Act Well Thy Part

Reinforces this week’s Primary Sharing Time Theme:
Living the gospel helps me to be a missionary now


Proverbs 20:11

11. Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.



“When President David O. McKay was a young missionary in Scotland, he was homesick, discouraged, and low in spirit. As he walked down the street with his companion, he noticed an inscription chiseled in a stone lintel of an unfinished building which read, ‘What E’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part.’ From that moment, he began to act the part of a good missionary and became a great one. This was a learning experience that helped him in numerous important callings he received later in life.” (Cherished Experiences from the Writings of President David O. McKay, comp. Clare Middlemiss Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1955, p. 174.)


“You are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More than that, you are here as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.” David O. McKay

“May we learn what we should learn, do what we should do, and be what we should be.” Thomas S. Monson


What does “What E’er Thou Art” mean? (Discuss ideas. Emphasize that it means ‘What ever you are.’)

What are some of the different roles we each have? (Discuss ideas. See activity below for ideas.)

How can we apply the inscription, “What E’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part” into our lives? (Discuss ideas.)

How do our actions affect those with whom we associate? (Discuss ideas.)

What are some of the things we can we do to act well our part? (Discuss ideas.)


Mother curled up on the couch after putting the movie into the DVD player.

Bobby peeked into the family room. “What ya watching, Mom,” he asked.

Mother paused the movie, “It’s our new movie about the prophet, David O. McKay,” she answered.

Bobby counted on his fingers as he sang the song, “Latter-day Prophets,” to himself. “David O. McKay was the ninth president of the Church,” he proudly stated.

“And,” Mother added, “he was the Prophet when I was growing up.”

“Wow, you’re old,” Bobby teased. “Can I watch it with you?”

Mother patted the seat next to her on the couch. “I’ve got a seat saved for you right here,” she beckoned. “If you don’t mind sitting next to an old lady,” Mother said with an exagerated shaky voice.

Bobby giggled and sat next to Mother on the couch. “I love you, Mom,” he whispered.

“I love you, too,” Mother cooed. “Did you know that my grandfather was from Scotland? Just like David O. McKay’s.”

“Really? Did he wear one of those skirts?” Bobby queried.

“The skirt is called a kilt and I really don’t know if Grandpa ever wore one. But, I do know he loved the sound of the bagpipes, just like President McKay did,” Mother answered. “Did I ever tell you about the time Grandpa took us to see the Scotish play ‘Brigadoon’ at the Valley Music Hall. After the play ended they announced that President McKay was in the audience and when he stood up and I saw him in person I had an overwelming feeling right her in my heart,” Mother said patting her chest, “and I knew without a doubt that he was a prophet of God. Then,” Mother continued, “they played a special song on the bagpipes for him. President McKay stood through the entire song and when they were done he thanked them and told us that ever since he was a small boy the sound of the bagpipes had stirred his emotions and had done so again that day.”

Bobby snuggled next to Mother and whispered, “I hope I get to see the Prophet in person, someday.”

Mother hit the play button on the DVD player.

When he heard the story about how David O. McKay said that he wasn’t going to go on a mission when he received his call, Bobby felt his heart tweak.

“Where do you think the Lord will call you to serve?” Mother whispered to Bobby.

Although Bobby was only a boy, he had thought often about the prospect of going on a mission and he didn’t want to go either. “I just can’t leave my family for two whole years,” he would tell himself, but he would feel guilty for not wanting to serve.

“I’ve never thought about where,” Bobby answered truthfully.

Maybe you’ll be called to the Scotland where my grandfather was from,” Mother said, “Just like David O. McKay was called to the home of his ancestors.”

Bobby shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe.”

The words, “Well, David, this is your choice…you pray about it,” echoed through Bobby’s head, “Pray about it, pray about it.” Bobby had never thought about praying about it.

Bobby closed his eyes, “Heavenly Father, please help me to not be afraid to leave my family and serve a mission when I’m old enough,” he silently prayed.

Bobby opened his eyes and read the inscription on the T.V. screen, “What e’er thou art act well thy part.”

The impact of these words on Bobby was extraordinary, just like it had been on Elder McKay.

“I’ll do it. I’ll go on a mission just like President McKay did.”

When the movie was over Bobby promised the Lord that he wouldn’t wait for his mission call to “Act well his part.” He would start today!

After dinner, Bobby cleared the table without being asked and then offered to read a bedtime story to his little sister. At the grocery store he helped a stranger by putting away her empty cart. At school he befriended the kid nobody liked. At church he listened reverently and he always looked for opportunities to share the gospel with others.

Now, when doubts about going on a mission try to push their way into Bobby’s mind he pushes them away by saying these words; “I am a child of God and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I will always do my best to ‘Act Well My Part.’”

by Margie Nauta Lee

Activity idea:

"What E'er Thou Art" Puzzle

This enlightening and informative puzzle activity will help you teach your little ones to know how to ACT WELL THY PART in the many different roles they will have in their lives.

Treat idea:

"Act Well Thy Part" Cookie Bars

This cookie bar stone melts in your mouth, but it’s motto is rock solid!
Your family will be the architects of this stone! Have fun chiseling symbols into the frosting of this delicious COOKIE BAR.

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