Today I was responsible for sharing time. Our junior and senior primary was combined, so I had about 35 children ranging from three years old to eleven years old. The topic had to do with serving others and I had to come up with a way to present the lesson so that it would appeal to every age group and allow all of them to understand what I was trying to teach.
I got a stack of pictures from the library that showed different acts of service-from writing letters to a missionary, to Christmas caroling. We read John 13:34-35 and discussed a little about why and how we serve. Then I divided the children into different sized groups, gave them a picture, and told them not to show anyone else. They were to act out the service depicted in the picture for the rest of the primary. The other children would try to guess what the service was.
It went really well, but that is not why I am telling you this. What I loved to watch was the interaction between the kids. When I divided the groups up, I paired eleven year olds with three year olds. I didn't allow the children to stay in their class groups. It was wonderful to watch an older girl help one of the youngest girls in the primary act out reading the scriptures to each other, or seeing the cooperation between four children of different ages as they acted out a family gardening together. I don't think the older children realized that they were serving the younger children as they helped them and taught them. (And I wasn't quick enough on my feet to point that out to them.) And it is so fun to see how the little ones really look up to their more experienced counterparts.
This made me think of my experience as I have become more involved with the writing community in the last year. I am just a little person on the totem pole with big ambitions. I look up to all the authors who are one their way to making it, or who have already made it. It constantly amazes me how friendly everyone is and how willing people are to help out those of us at the bottom.
I met some wonderful people at the LDStorymaker's conference who I still keep in touch with, and I have "met" some more online, who give me encouragement everyday. So when I feel like the little three year old in primary, who is a little nervous to be a part of the group, I look up to the older more experienced people around me and know that when I do make it they will be cheering me on, and somewhere there will be another little person looking for the helping hand that I will have to offer. The circle continues and I love it.