Children are 'our hope for good in the world'

Love, protect children

Teach them truth- Help them use agency

When children are familiar with truth, they can face opposing voices with confidence, said Michaelene P. Grassli, outgoing Primary general president.

Sister Grassli, who was released at the beginning of the Saturday morning session after serving as Primary president since April 1988, spoke in the opening session. She directed her remarks to the Church's "Focus on Children," announced by the First Presidency in August 1993. Through this focus, she explained, the First Presidency has "asked us to love and protect our children as never before, to teach them better than we have done in the past, to prepare them more thoroughly to conquer Satan's power in their lives and to receive of the Lord's eternal peace and glory.

"We care what happens to our children," Pres. Grassli affirmed. "They are precious to our Heavenly Father, and they are our hope for bringing about good in the world.

"Children need to be able to discern truth from error for themselves and have the courage to act on what they know," she remarked.

She spoke of two ways to help children love truth and act upon it. "First, we teach them of Jesus Christ and the simple truths of the gospel. To do that we need to be with them so we can verbalize our beliefs to them, and they can watch us as we apply principles in our lives. Work time, play time, planned lessons, the teaching moments that just happen - anytime is the time! Family home evening, family prayer and times alone with each child will help plant truth in the hearts of our children.

"Our children need to know that if we read the scriptures and the words of the prophets and heed the whisperings of the Spirit, we are learning from the source of all truth."

She exhorted: "Parents, use the support the Church offers you, including taking your children to Primary. Primary leaders and teachers can provide loving, supporting arms and hearts and unforgettable gospel lessons and activities for your children. They can help you immerse your children in truth.

"Second," Sister Grassli continued, "we can help children learn to discern truth from error and choose righteously."

She spoke of a family that does role-playing to become familiar with situations and how to respond. "These children are learning to discern truth from error and to be independent in using their agency wisely."

In closing, with Tabernacle organist Bonnie L. Goodliffe playing soft accompaniment, Sister Grassli quoted from the Primary song, "I Feel My Savior's Love":

I feel my Savior's love and know that he will bless me.

I offer him my heart, my shepherd he will be.

He knows I will follow him, give all my life to him.

I feel my Savior's love, the love he freely gives me.' (Children's Songbook, p. 74.)

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