Mormon children are often taught their faith through music, which has been shown to help teachings enter a child’s heart in a way spoken words cannot. The songs they sing on Sundays at church and at home teach basic gospel principles that can help the children learn to live their faith. These songs often come to their minds when they have choices to make about how to live their lives.
“I Will Follow God’s Plan for Me” teaches children that God has a plan for their lives and that choosing to follow it will bring them happiness in this life and in the next life. The song was originally called “I Can Follow God’s Plan for Me.” In the October General Conference, a world-wide meeting for Mormons, the international president of the children’s auxiliary, Michaelene P. Grassli, explained that “can” was changed to “will” to reflect the commitment they wanted children to make to living as God wants them to live. Knowing you can do something is not the same as actually doing it.
In this lovely hymn, children learn that their very lives were a choice, a gift from God who loves us and who cherishes our right to make choices for ourselves—not consequence-free choices, but choices. Mormons teach that after God created our spirits, He allowed us to live with Him for a while in spirit form. We learned about God and His plan for us and built a personal relationship with Him by being in His presence and learning from Him. He was able to observe our choices and our growth. We decided how important God really was to us and how much faith we had in His plan.
That plan involved coming to Earth, because children need to eventually leave home and find out how they really want to live. We’d gain a body, have trials and experiences, and make choices that would affect eternity. We agreed to all of this if we are here. It was a time to find God, decide whether or not following Him would matter to us, and then trying to align our lives to the teachings of God and Jesus Christ.
The song tells children their lives are a gift from God and that there is a purpose to it. They agreed to come to Earth and to “seek for God’s light to direct me from birth.” They learn that if they pray and work hard to live the way Jesus Christ asked us to live,” Then I will be happy on earth And in my home above.”
Life was meant to be a joyful experience—not trial-free, but joyful. We can choose how to view our trials and when we see them as an opportunity to grow and learn, we can be happy even when life is hard.
“I Can Follow God’s Plan for Me,” was written by Vanja Y. Watkins, who wrote the words and/or music for many LDS children’s songs. Watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing this hymn.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.