Monday, August 15, 2011

Sharing Time and Talents

This post is not about Sharing Time.  Or a Sharing Time on Talents.  It's about sharing YOUR time and talents beyond the time you are called as a Primary chorister.  And planning for it.

A few years back I served as the YW President in our ward.  Soon after the call was extended, I met with our Stake YW President for training.  Among the vast amounts of information and guidance given at that meeting was this little tidbit:  Plan now for your release, because it will come.  Magnify your calling, but realize that it is your stewardship only for a season.  I came to understand the wisdom and purpose in that advice, even if the release from that calling wouldn't come for three long and activity-filled years.

I know to SOME Primary chorister lifers, it may seem crazy.  Maybe you are one of the few that have longevity in a particular calling ("I've been in Primary for over 30 years...").  I know people that beg plead demand request to keep a particular calling because they LOVE it.  They are comfortable with it.  They feel it is the best use of their talents.  But, for the most part, I believe that callings aren't always about what we can give, but are frequently about what we can learn, and how we can stretch and grow ourselves.

The calling of Primary Chorister is a hard one for me.  I have to be prepared EVERY week.  Unlike a Primary teacher, I do NOT have a weekly Church-provided-and-approved outline of what specific material to cover, complete with object lessons and attention activities.  I have to appeal to children from age 3 to 12.  I have a LARGE ward.  I was lucky, and was given some very useful visuals and ideas from the past two choristers, however, I was only given visual aids for two of the program songs this year, one of which was missing a few pictures (which I discovered in the midst of Singing Time my first week or so).

With that lengthy introduction, this is what I plan to do to plan for my release
(and help the next Primary chorister out):

Several years back we had a sister in our ward "donate" her personal file collections to the ward.  She had saved Church-related materials for much of her life (I'm a file-hoarder, too, so I can totally relate), and had decided to share her resources with the ward.  At the time, I was serving in Young Women's, and can remember the pile of material she brought for us to keep in our closet at the church.  Some of it was from the 70's.  I went through it, kept what was useful, and threw away that which wasn't.

Fast forward to a few months ago.  I was talking to a Primary presidency member one Sunday after church about needing a small table at the front of the room for Singing Time.  The only small table in the room at the time was in the back, sitting next to the cabinets, used mainly as a place to stash church bags or other sundry items.  Underneath the table were two large plastic file bins.  I asked what they were for, and was told that they were the "donated" files from the sister in our ward, and had been there for several years, unused.  I asked if anyone minded if I take them home, sort through them, keep what was usable, and then reuse the files for Singing Time related materials.  I was given the go-ahead.

I sorted through the files, and threw much of it away (seriously, computers, the internet, and newer Church guidelines have made the need for old, outdated materials, handouts, and hand-drawn clip-art nearly obsolete), which resulted in one completely empty box, and one with only a few files in it.  In an effort to reuse the donated boxes (and all the hanging file folders included with them), I decided that I would make one into a Singing Time file, and give the other one back to the Primary presidency for anything they would like to do with it.  If they end up not needing it, I will continue to fill it with Singing Time materials.  Nice.

All my visuals (flip charts, etc.) will go in the box, which will be given to the next Primary chorister to do with what she/he wishes.  Will I be offended if she doesn't use my stuff?  Goodness, no.  It will no longer be my calling.  But I hope that some may be useful.  If I hold on to it all for years on end, it will most likely be wasted.

Outdated, useless, and old.

After being released, should I be called as Primary chorister again someday, I hope I am given a useful file.  If not, I will be happy to share my time and talents making visuals and learning/attention activities once again.


  1. You're so great! I LOVE this file, as well as the quote you gave about planning and magnifying the calling. Your attitude about giving the file to the next chorister, and being willing to make a new one if called again to this position is inspiring. Thanks!

  2. Hi! I just found your site today and I love your ideas. I was just wondering where you get your cut outs. The singing time tree board you make is great and I would like do something like that, but where do I do the birds, etc.
    Thanks for sharing,

    1. Shirette - I have a Cricut machine that I used to cut the leaves and birds out with... They are really simple, though, and could be easily free-handed... Hope that helps!