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Primary and All Manner of Gnats, Flies, and Frogs

By Carina Hoskisson

My entire life has been spent in utter dread that one day I would be called to Primary.

I should explain that I have never really liked kids. I was not the teenager who baby sat because she loved being with children (just the greenbacks, please.) I was not the girl who wanted to hold your new baby (more on that some other day.) Even when I was married, no children, the thought of Primary loomed like some sort of awful and certain plague called down upon the Israelites. As far as I was concerned, you could turn right to Exodus and find Primary right next to locusts and rivers of blood.

Last year, when I confessed that I had been without a calling for months, I knew deep down that I was on the road to Primary. At first I thought that I didn’t have a calling on account of my postpartum depression (boy, was that a gas!) and then I slowly realized that I was being prepared to work in the Primary. And so it was that in the year of our Lord, twenty aught eight, that I was called to the Primary.

Best. Calling. Ever.

I’m the pianist! Oh ye who suffer from piano performance anxiety, yet feel obligated to state on your new member card that you took 8 years of piano despite the near daily fights with your parents about practicing, this is the calling for you!

Do you feel like you can only attempt the right hand? No problem, those children don’t judge.

Sneak out before the closing prayer so that when the children rush in the room they can have reverent music waiting for them? Absolutely!

I also love being creative: a variation on the theme while the chorister talks about the song, little echoes of songs they’re learning at the beginning or end, and playing fun interludes. This is a blast, and no hint of pestilence, not even a shadow of a boil. Dare I say that I am having a great time in Primary?

Who knew?

About Carina Hoskisson


28 thoughts on “Primary and All Manner of Gnats, Flies, and Frogs”

  1. I've had four primary callings. I hated them all. With a passion. (Except for secretary. The one Primary calling where you don't have to interact with kids.)

    I actually told my new bishop that if the Lord really wanted me to be in Primary I'd accept the calling. But if it was just the machinations of the Primary Presidency, than please don't call me. Just because I have a bunch of kids doesn't mean I like all kids. Only mine.

  2. I knew! Primary pianist is the best calling, followed closely by ward missionary, which is more rewarding but lots more work, thus it is not the best.

    {I was happy to see your comment on the pizza delivery blog.}

  3. I, too, had dreaded being in Primary. I didn't want to have any super-annoying kids drive me crazy every Sunday, on top of dealing with my own crazies. But, like you, I LOVE it! Love it! Surprising.

  4. I dreaded being in primary too. It ended up being rather entertaining though. I didn't know anyone else in my new ward, but I sure learned about those kids (and funny family stories) in a hurry.

    It was also cool to watch my own kids participate in sharing time.

  5. I like the kids, too! Knock me over with a feather, it's actually fun.

    I really loved YW as well, you'd have to when you're in there for most of seven years. I've had a couple callings that were a struggle, but it's been a pleasant surprise how much I like Primary.

  6. I am the song lady. And because, apparently, I am the only song lady in the history of the ward to actually put effort into song time, I will never be released. Did I mention I HATE BEING THE SONG LADY?

    But good for you.

  7. I'm also the primary pianist and I enjoy it, though I'm kind of the forgotten person unless I'm not there. I like to sing along and learn the songs in German.

    So I have a question for you. I also am one of those people who isn't crazy about everyone else's kids and I worry that I'll never have the desire to have my own kids, or even get married. Did you have that problem? How did you get over it? Is it true that "it's different with your own kids"?

  8. I am with you on that one.

    I've been the chorister a couple of times, and though I enjoyed it, it was always a relief to be done. I have rarely enjoyed teaching in primary–the real exception being when my husband and I team taught. I loathe the day I'm called to the presidency.

  9. Michelle, it's true!

    It IS different when they're your own kids. I'm still ambivalent towards most children, although I find as mine grow I even have more tolerance towards others' children. I really love my friend's children.

    I now appreciate kids in a way I never did before, and yes, it started with loving my own babies even more than I knew was possible.

  10. Michelle–I am madly in love with my own children. They are the most amazing humans ever. I was petrified to have sons especially because, you know, boys are yucky. But I adore my boys! I had no desire to have a baby for the first couple of years that I was married, then it was like somebody turned on some crazy switch and it was baby starvation. I had to have one NOW!!! (It stayed on for about ten years then abruptly turned back off.)

    I still don't like kids in general. Being an elementary school teacher is just about the worst job I could ever imagine. I am getting used to having my kids' friends come over, but I still think they're weird, bad-mannered and smelly.

    Bottom line, don't worry about it. Because it is completely different with your own children. You will want some one day. And love them too.

  11. Nuh uh Girl friend. Being in the enrichment committee is the best calling ever. I get to socialize with women who want to be in groups that I create, like Restaurant Group or Knitting Group. Plus I only have to commit to four scheduled programs a year. Piece of cake.

  12. Oh! Primary pianist! The only calling worth aspiring to! I have been known to announce to the pianist and presidency that I'm available to sub. Once it got me a four-month gig behind the keyboard. I'm not saying I'm a great pianist – quite the opposite. But the Primary songbook is right about my level. I love it!

  13. I was called as the pianist. The CTR 8 teacher and his class would laugh and point at me when I would mess up. And boy did I mess up.

    So we moved, and that ended the worst calling of my life.

  14. I would ask if you are kidding, Ash, but I know you and I know you're not.

    That's just inexcusable. I would have done or said something so that ended right quick.

  15. Ah…my husband's dream job, and you got it. (He just got called to be the ward clerk over finances. The irony of that calling with our last name just kills me.)

    I never thought I'd enjoy Primary either, but then I got put in as the secretary and stayed there for over 5 years (2 different wards, three different presidents). It was a riot! I'm not so sure I'd make it as a Primary teacher, though. Put me in front of the piano or in the back of the room as the secretary and I'm good to go, but put me in a room full of 8 year olds and you may as well just shoot me.

  16. This time around in primary I'm having fun,mostly. The kids are loving, it's the adults and their expectations that make it difficult. YW is still the best though!

  17. I hate being the primary pianist because there is no challenge in it for me. It bores me. But I would love to be the music leader! That's just about the only calling in Primary I would want.

    Ash, you story reminds me of a man who came to me for organ lessons. He was the ward organist, and he REALLY struggled with playing. He had a hard time even getting the right notes or correct rhythm, much less sounding good. The Sacrament meeting chorister in his ward was obviously frustrated with the situation, but she took it out on him in some horrible ways–including stopping the hymn in the middle of Sacrament meeting and making everyone start over if he made a mistake. She was downright cruel to him. I wished she could have seen how hard he worked to try to improve. Her attitude was completely un-Christlike, and all it did was demoralize a person who was just trying to be obedient and accept whatever the Lord asked him to do.

  18. Glad you found a calling that works! That makes Sunday a joy.
    Justine, you can have my job. After two hours of tending someone else's kids, my good days are the days I don't go home from church with a migraine. It doesn't help that my kid is in the nursery too. I love him, but I NEVER get a break from him thanks to my husband's graveyard shift. If I'm in nursery much longer, there will be no adult brain cells left.

  19. primary pianist is my favorite calling ever too. because also, you don't have to prepare anything! and they only learn like 5 songs all year so you're set! and you get to "hide" behind a piano.

  20. I have been in primary for what seems to be a lifetime. I know that the songlady and the pianist can make SUCH an impact on how the kids do during that time. YAY for people like you.

    As for the "I don't like kids thing". I always loved kids, held babies, etc, etc. THen I had my own and now it is pretty much "no thank you". I only like my kids and the children of other people I like. Even if their kids are beasts, I don't mind it if I like the parents.

    I wonder how much therapy it will take to work THAT one out?

  21. That's so nice to hear! My very firs calling (new member) was to do Activity Days with the 8-11 yr. olds ~ People would whisper to me in Church that that was their dream calling. I too am not a "kid person" but have learned to find joy in those sorts of things.

  22. Primary pianist is a fun one. The only downside is that you have to be there every week, and I'm a big-time ditcher. Whenever I've had that calling, I've always gotten a big kick out of occasionally ignoring the chorister and playing some of the songs REALLY uptempo, which the kids love. (I'm not so good with the reverence.)

    But the best calling EVER is primary chorister. Seriously good stuff.

  23. I taught school for 30 years. Six years ago I was finally called to teach in the primary. My children were all married. Grandchildren on the way. I thought I was too old to be here. But the Lord decided that even though I still had 6 years of 8 year olds, it was time. What a blessing this has been. I have now been Primary Pres. for 2 years and I can't tell you how much pleasure it has been to work with 3 competent counselors and sec., wonderful teachers and the children. Even with 4 very special needs children. This is a wonderful stewardship. Go in with the right attitude and be grateful you don't have to teach the 14 year olds.


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