, and occasional bribery, so I eschew a lot of the “have the kids repeat back to you, ‘Joseph Smith was a prophet’ prompts”. Half the time the kids won’t even come away with whatever lesson you intended, but if you can help them enjoy church and encourage kindness, sharing, and being helpful to those around them, I hope they’ll be able to later learn to read and study these tougher issues on their own. Anytime you want to come teach in my ward, Rebecca J, I’ll take you.

  30. Request for a future BCC post:

    Teaching Primary, Old Testament-Style

  31. it's a series of tubes says:

    RSM, your three goals are right on point. I try to take the same approach with my Valiant 10 class.

  32. I wrote the Church Curriculum office about the Isaac and Rebekah lesson. As a first time primary teacher who loves the Old Testament, I hate how the church curriculum committee evangelizes these classic stories. But in the Isaac and Rebekah lesson, it’s not just evangelizing, its making something up that is not there at all.

  33. Cleophas says:

    I’m waiting for the OT lesson that points out that Joseph (of Egypt) married outside the covenant (a Canaanite), and his lineage turned out okay. Similarly, Moses married an Ethiopian (first prophet to have an interracial marriage?) without divine disapproval.

  34. Teaching Primary, OT-style: If it involves she-bears, my 11-yo is totally on board. That’s the only scripture reference he has memorized.

  35. I taught the Valiant boys in my ward for a couple of years, and the Old Testament manual was rough. Some of the lesson objectives (what the kids are supposed to learn) are a HUGE stretch from the actual scriptures. In the Jacob and Esau lesson they suggest a “game” in which you list behaviors and the kids decide if it is an Esau behavior (unrighteous) or a Jacob behavior (righteous). But when the behavior was “Cheating on a test” the boys all said Jacob, because of course he would.

    I feel like that entire year can be summed up by a 10 year old asking, “Wait, so was Samson a good guy or a bad guy?” And me just going: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  36. Kristine N says:

    Ok, total threadjack. Do we really believe that Lot’s daughters got him drunk to have sex with him? Or do we maybe think Lot got drunk, was lonely with the wife having been turned into a pile of salt, and hey look, the only women around are his daughters…

    That story has always sounded an awful lot like an ancient version of, “she was asking for it” to me.

    /threadjack

  37. Kristine N – ditto Noah and his daughters. I was on my mission the first time I read the OT and my reaction was WTF??

  38. Thank you so much for this post! Funny and helpful. Valiant 9 primary teacher here (with husband). We could see our class—and us—in this post.

  39. Bro. Jones says:

    To contribute more than my earlier post: when I was teaching OT to 10-year-olds, I saw it as my objective to ensure that kids came away knowing the Bible stories. Not necessarily interpreting, understanding, or coming to a “Mormon” conclusion about them–just having a familiarity with the people and events of the OT so that they could build on it later. At times I would say, “Hey kids, let’s talk about the murderous/creepy part that the lesson didn’t cover!” We’d talk about all the things that we felt in common with the people of the OT (putting family first, being faithful even when things don’t make sense) and all the things where we were different (violence or dishonesty as positive choices; accepting random terror as part of life). I feel like it was a valid lesson and the kids seemed to like it. We did a lot of role-play of “skits” that I wrote based on scriptural accounts, and it gave us a chance to say “How do you think [this person] felt when faced with that choice?” We did some gender-swapping and occasional appearance by deity, and they really enjoyed it.

  40. Michael H. says:

    Teaching the OT Primary-style probably–dangit–needs to happen in adult gospel doctrine class, too. Most LDS adults nowadays have little to no familiarity with the bible. We should just act out basic, basic, basic bible stories. >Sigh<

  41. Another Valiant 9 teacher here. And I get it! I actually really enjoy talking about the stories with the kids, and listening to them trying to figure out what’s going on (when our teacher council person told us to anticipate our class’s questions, it was a dead giveaway that he’d never spent time with fourth graders): “Did Adam and Eve eat meat, or were they vegetarians? Because it says here they were living in peace with the animals, and if they were doing that, eating them wouldn’t be very nice.” Which led to, “If Adam and Eve were immortal and didn’t die, then the animals probably didn’t die either, so they couldn’t be eaten.” Which led to, “Well, if Adam and Eve were immortal did they have to eat at all?” Which led to, “Well, if they didn’t have to eat, then why did they eat the FRUIT?” Okay, so sometimes stories in the Old Testament don’t bear close scrutiny. But I loved that the kids were were thinking about it and wrestling with it, in their nine-year-old way with their nine-year-old logic.

    FWIW, I’m not a sit-quietly-in-your-chair kind of teacher either. In another OT go-around, I put myself at one end of the room, them at the other end with a slingshot and a bag of marshmallows, and they each tried to hit me between the eyes, so that they could see what David was up against. I’ve never forgotten it, and neither have they, as evidenced by a retelling in a sacrament meeting talk a couple of weeks ago by a thirteen-year-old deacon: “We all missed. It’s a lot harder than you’d think.”

    So if the new manuals are along the lines of Preach My Gospel, when do the kids learn the scripture stories?

  42. Cate, I love the marshmallow version of David & Goliath!

  43. Kristine says:

    Cynthia–that’s brilliant. Dreaming up plagues right now…

  44. Marivene – I hope you use it! It’s quite an experience!

  45. I just checked to see when we teach David and Goliath. I am so stealing this idea!! (Lesson 28 btw). I love our class of awesome 10,11 and 12 year olds, but HATE the manual. Glad it’s not just me.

  46. I personally think the OT stories are perfect for older primary children as they are all about the characters’ relationship to God/authority, and this is a time when many children are beginning to separate their identities a bit more from parents and other authority figures in their lives. My experience with my own children has been that they thoroughly enjoyed these stories at this time in their lives. I really like Bro. Jones’ comment above about not worrying so much about gaining a thorough understanding or making a judgment about the stories, but just letting the children enjoy them. If I could teach Primary the way I really wanted to (which is only hypothetical since I am not a Primary teacher), I would center the entire lesson around the experience of *hearing* the story–make the story-sharing portion of the lesson the highlight, then follow it up with some kind of artistic activity related to the story or acting-out the story or something else imaginative to get the children engaged. We could have some short discussion of what the children thought or gained from the story, but not the endless questions and answer format that is there currently. I personally would not be thrilled with the “Come Follow Me” approach to Primary lessons that I understand is likely to be adopted. I think that is more appropriate for older ages–once again, I’d rather see more of an effort to engage the children with the scriptures in creative ways so that the stories and teachings can seep deep inside them. I don’t think that more “talk”, whether from teachers or students, is the right way to do this.

  47. Adding to my previous comment… I have a daughter who is a very visual learner and also has ADHD. She needs hands-on, colorful, engaging lessons, not more talk.