Help Me Dear Father – ideas to teach the song

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Shot of two people holding hands in comfort

The doctrine of forgiveness is so beautiful, first that we can receive forgiveness from our Heavenly Father, but secondly, that He expects us to give forgiveness to others just as He would. As you teach this song, your testimony of forgiveness, just one sentence at a time during a pause, is essential.

Melody Map with Actions

Ask…What do you see? What do you notice? What is the same? What is the difference?What do these posters have to do with the song? (I sing the song, then receive their answers.)

Can you do this action with me as I sing? (Help, Father, forgive)

Now can you do these actions, (plus those actions) as I sing? (unkind, all, day, live)

What actions are left for us to do in the song? (nearer, thee). Will you do all the actions with me as I sing, plus singing only those words with the actions?

A video of this at a workshop is here. You will have to start it at minute 17:30

Rhythm Stick Roll

Pretend to roll the stick from one hand to the other, then pass it around your back as I sing. (See an example of it here at 1:11:08.)

Now let’s do the song with the stick and rolling it.

Older – Watch me and my partner as we roll the stick into each other’s hands and around our back.  Sing the song.

Choose a partner.  Roll the rhythm stick to your partner’s hand and go around the back as we sing.

Younger Sway and Freeze

Have the children point both of their arms to one side of the room, then swing them both in front to the other side of the room. Now circle both arms in a big circle in front of you.  Sing and do this pattern.

Older Fill in the Word poster.

Make a poster that is missing words of the song.  Display the words around the room.  As you sing the song, touch a child on the shoulder to go and get a word then put it in the right place on the poster.  Help, Father, forgive, all, unkind, me, Help, day, Father, pray, nearer, nearer, Thee.  Sing the song again and again until all the words have been put in the right place.

Song Story

Joseph of Egypt (This works well when you also put in some of the emotions Joseph might have felt.) An example of this is here. (minute 48:55)

Tell this story: Joseph had 10 older brothers.  They were jealous of him.  They didn’t like the dreams Joseph had about being a ruler over them.  They treated him badly.

Sing “Help me dear Father to freely forgive”

One day Joseph’s brothers decided to get rid of him.  They sold him as a slave.  Slave traders took Joseph away from his home and sold him as a slave.

Sing “All who have been unkind to me”

Joseph chose to forgive his brothers even though he was in a faraway land and things were hard.

Sing “Help me each day, Father to live”

Joseph kept praying to Heavenly Father and tried to keep His commandments.  Heavenly Father blessed Joseph many times to bless those around him.

Sing “nearer and nearer to thee.”

19 Responses

  1. Rana Steckler

    Where can I find your melody map for “Help Me Dear Father” and other primary songs?

    Thank you for your ideas, backed by research on how to teach music to children! Your ideas have revolutionized my approach, and are an answer to my prayer.

    • Sharla Dance

      Thank you Rana. I am posting the melody map this week. One of our friends has made a digital version, so I will post that, also. Thank you for asking. Sharla

        • Rebekah Bohner

          Hi Sharla!
          I’m having a hard time finding where you’ve posted the melody map. Is it supposed to be under the “Printable Melody Map and Handbell Charts” tab? I’m so sorry to bug you, but I just can’t seem to find it.
          Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge and your tools. You are an angel among us.

          • Sharla Dance

            This particular melody map was digitized by Katherine Tong and posted on the Facebook page Sharla Dance Teaching Methods. I’m grateful to her. Thus it is not on my printable melody maps, but on Facebook. Thanks for asking!

  2. Sabrina Lynn

    Hi Sharla! I see you said you’ve posted the melody map, but I am not sure where to look to download it? I looked in the “Printable Melody Maps and Handbell Charts” link but couldn’t find it there. Or should I just click on each of the images in this post and save them? Thanks a ton!

    • Sharla Dance

      This particular melody map was digitized by Katherine Tong and posted on the Facebook page Sharla Dance Teaching Methods. I’m grateful to her. Thus it is not on my printable melody maps, but on Facebook. Thanks for asking!

  3. Katrina

    Thank you for including the links to the videos, along with the times to find the clips. I am such a visual/kinesthetic learner, that those REALLY help me! I love your ideas and helps! THANK YOU!!!

  4. Michelle Lynn Marchant

    Dear Sharla, Thank you for sharing your ideas, thoughts, and talents. It would be so easy for you to not do the work of this website, the youtube movies, and the workshops you do. It would be easy for you to focus on other things. But please know that your ideas are helping me. I have 6 children, which means that my planning time is often late at night. Your movie examples are especially helpful to me….and the primary I teach. Thank you, thank you!

    • Sharla Dance

      Thank you Michelle. I really, really appreciate this beautiful thought. (Yes, it is a lot of work.?)

  5. Shauna Stingley

    Love all your ideas, flipcharts, and plans! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Stacey Thompson

    Dear Sharla, I noticed you mentioned that the melody maps are in the file in your website. I am so sorry but I’m not sure I’m in the right place because I can’t see where to access them.

    I also have a question. Do you usually recommend when using a melody map that you use it the first week you teach or will it work the second or third week, as effectively?

    Thank you a million times over for all you do! I am learning so much!

    • Sharla Dance

      For Help Me Dear Father you can go to the Sharla Dance Teaching methods Facebook page and look for Katherine Tong. She was so kind to make a digital version that we can all download.
      You can use a melody map any week. It just brings another aspect of the song to the forefront of the children’s minds and adds to their remembering “hooks” that help them access the song in their brain.

  7. Etta Baker

    Where can I find the melody chart to download. It is a wonderful chart.

    • Sharla Dance

      Look under Katherine Tong on the Facebook group Sharla Dance Teaching Methods. She we SOOOO Kind to make a digital version and download it for the group!

  8. Melinda Wells

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You are such an inspiration. So grateful my sister, Mary Jane Rogers, told me about you.

    • Sharla Dance

      Mary Jane is one of my favorites! I appreciate that you would try new things to help the children!!

  9. Dayna

    Thanks for all your awesome and fun ideas Sharla! I love the printed sign language pictures. Can you share the website the pictures came from please? When I teach sign language, I learn the signs better by having a picture to look at while I do the actions.

    • Sharla Dance

      I do a google search for ASL signs for a specific word. There are so many good ones with videos. Thanks for asking!

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