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Baptism Talk

A few weeks ago we were the host ward for our stake baptisms. I gave the “baptism” talk that afternoon and I thought I would share it below: I think sometimes it helps to read what others are writing and saying, especially if you are writing your own baptism talk! I wrote mine with our Primary friends in mind, as well as their invited guests and family.

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My young friends in the gospel. I am so grateful to be here on such an important day. A special spirit is always present at these moments when sacred ordinances are taking place.

Today is the first important covenant of your life—your baptism.

I believe you are well prepared for your baptism. I think you know what to expect—your parents or Primary leaders and teachers or maybe even the missionaries have spent time teaching you all about this ordinance. Soon you’ll walk across the hall to the room where you’ll be baptized by immersion by a member of our church who has the priesthood. There will be two witnesses. I think you already know that the special promises of the baptismal prayer and the confirmation that follows will bless you, protect you, and strengthen you as you live righteously. Being baptized today is the beginning of what I hope will be a lifelong journey of faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

There are blessings that come to all who join a community of faith—where the pure in heart strive to grow closer to Christ.

One of our leaders, Elder Charles Didier explained it this way: At church we develop caring relationships with others—relationships that can help sustain us during times of crisis. As we serve in callings, participate in sacred ordinances, and sacrifice, we feel needed and of worth, and we grow in charity. And as we gain knowledge about sacred things essential for our salvation, we learn what and how to worship, and we are able to have hope in the Resurrection and in the Atonement.

Your baptism today signals that you are choosing to join the church. The blessing of joining this community of faith is something we all share, no matter how young or old, as we become brothers and sisters in the gospel.

Is it weird to think of someone like me as your sister? Maybe it seems like I am way too old! But at church, we call each other Sister Davis or Brother Jones or Sister Hall. It is one of my favorite Mormon traditions! When I am in Primary, the kids don’t call me Coach Davis, or Mrs. Davis, or Professor Davis! They call me Sister Davis. It reminds me that we are a kind of family, and that we are all children of Heavenly Father. It reminds me that we are like brothers and sisters, helping each other out on the journey of life.

Many of you have been going to church all of your life. But your baptism today shows you are making a formal promise, or covenant, that you want to be part of the family too! It means you are willing to accept the blessing and the responsibilities of being part of this family. There is no better scripture to describe these joyful responsibilities than in Mosiah, chapter 18, starting on verses 8. After Alma baptizes a group of believers, he explains that:

[if] ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, [ye should be]… willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

“Yea, and… willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things….

Alma explains that besides the blessings you receive from baptism, you also accept some responsibility to help the saints around you, comfort each other, and to stand as a witness.

As a full member of the church, it also means that I have those responsibilities to you. I think that means I should always show love and support to you. I will try to help you when things seem difficult or hard. It also I have things to learn from you, because you are now my brothers and my sisters. I will be paying attention when you share your testimony in sacrament meeting. I think you have important things to share! I will listen when you tell me you are feeling the Spirit. I will do whatever I can to help you learn more about Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation. That’s what brothers and sisters do! I look forward with joy to carrying out my responsibilities toward you.

I know that as you continue faithful as part of the great worldwide community of Saints, you will be able to see many of these responsibilities change you for the better. Others will know you’re a believer because of the way you show love. We read about this in the Bible, John 13:35: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).

It won’t be very long before showing love for your brothers and sisters in Christ will extend to everyone you meet. Because isn’t everyone you meet a child of God, even if we don’t call them Brother or Sister? You can share your testimony of Christ simply by behaving with love, courtesy, and respect to all those who surround you. You can serve, support, and comfort all those you meet during a lifetime of striving to become more Christlike.

The beginning of this journey to be like Him will start with your baptism in just a few minutes. I am so happy you will be joining our community of faith today. It is my testimony that the covenants, priesthood, and service you take part in here in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can bring you great peace and happiness. Living a faithful life will help you become the person Heavenly Father wants you to become. He is looking forward to welcoming all of His children back home again some day.

I say these things…

Graduating Primary Gift

Gift for graduates

Graduating from Primary is a rite of passage! It might seem over-dramatic, but I really believe it’s a clear marking point between childhood and adolescence. So we throw a mini celebration every time a member of our Valiant 11 Class leaves us! We invite their parents and family to join in. In our ward we have the really cool tradition that the whole Deacon class comes in on the first Sunday that a boy is 12 and literally picks him up and carries him out the door to Young Men’s. (There’s a blurry snapshot of this in action below!) It is so cute and such a cool metaphor for the power of brotherhood that they are joining. I literally tear up every time this happens!

When the girls graduate, the Young Women also come in to collect their new Beehive! In our ward they bring Beehive stickers that they put all over her face and arms and then walk her out of Primary together. It is equally fun and adorable! This “kidnapping” is the most fun thing that happens at their Primary graduation.

Deacons

But we also sing to the graduate and give them a few treats! If they have completed the Faith in God program, the bishop comes to award them their signed booklet. Page 19 of the Faith in God booklet says “Parents and leaders should help the children understand that the joy of living the gospel is the most important reward.” But I just can’t help myself: we also give them a small gift. In part it is a reward for their sustained effort in the Faith in God program, but I also think a visible reward and celebration helps encourage the other Primary children to make progress with their goals.

In the past we’ve given out framed copies of their favorite scripture verses, but this year I’ve decided to print and frame a Mormon Ad to give if they complete their Faith in God. There are so many great ones to choose from. It does take some work to filter through them online, so I’ve pulled my top favorites below. I resized them to be 8×10 because it’s an easier size to find a frame! I also resized them to 5×7 because they would be a little less expensive to print and frame.

Stay True two per page copy

Find the original Stay True Mormon Ad here.

Be thou Strong 5x7 copyI think this is my all time favorite piece of church art ever. I just love it! We have it hanging in our Primary room right now. It was originally a Bright Idea in the Friend, rather than a Mormon Ad. I think it’s a great fit for girls graduating into Young Women.

 

Seek the Living Water 2per copy

Click here for the original Seek the Living Water Mormon Ad.

Think Big 5x7 copy

This Think Big Mormon Ad is perfect for 12-year olds who are getting out of that little Primary pond, don’t you think? I love this one too.

Regardless of whether they’ve completed Faith in God, each child gets a bag with treats from me to mark this big transition! We work hard to avoid food rewards during the rest of the year, so every once in a while I think it is fun to share candy. It also makes it easier when one of the kids has not earned their Faith in God frame. No one leaves Primary empty handed.

Printable Thank You notes

Five Printable Thank You notesI’ve spent the week putting together five different Thank You notes, in various shapes and sizes. I pulled them all together into one post so they’ll be easy access. Check them out below!

First up is the super Simple Thank You.

Simple Thank You note copy

Printable Thankasaurus Rex card copyNext up is the Thankasaurus Rex. Love this one. So great for little boys.

Printable Mandala Thank You card to print

The mandala card seems better fit for someone a little bit older.

Printable Thank You Cootie catcher full pageNext is a Cootie Catcher. I think it’s best printed in full color, but printing it in black and white would work fine too.

Printable Thank You form

Finally, the Printable Thank You Form. Obviously it would work best for kids who can write! Kind of silly and fun.

Cootie Catcher Thank You printable

Printable Thank you Cootie Catcher

Ever since I created a Cootie Catcher for Conference, I keep returning to this format! It’s so cute.

It was easy to convert into a “Thank You” cootie catcher. It’s meant to be printed in full color. Regular weight paper works best because you’ll need to have several folds. There are instructions on the bottom of the page.

Printable Thank You Cootie catcher full pageYou could fill in each “thank you” in the center beforehand, but I imagine it would be very sweet to open this cootie catcher together. The person who wants to thank can ask their friend to choose a number, then an object, and then verbally thank their friend right there on the spot! The eight “thank you’s” in the center are very general and probably apply to any friend:

Thanks to you, I have learned that…

Your support has meant the world to me! Thank you for…

You are so generous! Thank you for…

Thank you so much! I’ll never forget how I felt when you…

I’m so grateful for our friendship. Thank you so much for…

Thank you! I’ll never forget how you…

Where do I begin? I can’t thank you enough for…

Thank you so much for…

Mandala Thank You card

Printable Mandala Thank You card to print

The next Thank You card has a cool mandala design coupled with the definition of gratitude. For some reason this seems like a better fit for kids who are a bit older. I think perhaps they would enjoy the more intricate and abstract coloring.

This one is bigger, designed to be printed on a full page and folded in half. Card stock would be ideal.

Thankasaurus Rex printable card

Printable Thankasaurus Rex card copy

Today continues a week of easy-to-print Thank You cards here at The Mormon Home. Feeling super grateful at the end of the school year for all the help we had to get to this point!

This one is the Thankasaurus Rex card, perfect for little ones from preschool through 2nd grade. My little Jonah will love coloring this one for his special preschool teachers.

This would work best printed on white card stock. It’s designed two per page, meant to be cut in half and folded.

Simple Thank You Note

Simple Thank You note copy

The end of the school year is coming quickly! My May calendar is filled with recitals, finals, and projects. I have a high school senior (!?!) so I have all the feels–mostly gratitude that one of my children has made it to adulthood! It is more obvious than ever how many people we, as a family, have to thank for making it through another school year. So this week I am posting a simple Thank You card printable every day as we gear up to thank our teachers and friends who have helped us along the way.

I know it’s easy enough to buy your own at Target or the Dollar Store. These cards are meant to be easy to color in so your kids can add a personal touch. A bit more meaningful, but also, importantly, I think when the children participate they are forced to think about others. Great for Family Home Evening or a Sunday afternoon activity, too.

Probably best for the elementary age set, but I have a pretty mandala coming up that would be perfect for middle school girls (ha!).

These work best printed on card stock. There are two per page, mean to but cut in half and folded.

The First Vision Fill-in-the-Blank Storyboard

First Vision story board

I’m going to be teaching the First Vision in sharing time on Sunday. I’ll be doing something different for my Junior Primary, but for Senior Primary I am using this storyboard from The Friend (you can find the original online in the March 2008 Friend).

The twist is that I erased all the words that tell the story. I am planning on having my Senior Primary do their best to fill in the blank boxes and circles on their own, using the scriptures in the Joseph Smith History as a guide. After they’ve tried to fill in the blanks on their own with this one page worksheet, we’ll work on it together. I’ll also have the original available in case we get stuck.

You can print your storyboard worksheets below. They are black and white so you can make copies for the kids. Cool for Family Home Evening, too.