(by Marianne Holman)
Primary children are the rising generation and the hope for the future, Sister Cheryl C. Lant, Primary general president said during the auxiliary training meetings held in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square on Wednesday March 31 and April 1. "We need to help them and teach them how to build a firm foundation of faith and testimony," she said.
During the training meeting, which was held in conjunction with the 180th Annual General Conference of the Church, the Primary general presidency — Sister Lant, president; Sister Margaret S. Lifferth, first counselor; and Sister Vicki F. Matsumori, second counselor — joined with other members of the Primary general board to teach how to be more effective in Primary meetings and responsibilities.
During the trainings, speakers focused on four leadership principles that help in Primary responsibilities.
1. Prepare spiritually. "When we live consistently to qualify for the Spirit, the Lord makes up the rest," Sister Lant said. By praying, reading scriptures, going to the temple, pondering, fasting and living in a way that invites the Spirit, the Spirit is accessible, Sister Lant said.
2. Counsel with councils. "The council setting is where the work of the kingdom can be done," Sister Lant said. "Your voice is important to be heard. Your presence and voice is important in councils of God."
Leaders have experience, wisdom, and the responsibility to discuss the needs of the children, councils are an opportunity to represent the children in the Primary, and to discuss any needs.
3. Minister. Looking to the Savior's example in the scriptures of ministering, Sister Lant spoke of the ways leaders can do the same. By teaching, reaching out, blessing, praying for, loving, and knowing the hearts of the children, teachers can emulate the Savior in their responsibilities.
"It can be a simple thing — it can be a smile, a listening ear, or through teaching them," she said. "The Spirit will help you know in each individual situation how you should minister."
4. Teach with the Spirit. "You are teaching with the Spirit as you open the scriptures with them," she said. "Let them have their own scriptures in hand. Use them — as you do, they will bring them." As teachers learn what to teach and how to teach using the Spirit, the children will embrace the doctrines of the gospel.
After discussing the leadership principles during the training, Primary general board members role played different meetings — a Primary presidency meeting, ward council and Primary training meeting — showing how the leadership principles discussed apply to administering the programs.
"We are strengthened to do the work, and we can accomplish the programs that we have been called to do," she said. By using the four leadership principles, leaders are more equipped to administer the programs and help the Primary children, she said.