Sunday, December 11, 2011

Making a Mistake in Primary

I've been asked to lead music in Primary again (a promotion/transfer from pianist) in my Philly ward, and I got the kids ready to perform two songs next Sunday - something from the Church's children's magazine a couple of years ago, and "He Sent His Son" (linked below as a song - it's not a video).

It was a lot to ask of the kids to memorize two songs in one day, but I thought them up to it.  The little kids, or junior primary, did really well.  The Spirit was strong, especially at the climax of the latter song: "How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death?  He sent His Son to die for us, and rise with living breath."  Powerful words and spirit, especially as I have them crescendo towards the end of the phrase.

But the older kids, and the many boys it comprises, struggled.  I told them we would keep repeating a phrase until I saw everyone's mouths moving.  I had one boy sit up and after a couple of times with no mouth moving, I asked him to leave the room.  I instantly felt something change.

Then another boy would not stand up and rather slouched on the floor and wouldn't budge.  I didn't have time for dissenters, especially those who were so powerfully impacting others' ability to learn.  So I asked him to leave the room as well.

The Spirit was not strong, even during "He Sent His Son" for senior primary.  When I asked the kids if they were feeling it, none of them gave a ready answer.  As I reflected on this, I realized the problem had been me.  In not dealing more kindly with my quiet dissenters, and allowing them to learn in a way that was not distracting from the other kids, I had chased the Spirit out of the room.  I needed to apologize.

The two boys came in near the end of Primary.  I grabbed them after the closing prayer and before they fled, and told them I had been wrong, that I was very sorry, and would they please forgive me.  I was shocked to hear one little boy's response "I'm sorry.  I was tired."  After which he promptly hugged me.  Pretty big for a nine-year-old.  I got hugs from both of them - I'm so glad for the experience - it taught me a how humility works and what it means to learn from mistakes and gently allow others to make them, too.


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