In 2010, I had the wonderful opportunity to teach an 11 year old boy in Primary. He was my only student, and at times it was challenging but it was such a great experience. I grew to love him. The world would label him as autistic but that label only tells a small part of who he is. He is a boy who loves to draw. Who can memorize commercials and tv shows better than anyone else I know. A boy who loves his family. A boy who likes oreo cookies and crackers but doesn't like most candy or other sweets. A boy who loves to look at pictures of the families in our ward and sometimes makes up stories about them. A boy who has a testimony of the gospel and who can make me laugh. Fortunately, he is a boy who has a family that loves him and has helped him to work hard and to reach his potential. Not that I'm saying he's reached his full potential yet, but he is on his way. He knows who he is and as I taught him I often could feel the Savior's love for him. It was such a great opportunity, and while I was excited for him, I was sad to see him move on to young men's.
This year, I'm having a very different experience. I'm teaching the Sunbeams, the little 3 year olds. I must admit to having been both excited and a little nervous about this. I've taught school for a long time, but I've always thought of myself as an upper grade teacher. I've taught 3rd, 5th and for one year 6th grade. This year I'm teaching 2nd grade, my youngest grade yet...but even those kids are 7 and 8. So teaching 3 year olds is a change for me. And the first week was a little rough...for them and me. It's a big change to go from nursery to primary. They kept asking where the toys were and when we would play. But it's been four weeks now and we are all adjusting well. They are darling! They are so cute and sweet. Every Sunday I have one on my lap during sharing time...and interestingly, every Sunday so far it has been a different one. It is fun to see their little testimonies and to see how much they already know. And it is fun to be teaching the very basics of the gospel...that we are children of God, that He has a plan for us, that He has given us bodies, that we can and should pray to Him. And I've found that as long as I bring a toy each week (that ties in with the lesson)then they are pretty good at paying attention so they can get to the "toy" part. The first week, we had Baby Moses in a basket. This past week we had costumes and a stuffed lion to act out Daniel in the Lions Den. Hopefully they are remembering what we are learning. I certainly am having a wonderful time teaching them. No wonder the Savior has told us to become as a little child!