The Wise Girl and the Foolish Girl: Feminism in Primary

Now, I know that Primary is not the place to preach my feminist ideals. So, while I don’t think I should do a lesson on the three waves of feminism during sharing time, I do try to bring in examples of underrepresented groups of people whenever I can.

I loved Mary Ann’s guest post on FMH for new verses to Follow the Prophet posted last year about this time. And, since then, I’ve been looking for ways to make some Primary songs a bit more gender inclusive. One of my male evangelical students pointed out Proverbs 14:1 that has made me rethink ways to present, “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man.” The Primary songbook lists Helaman 5:12 and Matthew 7:24-27 as the scriptures that go with this song.

Then, Proverbs 14:1 has the same theme:
“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”

Admittingly, there isn’t a “rock” she’s building on, but still the imagery of building and destruction is there.

Now comes the task of how to get the Primary to join me in “The Wise Girl and the Foolish Girl” or a verse about Deborah in “Follow the Prophet.”

I was thinking of showing the kids that Primary songs are a way to learn about scriptures and showing them the footnotes that list the Matthew and Helaman passages. And, then, I would show them that by our own personal scripture study, we can find more connections to these stories and themes.

I worry that I will look like I’m trying to indoctrinate the kids, but really, my primary purpose in using songs that we’ve changed is for children to see themselves in the scriptures. I want my African-American girls to see the above picture of Deborah, I want the Hispanic kids (and the rest of us) to learn some Primary songs in Spanish.

What do you do in Church (Primary, youth programs, even with adults) to include all members of your class?

Artwork: “Deborah Under the Palm Tree” by Adriene Cruz

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