Can you influence primary children in your ward? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” There are resources that can help you understand how children can be involved in their family history.
Start with Photos and Stories
The first thing children can do is to look at photographs of ancestors either in their homes or on their Family Tree at FamilySearch.org. They can learn the names of these ancestors and learn how they are related. The next thing they can do is to listen to stories about their ancestors. Stories can capture the hearts and minds of each of us— including young children—which is the first step in turning “the hearts of the children . . . to their fathers” (D&C 2:2). Because of the new features on FamilySearch.org, stories and photos can both intrigue children and inspire them to want to know more—
Follow Up with the Fan Chart
You can help children view themselves and their family on the FamilySearch Family Tree by introducing them to their fan chart. This chart not only introduces people to their direct-line ancestors, but it is also a fun way to see what is missing on their charts and determine what the family can do next to fill in the blanks. As you are looking at the chart with children, that may be a good time to explain what temple work has been done and what is needed to be completed.
Involve Them in Temple Work
As children grow older, they can participate in the process of finding temple work to be done. Read the inspiring story of James H. from Utah in the May 2013 Friend magazine for an example. A video called ““The Hearts of the Children” was made of James’s story, which can help demonstrate what children can do in family history work.
A live interview with James and his mother during the April 2013 Primary Leadership Training that might give you some clues as to how powerful this work is with children and families. James’s mother makes an important point—we underestimate what children can do: “Children can do and think and feel much more than what we give them credit for,” she says.
Try an Activity
Here’s an activity you can share with the Primary in your ward. Have a weekly report from a child (or children) in the ward who have found a picture at FamilySearch.org/Photos. Have them bring a copy that can be displayed on a wall in the Primary room. Invite the child or children to tell a story about the person in their picture.
Use Church Resources
If articles in the Friend are the resource you are looking for, try reviewing some of the following:
- · January 2013—“Evelyn’s Temple Testimony”;
- · April 2013—“Hannah Goes to the Temple”;
- · July 2013—“Why is family history work so important? By Elder Bednar, The Story Rug, and Family Story Swap.
And you can encourage your ward members to look forward to a monthly family history activity that will be included in each issue of the Friend for 2014.