Have you just been called as the Primary President in your LDS congregation? Are you looking for advice on how to serve your children most effectively?
We went right to the source and asked women who have served in Primary what they would want a newly called Primary President to know. Here are the very best of their answers.
Be Guided by the Spirit, Not Pinterest
Our most liked comment was about being directed by the spirit and not trying to be Pinterest-perfect.
“Let the spirit guide you and not Pinterest!!!” says Meghan Mitchell. “Pinterest and Facebook and other websites are great for getting ideas for your primary, but don’t let it get in the way of spirit revealing to you what your primary needs.”
Julie Harward agreed: “Everyone wants to go the short cut way, copying others ideas…get on your knees first and go forward with the Spirit guiding you to do the right thing for your primary!”
Amy Parker also added the importance of sticking to the promptings you’ve recieved: “When I allowed myself to be swayed by the opinions of others, decisions were made that were not healthy for my Primary or conducive to the vision I had for it. Follow your promptings, trust them and defend them.”
Your Primary Presidency
Many readers shared thoughts about utilizing your Primary presidency while recognizing the limitations you may face. Everyone suggested using the people you have to the fullest extent and not trying to do everything yourself. However, they noted Primary callings often change the most.
Karlene Hall said, “It took me a while to realize that because of organizational changes in the ward being ongoing that we would never be completely staffed for long periods of time. Once you realize this and don’t let it derail you, it helps so you don’t get discouraged. Also, don’t be afraid to think outside the box when you pray for who to call. Some of my very best teachers and scout leaders were either less active or not even members. That not only changed their lives, but the children’s also.”
“I always told my ward primary presidents that if they counted themselves successful only when their primary was fully staffed they would always be frustrated,” Christine Christensen added. “There is usually alot of turnover in those callings, so you just have to realize that and not let it get you too stressed out!”
According to our readers, having a list of reliable back-ups and substitutes is a great idea for a Primary always in flux.
Dress to Move Around
Betty Butler had some practical advice for your Sunday dress: “Always wear a long jumper so you are modest no matter sitting in chair, on the stage, crawling under nursery table, on the grass at the park, climbing a ladder, etc.”
Involve the Bishopric
Susan Daniels reminded us it is imporant to involve the ward council, espcially, the bishopric: “Encourage your bishopric advisor to meet with your presidency and attend primary regularly (at the beginning of primary, during sharing time etc.). He will see first hand what the needs are and will find it easier to advocate for your during bishopric meetings, when you need callings filled etc.”
Ben Anderson, who served in a bishopric and oversaw a Primary, shared this advice from a priesthood perspective: “First off, you got to love those you serve. The Savior loves children and took special time with them and taught them in a way they could understand. Second, use your counselors. They are a great resource that can give great perspective as you sit in council and counsel together. Third, make sure you follow the handbook and follow is. We have been given that resource for a reason and we should follow it. Last, know that you are the largest auxiliary in the Ward and there will be change. The bishopric doesn’t hate you or the other auxiliaries don’t hate you when people are called from your organization. Be patient and recommend the people you feel would be an asset to the primary.”
For the Benefit of Children
Christine Christensen said, “Having served as both ward and stake primary president some the best advice I was given was from the General Primary Presidency when they used to do the trainings at Conference time. One commented, in answer to a question, ‘Everything we do in Primary is for the benefit of the children, not the convenience of the adults.’ I used that so many times when making decisions – I would ask, ‘Will this bless the children and help them feel Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ’s love?’ If the answer was that it was just to make our life easier and not to bless them then we knew not to proceed.”
Love the Children & Appreciate Their Wonder
All of our readers agreed: more than anything else, the most important way to serve is with love! Children have tender hearts and special needs. By loving them, you can help them gain their footing in the gospel. Ideas our readers had included learning all of your children by name, trying to remember one interest of each child, going to school productions or events outside of church, and saying hello outside of the Primary setting.
Our readers also bore powerful testimony of the wonder children have for the gospel and their simple faith. Remember there is something special about children and that you can learn from them as well.
Want to read more? Check out the original social media thread here.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.