Why you should teach He Sent His Son even if your children already know it

posted in: Teaching Principles | 10


I have read post after post of music directors who will not be teaching the song of the month “He Sent His Son” because their Primary children already know it. That brings me to the question:

What DO the Primary children really know about the song?

Consider this:

When I sing a song that I love, I am taught, especially if I interact with the song. Just last night as I was singing Come Thou Fount (which I have sung and directed literally hundreds of times), we sang the phrase, “He to rescue me from danger interposed His precious blood.” I pondered deeply on what danger I am in. Why would someone have to get between me and danger? Why would anyone do that for me? What does interposed mean?

When I interact with a song I love, I am taught.


What could the children learn more deeply if they interacted with the words of “He Sent His Son?”


I want to feel the rise and fall of the song over and over again. I love watching the ocean waves sneak in and out or crash in against my legs. I love playing tag with the waves. The rise and fall of the sound waves is just the same for me. I love feeling the ups and downs of the melody that pulls me and then releases. I love the harmony that gives anticipation, then deep satisfaction. I love the voyage in and out of a minor chord and back to a major chord. The flow of music can move my soul. Especially when combined with sacred words, the flow of music can help me and touch me in a way no other thing can. I want to experience that kind of movement and flow every day of my life.


What could the children feel more deeply if they had different activities with the flow of “He Sent His Son” that they haven’t experienced before?


There is so much more to be learned from a song than just the words.

If I sang the song combined with a touching story (Story Song), the memory of the song will never be the same. If I sang the song and moved in beautiful flowing movement to the flow of the song (Magic Crayon, Magic Paintbrush, Mirror Image, or Scarves), my soul would lift and flow with the flow of the song. If I sang the song watching a slide show of children I know intermixed with scenes from Jesus’ life, I would make a personal connection with the song I never have before. If I sang the song with no outward sounds, only the movement of my hands signing ASL words of the song, I would open my heart up to the possibility of the Spirit confirming all the words running through my head.


There is so much more to be learned from a song than just the words.


If I were a child, I would plead: Please let me interact with this beautiful song over and over again in different ways.

10 Responses

  1. Glindy

    Hello! I am so excited to focus more on the MUSIC rather than games and gimmicks (not that there’s anything wrong with using those in moderation). Can you elaborate on the “magic crayon” and “magic paintbrush” you mentioned? And I’m interested in the scarves, too….my daughter has a set of silk scarves that I’d love to use for Primary.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to help others.

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Glindy, I’m posting a blog about Magic Crayon the second week of February. Basically because children can imagine colors more vividly that an adult, you have them take out their “magic” crayon and decide what color it will be. “poof!” It becomes that color. You draw to the feel of the song as you sing. At the end of a phrase, you say “Freeze!” All of you decide a new color for your crayon. “poof!” Continue drawing and singing. The children love to tell you what color their crayon was. I often will choose a color with polka dots or stripes. Magic Paintbrush is much the same, but we pretend to paint the room with strokes that match the feel of the music. Ceiling, floor, side wall, etc. I’m posting a scarf blog today. Hope that helps!

  2. Diana Heiner

    Sharla, Thank you for your suggestions for this song. I have your book and love it. The truths therein speak to my heart. I have been using this style of teaching a song for about 6 months now and have seen sweet results. Thank you again for sharing your knowledge. Do you ever do workshops in other areas, other that near your home? Interested in coming to western Wyoming?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Diana, Thank you for your kind words. I’m just an instrument for the real teacher. I would love to hear about some of the experiences. Yes, I travel all over the place. You have to get Priesthood approval and set up the workshop. We have to figure out a time I can come, and how I will get there. Let me know.

  3. Erin

    Sharla, do you think “draw the song” would be a good activity for this song? My kids already know it well but I think it could be a really great enriching activity for them. Thanks!

    • Sharla Dance

      I think Draw the Song would be a great idea for this song. There are two ways of doing it… you draw the song as you sing, or the children draw the song as you sing. I find with the younger children, it works best if you draw parts of the song as you sing (it is a bit challenging to draw that fast). For older children, though, they do well if they draw a certain part of the song as you sing the song a certain number of times (meaning their drawing has to be finished by the time you sing the song that many times). I would perhaps ask how many want to draw the first question, the second question, etc. so that they are concentrating on one drawing for a few minutes. At the end you display the drawings. Have the children put them in order as you all sing the song once again.

      Tomorrow morning I’m hoping to post another idea for the song with pictures of the children. Basically a picture of a baby sister or brother, then a picture of Jesus as a child; a picture of an older child they know helping someone, then a picture of Jesus helping someone, and so forth. The personal pictures of people they know bring the song to a different connection level. (Perhaps for death I would get a picture of a grave stone of a grandfather or grandmother of one of the children. Just thinking off the top of my head)

      They are lucky to have a music leader that cares about how they are taught. Thank you for being their teacher.

  4. Rebecca

    Thank you for the thoughtful work you do. You have blessed 100 children in Southwest Missouri!

    • Sharla Dance

      Thank you for letting me know. I’m grateful you are blessing children with all the things you do!

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