The Value of a Name

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This Activity Days idea is very flexible and could even be used for a Primary Sharing time lesson – just swap out the clay activity for any craft that includes their name (even something as simple as a coloring page).

Categories: Developing Talents, Learning and Living the Gospel

Duration: 1 session

Supplies:

  • Clay
  • Dental floss to cut the clay
  • Small bowls of water to keep hands wet.
  • Instruments to etch the clay (bread knives, kebab skewers, tooth picks)
  • Sequins/buttons to decorate with

Preparation:

  • Precut clay slabs for each child approx 6” long x4” wide, by ¾ – 1” thick. Place them on a plastic placemat with instruments & embellishments nearby.

Activity:

1. Have a child read Helaman 5:6-7:

  • 6 “‘Behold, my sons. … I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.
  • 7 “‘Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them.’”

In this scripture, the prophet Helaman—he lived just a few years before Christ was born—is telling his sons, Nephi and Lehi, why he gave them their names. Can anyone tell me why? (Because Helaman wanted his children to remember what good things the first Nephi and Lehi had done. And then they would do good things, too, and be righteous, too).

2. Names can sometimes help us choose the right. [Insert your own personal story here:] My first name is Camilla. My parents named me after the wife of one of our prophets, President Spencer W. Kimball. She was a wonderful woman who spent her entire life serving other people and building up the kingdom of God. I always remember her because of my name. It makes me want to obey the Lord and serve other people as she did.

3. Are any of you named for a special person?” Have the children share the origins of their given names. Were they named after anyone? Is there a special meaning to their name? etc. It seems that most of you are named after a family member, or someone very important to your parents. Those people were loved and respected so much that their good names were passed on to you.

4. In Proverbs we find that “a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1).

We cannot isolate ourselves from those around us. Our good name can be a special valued asset worth more than the riches of the world.

5. We are all blessed with more than just one name. We have our given names, our family names, and at baptism we also took upon us the name of Christ. Our actions reflect not just upon us, but our families, the church, our communities and the schools we represent.

6. Your name is special. It is recorded in the histories of our Heavenly Parents, and how you value that, how you treat it, will literally affect generations to come.

7. [Story] When President George Albert Smith was young, his deceased grandfather George A. Smith appeared to him in a dream and asked, “I would like to know what you have done with my name.” President Smith responded, “I have never done anything with your name of which you need be ashamed.” 

President Smith continued to say, “I have thought of this many times, and I want to tell you that I have been trying, more than ever since that time, to take care of that name. So I want to say to the boys and girls, to the young men and women, to the youth of the Church and of all the world: Honor your fathers and your mothers. Honor the names that you bear, because some day you will have the privilege and the obligation of reporting to them (and to your Father in heaven) what you have done with their name.”

Along with our given names and our family names, we also have a special sacred responsibility. When we are baptized, whose name do we take upon us? (Jesus Christ)

8. Each week as we partake of the sacrament, we renew this covenant with our Heavenly Father, to take upon ourselves the name of his Son, to always remember him and keep his commandments, that we might always have his Spirit to be with us. (See D&C 20:77.) Through baptism we become members of Christ’s family. We bear his name. We represent him here on earth as holders of his priesthood and as members of his kingdom. We have the privilege to represent him to others, to bear his message to his children throughout the world, to be missionaries. We have the responsibility to be worthy of his name, to represent him well in every way, to every person we meet. When we meet him in heaven again, and he asks us what we did with his name, what will we want to say?

9. We’ll now do a craft where you will sculpt your first initial out of clay. You’ll etch it and decorate it and take it home at the end of the night. It will take a few days to dry, but after that every time you see it you will be reminded of this lesson, and how important it is to have a good name.

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Tips and Tricks:

  • There are many crafts you can do to replace the clay craft if you like, such as cross stitch a letter, making a name bracelet, etc.

Additional Ideas:

  • Ask parents to have each girl bring a story about a relative/ancestor that has the same last name.
  • Tie in this activity with a Campfire Stories Recognition Night. Having the two activities back to back would really deepen the understanding of the importance of their names and family history.
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