The rhythms can be a little tricky. If you need to, you can hear the song by clicking the link near the bottom of this page.
If I were teaching this song, I'd teach verses 1 and 4 during April, verse 3 in May to sing for Mother's Day and verse 2 in June to sing for Father's Day. I think it's important that they learn all four verses, but I wouldn't necessarily want them all sung in the program. That's purely a performance decision, though, so check with your Presidency first if you choose to do it.
I've seen a lot of discussion about this song on Primary Chorister and Primary Presidency boards. Some leaders question the appropriateness of the message during a time when many children in our care come from broken or non-traditional homes. I disagree; I think that is the perfect reason TO teach this song. But I understand where the concern comes from. We don't want kids to feel alienated or judged because of their family situation. Keep that in mind as you decide how to teach the song. Here are some ideas you might try. They are entirely my own opinions.
- Do consider your audience. If you teach in a ward or branch where there is likely to be contention over the middle verses of the song, teaching them for Mother's and Father's day may help you avoid arguments. I don't generally advocate avoiding topics, but if you expect it to become a negative experience for the children, this is one way you can at least get the message to them in a positive way.
- Do think of the questions your children might have and prayerfully prepare to answer them.
- Do stress that we are all on earth to learn and grow. Just as there are no perfect people, there are no perfect families. We can all strengthen our families through Christ's Atonement.
- Do consider involving the children's parents. If you and your Presidency feel that certain children will be particularly upset by this song, ask their parents for advice on how to speak to them about it.
- Do help them to understand that even if they don't come from a home with a loving mother and father, they have the ability to create this for themselves and their own children some day. Sing verse 2 of "Families Can Be Together Forever."
- Do help them understand what they can do right now. Direct their focus to verse 4. When children feel powerless to change their circumstances, giving them a task can help. Ask them for specific examples of things they can do at home this week to strengthen their families.
However, with all of that said, keep the following "don'ts"in mind:
- Don't create a problem where there isn't one! If a child asks you a question, you should answer it (either in public or in private). Otherwise, don't worry too much.
- Don't assume that children will feel stigmatized if their family isn't perfect. Some will and some won't. Be sensitive to their feelings, but be careful not to single them out unnecessarily.
- Don't assume that teaching children what is right will teach them to hate people who disagree. Be tolerant and respectful of other opinions and trust children to do so as well. It shouldn't occur to children to hate anyone, and explaining that you don't may actually plant the suggestion.
- Don't skip verses 2 and 3 altogether. I feel strongly that the General Primary Presidency is aware of the children's struggles and chose this song through inspiration for a specific reason. When our leaders only want certain verses taught, they specifically say so. Otherwise, we ought to teach all verses of the monthly songs.
- And don't dilute the Lord's message with unnecessary explanation. See Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself." Whether or not it is politically correct or popular, the principles taught in this song are true. We don't need to apologize for them.
Our Father has a family, it's me!
It's you, all others too: we are His children!
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth,
To live and learn here in families.
God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be.
This is how He shares His love, for the fam'ly is of God.
A father's place is to preside, provide
To love and teach the gospel to his children.
A father leads in fam'ly prayer to share
Their love for Father in Heaven.
A mother's purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.
She teaches children to obey, to pray,
To love and serve in the fam'ly.
I'll love and serve my family and be
A good example to each fam'ly member.
And when I am a mom or dad, so glad,
I'll help my fam'ly remember.