HOW TO TEACH “TO BE HIS CHILD”
To start with, the first line pretty much sums up how I felt when I was writing this song: “It’s impossible to say” everything it means to be a child of God.
I didn’t realize how difficult it would be until I actually tried squeezing the idea into 2 verses and a chorus.
So I had to choose something to focus on, and I chose this:
Our Heavenly Father has given us part of His love and light, (“For I know who I truly am inside” -- my childlike way of saying we have the seeds of Deity within us), and that ought to change the way we act – every day of our lives.
*I THINK IT WOULD BE A REALLY GOOD IDEA TO HELP YOUR CHILDREN GET THIS MEANING OUT OF IT. SO MANY TIMES OUR CHILDREN LEARN THE WORDS TO SONGS, BUT THEY DON’T INTERNALIZE WHAT THEY MEAN. AND WE HAVE MISSED THE REAL PURPOSE OF SINGING TIME.
It was originally just two verses and a chorus. But when I finished it, it was missing two huge pieces: 1) We can return to Him some day, 2) Through the grace of Jesus Christ. So I added an extra chorus.
But the good news is, it’s an optional chorus, and the sheet music will tell you how to skip it if you want to. Or you could have a soloist sing it, like I did in the YouTube video.
So when I teach songs to children, I rarely use visual aids. That’s because I think they can be distracting. Well and let’s face it – it’s because I don’t like making visual aids. Haha. But it’s possible to teach without anything but you and your pianist.
The formula is this: Sing part of the song to them, having them listen for answers to questions you’ve asked. Then have them sing it with you, and find ways to repeat it several times. (And any time your repeat ideas can tie directly in to the words you just learned, you accomplish two things: They learn the words better, and they understand what they’re singing better.)
*While you’re learning the song, have the pianist play the melody only.
Here’s an outline of ideas. And by the way, I would teach the 2nd verse first on this one.
TEACH THE SECOND VERSE
- What 3 things does this verse teach us about God (our Heavenly Father)? I’ll give you a hint: Listen for the word “He.” Sing the song alone – with your pianist playing only the melody. (He is always there, He loves me, and He always will.)
- Listen for rhyming words. There are 4 words in this verse that have a long “O” sound. I’ll sing the verse again and you see if you can come up with all 4 words. (alone, home, road, know)
- Alternately stand up and sit down every time you sing a long “O” word.
- Have them raise their hand when they sing the line that is most important to them. Then ask some of them to tell you their favorite line and why.
- Sing it one more time – and have them think about what they’ve learned about being a child of God. Then ask for some responses before you close singing time.
TEACH THE CHORUS
- Listen for two things that Heavenly Father gave us. (His light and love)
- Listen for 3 words that describe how we want to act because we are His children…because we have part of His light and love. (Brave and true and kind)
- And did you catch how long we should be brave and true and kind? (All my life)
- Great! Now I’m going to sing it one last time, and I want you to listen for WHY we should be brave and true and kind. (Because that’s who we truly are!)
- *Be sure to make the point that when we understand who we really are, we naturally want to do what’s right.
- All right. Are you ready to sing it with me?
- Have them sing loud on the parts of the chorus that speak about what God gave us, and soft on the parts that speak about what we will do or how we feel.
- Then reverse that.
- Thie is one of my favorite repeat ideas that can be used for all songs: Make a yarn ball with tied together, randomly-lengthened pieces of red and green yarn. Roll it up loosely and start pulling out of the middle of it. Pull yarn continuously throughout the song. When the green yarn is coming out, they sing, and as soon as they see red, they stop singing, and the pianist continues to play. Then they jump back in when the yarn is green again.
TEACH THE FIRST VERSE
- Listen for a word that describes God, who’s our Heavenly Father. (Loving)
- Listen for 2 words that describe His plan for us. (Happiness, glorious)
- Okay, now you’ve heard it twice. Can anybody tell me what the first phrase is? (It’s impossible to say) It’s impossible to say what? (Everything it means to me to be a child of a loving God.) Let’s sing that much.
- How does the next part start? (But I know He has a plan) What’s the purpose of the plan (To bring us home to Him again) What words describe the plan? (Happiness, glorious) Let’s sing that much.
- Start soft and get gradually louder and louder until you’re singing really big and full (without yell voices) on “It is glorious.”
- Have the girls sing one phrase, then the boys. Alternate throughout the song.
- Play hide the note, where they sing louder or softer, depending on how close the finder is to the note.
*After they’ve learned the whole song, this is one of my favorite activities: We had a “last one standing challenge” where any child who wanted to participate would come up to the front and stand in a long line across the room. Start at the first child and have them say the first word of the song, then the next child says the next word, and so on. Until someone misses. Then they go sit down. The next child picks up by saying the correct word, and you continue. Go until there’s only one person standing. *This really works well in Senior Primary. Make sure you praise EVERYBODY for being brave enough to join.
WHEW! That was long. But hopefully, there are some good ideas you can choose from that will be helpful to you.