Monday, October 26, 2009

Times are a Changin': Wet Eyes for the Primary Program?

I've never been shy to admit this: I don't really enjoy children singing. In organized groups, I mean. Of course, I adore it when my own child makes up songs and sings loudly and off-tune. My own offspring is the exception. I don't particularly want to attend a school choir concert, I pass over kid's CDs that feature actual children singing, and I've never been a big fan of the end of the year Primary program at church. I love children and I will attend their concerts and smile during their time to shine, but my eyes will probably stray to the clock a few times.

So, I was a bit shocked yesterday when I found my eyes watering up a bit during the first song of our ward's annual Primary program at church. I thought, "What's happening to me?" My kids are too young to participate. As I read the words in the program, I realized that I'm becoming a bit of a softy. People have always told me that I'd get over this issue with kids singing as my kids grew. But I never believed them. Now I might have to eat my words.

The kids still sang off tune. The smallest ones still mumbled the words and then practically shouted the ones they knew. The older kids still looked like someone was torturing them. But they were singing the sweetest songs about the family and, as I read the words in the program, I was so touched. I loved that these children attended church each Sunday for a year and focused on their eternal families. The words to the songs were so simple and lovely. I instantly wanted to go home and download them so I could learn them along with Ella (they are all new to me).

Here are some of the songs that melted my frosty  heart:

Matthew Neeley, “The Family Is of God,” Friend, Oct 2008, 28–29

1. Our Father has a family. It’s me!
It’s you, all others too: we are His children.
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth,
To live and learn here in fam’lies.

2. A father’s place is to preside, provide,
To love and teach the gospel to his children.
A father leads in fam’ly prayer to share
Their love for Father in Heaven.

3. A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.
She teaches children to obey, to pray,
To love and serve in the fam’ly.

4. I’ll love and serve my family and be
A good example to each fam’ly member.
And when I am a mom or dad, so glad,
I’ll help my fam’ly remember:

God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God.

Seek the Lord Early,” Children’s Songbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 108

I’ll seek the Lord early while in my youth,
And he will help me to know the truth.
I’ll search the scriptures and find him there,
Then go to our Father in fervent prayer.
I’ll seek the Lord early, and I’ll obey
His living prophets in all they say.
I’ll keep his commandments; his love will abound.
I will seek the Lord early, and he will be found.

Words and music: Joanne Bushman Doxey, b. 1932

 “I’ll Walk with You,” Children’s Songbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 140–41
If you don’t walk as most people do,
Some people walk away from you,
But I won’t! I won’t!
If you don’t talk as most people do,
Some people talk and laugh at you,
But I won’t! I won’t!
I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you.
That’s how I’ll show my love for you.
Jesus walked away from none.
He gave his love to ev’ryone.
So I will! I will!
Jesus blessed all he could see,
Then turned and said, “Come, follow me.”
And I will! I will!
I will! I will!
I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you.
That’s how I’ll show my love for you.

Words: Carol Lynn Pearson, b. 1939. © 1987 IRI
Music: Reid N. Nibley, b. 1923. © 1987 IRI

If you're interested in listening to audio versions of - children ;0) - singing these songs, you can find them at


Alicia said...

In our ward (married students) there really isn't a primary, just nursery, but our bishop has always had them do a primary program anyway. In the past we've just been asked to come up with David and talk about how we're teaching him and then sing songs with all the families, but this year they asked the kids to actually prepare 3-5 minute talks. I was like, are you kidding me? He's 2! Well it ended up being so great. Most of the kids rattled off their talks with their parents help, and David actaully got a few grunted words out. He's so self conscious. But it was so sweet to see him up there! Next year he'll actually be in the primary, so here goes!

Emily said...

You are SO asking to be called as Primary chorister when you make a post like this! :)

ps. I saw the Primary program at a ward in Utah and got all teary-eyed too. So you're in good company!