Jesus taught us what it means to truly forgive. The primary song Help Me, Dear Father reminds us to ask Heavenly Father in prayer to help us live nearer to Him by forgiving others and truly repenting.
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I love what is suggested in Teaching No Greater Call about tying the intangible to the tangible:
“Tie the invisible idea … to some tangible object the student already knows about and then build from that knowledge.”
Forgiveness and repentance are very intangible concepts. Applying them to something tangible helps give meaning and adaptation to these hard concepts.
That’s why I fell in LOVE with this idea HERE that Melanie shared in the comments about relating forgiveness and repenting to bandages! What child doesn’t know what a bandage does? And relating that bandage to healing the soul through forgiveness and repentance is so PERFECT!
So to start teaching Help Me, Dear Father, show a regular bandage to the primary. Ask if they know what it is. Then ask what does it do and take answers. Write them on the board. Answers can include things like:
- Helps heal wounds
- Protects from germs and bacteria
Then tell the primary that Heavenly Father has provided bandages for our soul. These spiritual bandages do the same thing for our spirit that regular bandages do for our body! They heal and protect our soul!
Write the name of the song, Help Me, Dear Father on the top of the board. Post these 2 bandage printables underneath:
Print and cut apart. Access my printables at my Resource Library. Instructions for accessing my Resource Library are found at the bottom of this post.
Then pass out 2 “bandages” to each child to put on the backs of their hands. One hand for “freely forgive” and the other for “truly repent”
These are also available in my Resource Library. This document is meant to be printed on return address labels (Avery 5260). You can get these at Walmart, office supply stores or on Amazon (this is an affiliate link below where I make a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase!):
In a pinch, print on regular paper, cut them out and tape them on kids’ hands using Scotch tape! Or, write “freely forgive” and “truly repent” using a Sharpie marker on real bandages to pass out!
Tell the children that the song, Help Me, Dear Father talks all about these spiritual bandages! You and the teachers sing the song, posting words like I do HERE.
Have the primary raise their “freely “forgive” bandage when they hear those words (in the first verse). Then to raise their “truly repent” bandage when they hear those words (in the second verse).
Sing the first verse again (have them raise their hands when the bandage words are sung), asking children to listen for who they should freely forgive [all who may seem unkind to me]. Write down the answer on the board under the “freely forgive” printable.
Quickly discuss that forgiving others heals our soul. To forgive means to change angry feelings toward others to kind feelings. If we forgive others, we don’t try to hurt them or get even. We treat them with kindness.
Then sing the second verse again (have them raise their hands when the bandage words are sung), and ask children to listen to how they can truly repent [making things right and changing my ways]. Write down those answers on the board under the “truly repent” bandage.
Quickly discuss that repenting is another way to heal our soul. To repent means to admit you did something wrong and correct the mistake. Then try not to do it again.
Forgiving and repenting will help us feel nearer to Heavenly Father and make us happy.
Invite the children to sing with you and the teachers (again, raising hands when the bandage words are sung).
Then display a picture of the Savior on the cross and share the following passage with your primary:
Near the time when Jesus would be crucified, the soldiers did unkind things to him. They hit him, whipped him, spat on him, put a crown of thorns on his head, and called him names. Then the soldiers led Jesus to a hillside called Calvary and nailed him to a cross. Jesus wasn’t angry with the soldiers for what they did to him. He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…”
Jesus was the greatest example of forgiveness. He taught us to pray and to ask “Help me dear Father” (A Children’s Songbook Companion p. 134).
And because of His atonement, we can repent and one day return to live with Him and Heavenly Father again.
Bear testimony that we should try to be more forgiving to those who are unkind to us. Challenge the primary to try to repent of things they do wrong.
This song has such a bouncy feeling. To provide movement, I suggest passing out shaker eggs and doing the following:
- Shake to the rhythm (the notes) of the song
- Shake to the beat of the song (3/4)
- Teach the children to lead 3/4 time by drawing a triangle on the board and using their eggs to lead the song
I also have a bell chart for the alto notes:
This is also available in my Resource Library.
I also have a home-centered lesson plan for this song HERE. It has a fun YouTube video of puppets demonstrating forgiveness and repenting!
All my printables are free and filed on my Resource Library. Filing instructions for accessing each printable on my Resource Library are below the button.
These printables are filed on my Resource Library page under Song Title > Help Me, Dear Father.