Monday, March 19, 2012

Primary

On Sunday I was released as Primary president. As I think is common, my feelings included both relief and emptiness. For more than six years, I came to church lugging a tote bag that could contain pretty much anything--a sailor hat, potting soil, paper bag puppets, jars of bleach, a life vest, a toy sword, a spatula. Virtually any household object has potential to eventually be pressed into service as a Primary object lesson.


For three years, I left sacrament meeting when the closing hymn began so I could rush to the Primary room to arrange chairs (two sets of five rows, each with two rows of little chairs and three rows of big ones) and set out supplies. For almost 200 Sundays, I stationed myself at the Primary room door to greet each child as they entered, perhaps providing the suggestion “Would you like to take a potty break before you come in?” or peeling a hesitant child from his parents.

Truth be told, on some Sundays I entered the Primary room already feeling smothered and flustered from wrestling my own children through sacrament meeting. My skirt and slip hopelessly askew, my Sunday attempt at an up-do ruined. Feeling that really, I’d had enough of children for one day as a stream of them jostled through the door. Teachers missing, again. Sometimes as I walked to the front of the room to begin the meeting, I had to summon a facade of cheerfulness from the place in my heart where I keep a Texas high school cheerleader. It’s a small place.


When I reached the front of the room, I would turn and look at the children. I would always say, “Welcome to Primary. I’m so glad you are here.” And no matter how much I had to grit my teeth to summon that first Primary-flavor cheerfulness, by the end, I truly meant it. Every time. I was glad to see each of them. Even the squirrely ones who might make a run for it before the day is out. There is nowhere better a child could be on any given Sunday. Because I believe in Primary with all my heart.


In Primary, we teach nothing but the good stuff. Be kind. Keep the commandments. Repent when you make a mistake. Be a missionary now. Choose the right. Try to be like Jesus. If it’s not pure doctrine, undefiled, it doesn’t make the cut into the Primary curriculum. No pointless debates about the Millennium or First versus Second Resurrection take place here. Sometimes the infallibility of prophets may be implied a smidge too much. Perhaps we lean too much toward Iron Rod obedience more than Liahona style. But just a smidge. Because nothing can get too deep or too serious when at any moment a Sunbeam might tumble off her chair, or a Valiant 9 might get bored and crack a joke to his neighbor, or a CTR 5 might say, “The Holy Ghost is spooooky.”


Really, Primary is all about love. The leaders love the children. God loves the children. The leaders love the gospel. And we want the children to love it too. We want them to love being in Primary, love the feelings that come when we meet together to discuss the gospel. I hope I've accomplished some of that in my last six years in Primary.

6 comments:

  1. Awwww. That is the best summary of Primary that I've ever heard. I'm glad you were in, and I'm glad you're out. Some other auxillary is already planning their move to claim you!

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  2. Congratulations and my condolences. Simply and beautifully put. I miss it...but not too much...

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  3. I loved this so much I actually forwarded the link to our Primary president.

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  4. I love this, and I LOVE being in Primary. I hope they never release me. It is a happy place! I'm going to share this with the rest of our presidency (I'm 1st counselor; I love being No. 2 and not in charge.)

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  5. I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing these thoughts on your blog.

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  6. Were you really in for 6 years! Wow. When my time comes to be released I think I will just post a link to this:) Perfectly stated my friend! I love it!

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