[Before your lesson], ask the help of the teachers and music leaders for a Sharing Time on reverence. Remind them to avoid talking to each other or passing out items in the Primary room.
[On the day of your lesson, have] chairs set up, teachers sitting in their places, and prelude music playing before the children come in (it also helps if the pianist and chorister can be close enough physically that their communication encourages reverence). Have the music leader lead the children already seated in humming the prelude music until enough are seated that they can sing one or two songs before the opening prayer. Have the person conducting be up front with a welcoming smile and other leaders greeting quietly at the door. Invite the children to put all objects under their chairs.
As Sharing Time begins, read “Reverence” by Elder L. Tom Perry (Friend, Sept. 1996, IFC) [quoted below].
Several years ago, I [Elder Perry] had the opportunity of traveling with the President of the Church to attend a series of area conferences. I will never forget the contrast between two conferences that were held just a few days apart.
The first area conference was held in a large arena, and as we sat on the stand, we noticed continuous movement by the people. We saw individuals throughout the arena leaning over and whispering to family members and friends seated next to them. Giving the members the benefit of the doubt, we thought that maybe the large building helped cause the lack of reverence.
A few days later, we were in another country attending another area conference in an arena much like the first. When we entered the building, however, an immediate hush came over the congregation. As we sat through the two-hour general session, there was very little movement among the people. Everyone listened intently. Great attention and respect was shown all the speakers, and when the prophet spoke, you could hear a pin drop.
After the meeting was over, I asked the priesthood leaders about what they had done to prepare the people for the conference. They told me their preparation had been simple. They had asked priesthood holders to explain to the members of their families, and also the families they home taught, that at an area conference they would have the privilege of hearing the words of the prophet and the Apostles. The priesthood leaders explained that the reverence their people felt for God and His servants was the basis for their reverent behavior at the conference.
Reverence is an attitude toward Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. It is a private feeling. It is something we feel inside our hearts no matter what is going on around us.
Make a point of his conclusion: “Reverence is an attitude toward Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. It is a private feeling. It is something we feel inside our hearts no matter what is going on around us.”
Sing “Reverence Is Love” (CS, p. 31—for older children) or another familiar song about reverence, and discuss what reverence is.
Ask the children to close their eyes and think of a time they have felt a reverent spirit (e.g., in church [if you have recently had a temple dedication or open house in your area or someone sealed to his/her parents, focus on that blessing], while viewing God’s creations, while reading the scriptures, during family prayer, while listening to beautiful music).
Invite children to tell where they were when they felt a reverent spirit. You might want to share a story about being reverent, such as “William Didn’t Know” (Friend, Nov. 1996, p. 40) or “Patty’s Story” (Primary 2 manual, Lesson 21, pp. 111–112).
Explain that we want our Primary to be a reverent place so that we can feel the Spirit of the Lord. Ask: “What can we do to be more reverent in Primary?”
For younger children, you may want to use the cutouts from Primary 2 manual, Lesson 21, p. 114, as you ask, “What can we do with our arms? with our feet? with our mouths? with our voices? with our language?”
For older children, ask a respected member of the ward/branch with a good reading voice to read the account in 3 Ne. 17:11–25 of the Savior with the Nephite children. (Display the center spread in the Sept. 1996 Friend.)
Bear your witness that we, too, can feel the Spirit of the Lord when we are reverent and humble. It will bless our Primary, and it will bless our individual lives.
Sing “He Sent His Son” (CS, pp. 34–35) or “I Want to Be Reverent” (CS, p. 28).