Barb Venema has always worked with kids, coaching gymnastics, teaching Physical Education, and serving in Sunday School, Young Women, and Primary. Most recently she has served in the Primary as an instructor, chorister, and president. Her patriarchal blessing even mentions her time in the Primary. Recently retired, Barb lives in Kearns, Utah, and has five children and 20 adorable grandkids—of which she is most proud.


3:00 Barb’s experience being called to be a Primary President. She has been in the Primary 12 years straight.

5:30 Principles of working in the Primary

6:45 Principle 1 -“He knows your name so know their name.” Know the names of each child in your Primary. We need to follow Heavenly Father’s model of knowing everyone’s name. Barb gives the example of Joseph Smith. Can you imagine how Joseph felt when God came down from heaven and called him by name? Each time that God came down and talked to His prophets He began by saying their name. Pray for your Primary kids by name everyday.

10:20 Principle 2 – See the children through the Savior’s eyes.

10:58 Principle 3 – Be flexible. The gospel is the same but the church and programs are constantly changing. Let go of ward culture and traditions. Let go of what you did in the past. We have to change with the times.

17:30 Advice to the Primary teachers: We need to help our children be strong now so that they can also be strong teenagers. We don’t want to lose our teenagers or young adults. We need strong teachers.

18:45 Principle 4- Accept Change. It’s hard to accept change but we need to throw away the old manuals and move forward with the new programs and manuals that are given to us.

20:35 Principle 5 – Have a sense of humor. Let the kids know that they are completely loved and accepted. Let them be themselves. Give them moments of pure joy.

23:50 Primary program tips and tricks

  • Let the teachers step back and have the kids take charge of the program.
  • Use their talks throughout the year for the program. Let them share their experiences. Make a copy of their talks and write their name on it. In this way the program gets developed throughout the year.
  • The Primary program is not a production. It’s the kids sharing what they have learned and their testimonies.
  • You don’t need a Saturday practice. Don’t take away from family or Primary time.

27:15 Principle 6 – Handbooks vs. Facebook. Don’t ask the people on Facebook what they do. Look at your handbook. Go directly to the source. Although many other people have great ideas, there are many things that are not necessary or are old traditions.

31:40 Relationship between Primary presidency and members of the bishopric

36:00 Final thoughts


He Knows You by Name by Sister Elaine Dalton
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