I started the night by gathering all the kids. After our prayer and song I gave the kids a task. I gathered a pile of sheets and clothespins and told the kids they had to build a tent or a fort in the living room. There only rules were that it had to be big enough to fit everyone inside, and that they had to work together. After several minutes and some help from Dad the tent was ready and we all climbed inside. We turned off all the lights and turned on our battery operated lantern.
Then I told them the Parable of the Camel. There are many versions, but this is basically the one I told, (I took it from the teachings of President Spencer W. Kimball):
THE CAMEL'S NOSE
The camel and his owner who were traveling across the desert sand dunes when a wind storm came up. The traveler quickly set up his tent and moved in, closing the flaps to protect himself from the cutting, grinding sands of the raging storm. The camel was of course left outside, and as the violent wind hurled the sand against his body and into his eyes and nostrils he found it unbearable and finally begged for entrance into the tent.
“There is room only for myself,” said the traveler.
“But may I just get my nose in so I can breathe air not filled with sand?” asked the camel.
“Well, perhaps you could do that,” replied the traveler, and he opened the flap ever so little and the long nose of the camel entered. How comfortable the camel was now! But soon the camel became weary of the smarting sand on his eyes and ears … :
“The wind-driven sand is like a rasp on my head. Could I put just my head in?”
Again, the traveler rationalized that to acquiesce would do him no damage, for the camel’s head could occupy the space at the top of the tent which he himself was not using. So the camel put his head inside and the beast was satisfied again—but for a short while only.
“Just the front quarters,” he begged, and again the traveler relented and soon the camel’s front shoulders and legs were in the tent. Finally, by the same processes of pleading and of yielding, the camel’s torso, his hind quarters and all were in the tent. But now it was too crowded for the two, and the camel kicked the traveler out into the wind and storm.
During the story we stopped to explain that camel's are made to withstand the elements- that there was really no need to feel sorry for the camel or to let him into the tent. Here's the info we shared:
Camels are well built to protect themselves from sand storms. They have very wide, flat feet that expand as they put weight on them. This wide, flat foot protects them from slipping on the sand as they walk or run. Camels also have the ability to tightly close their nostrils and this would prevent them from inhaling sand during a sand storm or during blowing sand. In addition, camels also have two or three layers of very thick eye lashes to help keep the sand from getting into their eyes. They also have very thick, coarse hair that outlines the inner parts of their ears so that sand is not able to get inside their ears. Camels also have very strong lips that they can press together to avoid getting sand in their mouth. So, camels are well equipped to handle a sand storm. There is not way blowing sand can get inside their noses, their eyes, their ears or their mouths.
We then showed this YOUTUBE video, so the kids could see just how scary a sandstorm could really be:
We talked about what the story could mean.
We are like the man.
The storm and the camel could represent temptations and the world and Satan.
The tent is our protection from the world and our relation ship with the Savior.
We then talked about how we strengthen our "tents" to keep out the world and the bad things that would harm us.
Our LIST of HOW TO STRENGTHEN OUR TENTS:
go to church
Follow the Prophet
Read our scriptures
obeying mom and dad
We then talked about HELAMAN 5:12 and made goals to stengthen our tents each day.
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
(Thank you Janice, for the Camel idea!)