Saturday, October 31, 2009

Psalm 13

Psalm 13

I don't have any activities for Psalm 13 but I do believe Ted Sandquist once wrote a song to this Psalm. You might be able to track it down (and others) at
Global Worship Initiatives.

It's been a long time so I don't know if either he considers what he does "post-modern" or "emergent" but you can't help but love his music!

In the early '70's before I knew the Sandquists, I was part of a Christian folk group ((for a very short time and actually met the Lord there though I "grew up" in the church) in upstate NY. At the time that group (Kyiake)'s parent was a Canadian Christian teen folk group called Hakamu. Jeremy Sinnott was one of the group leaders. A couple of years ago I discovered that God has continued to use Jeremy's music internationally as well.

It's just interesting! The music of both worship music song-writers had a significant affect on my walk with God.

If you ever read this, "Blessings you guys!"

Friday, October 30, 2009

Give A Goat is a children's book about Heifer International.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just a reminder...

I'm guessing I've posted this before because I found it among my bookmarks but if not here it is. If I've posted it before this particular post is worth reading over and over and over again... from The Spyglass: Let the Little Children Come

Resource and Pondering

Side tracked again. Found this site this morning. Let's Teach Kids. What first caught my eye wasn't the book for sale (the caterpillar book) but another list of recommended books under it - books you can find in a library. Bibliographies are great! Even short ones. Besides, clowning, drama, and other tools the other idea/item of note is that they have very lifelike flannel/felt habitats. I only saw one for Bible stories. Turns out there are still alot of Bible felt sets out there.

Sometimes people come to EK looking for powerpoint/photo/images for Bible stories. (It came up in a post a while back.) Turns out if you find a variety of different felt sets and backgrounds to mix and match for different stories (the animal sets and habitats could be used, too) you would have movable pictures instead of just pictures. But some of you are burned out on felt. I understand. Some of you have progressed to powerpoint, CDs, and computers- media many kids are more familiar with.

Take some time and think about how kids interact with different resources and media. What's it growing in your kids? Stuffed toys or felt? Felt or powerpoint? Powerpoint or Cd? Ready-made, teacher-made or student-made? Make your observations. List strengths and weaknesses including cost. Look at the various learning styles, student backgrounds and experience, language skills, observation skills. Look at how a resource works or doesn't work.

Sometimes it works best to use materials that give a child opportunity to excel in their element - using materials and tools they love. Sometimes it works best to require kids to work outside their comfort zone. That will vary from child to child. Either way you can use a discovery/problem-solving approach.

Don't spoon-feed them. Spoon-feeding is for babies and people who can't feed themselves. Use materials that make kids work, that make kids think, that give kids opportunity to use their senses and their young spirits to figure things out, draw conclusions, and grow new skills. Use resources that cause kids to have to work together and communicate. See what God will do.

There are times for us to give kids our answers or the answers they're looking for. But there are times when our answers are our answers and sometimes answers mean more to a child if they figure it out or finds an answer his/her own self. Takes more time and patience on our end. Sometimes it has risks. Some kids will have to put any answer they find through the ringer.

Without letting them hang themselves, how do we let them find what they're looking for in such a way that it becomes theirs? Sometimes materials and tools are important. Sometimes they're not.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fun Catalogue!!

See! I had to get side-tracked. If you celebrate the upcoming holidays with gifts for the beloved young people in your life, check this out: I think this is one of those times when a hard copy catalogue is much more fun than the website. One of my daughters who is no longer living home (a free and independent young grown-up child) got the catalogue with our mail today. Since I started browsing through it a few minutes ago it has become one of my favorites! Probably because I found lots of old favorites. We can replace "Rush Hour!" Challenging alternatives to TV and computers -well suited for active, thinking, hands-on kids of all ages.

And if you home school, you GOTTA check it out e
ven if you're super conservative.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Who is this man Elisha? Part 4

2 Kings 4 (NIV) More stories about Elisha.

So the widow in the Oil Story (2 Kings 4:1-7) is the wife of one of the prophets in the company of prophets Elisha is part of. Apparently her deceased husband had been a God-fearing man but a man in debt. The widow cries out to Elisha that her dead husband's creditors are coming to take away her two boys as slaves. Elisha responds saying "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?"

She says "Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil." Apparently neither this woman, nor her husband were great business people. She's thinking small. Elisha is thinking big.

3 "Elisha said, 'Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few. ["Don't ask for just a few" He knows that about her?] 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side."[in the privacy of their house, not out in the open for everyone to see]

5 She left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another one." But he replied, "There is not a jar left." Then the oil stopped flowing. [Did Elisha know that the oil would keep flowing until there were no more containers? Is that why he said, "Don't ask for just a few." God was about to perform a very generous miracle. Did Elisha know that she needed to think "big" so God could provide "big"? Who was being "big-hearted"? Elisha? God? Both?]

7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. [She wasn't a business woman. She didn't know what to do with all the oil. Some women would have known exactly what to do. To some women he wouldn't have had to say, "Don't ask for just a few. They would have taken all they could get. He knew this woman or he knew people.] You and your sons can live on what is left." [I see God being very generous, here - not just helping her pay the debt so she can keep her sons but also giving her extra to live on.] Elisha was there for the wife and family of one of his company. He found a way to bless her despite herself and despite the mess her husband had left them in. He was caring for widow and fatherless.

2 Kings 4:8-37 NIV
-another story of Elisha and a female acquaintance

This is a well-to-do woman in Shumen. She urges Elisha to stay for a meal once and then extends the invitation to whenever he's in the neighborhood and he accepts. He comes often enough that the woman thinks they might as well just give him a room so "One day she says to her husband, 9"I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10 Let's make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us." Apparently Elisha didn't flat out tell her he was a holy man, somehow she figured it out and with her husband's permission they make a place for him to stay with them whenever he passes through. They extend to him a blessing of hospitality.

11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, [he had a servant] "Call the Shunammite." So he called her, and she stood before him. 13 Elisha said to him, "Tell her, 'You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?' " [Elisha spoke to the servant, not to the woman. Not sure what Biblical culture says about this. Was Elisha being facetious to offer to put in a good word for her to the king or commander instead of to the God he served?]

She replied, "I have a home among my own people."[Her response seems to be. Thanks, but I don't need anything.]

14 "What can be done for her?" Elisha asked. [Elisha persists. He's still looking for a way to bless her even though she declines the offer.]

Gehazi said, "Well, she has no son and her husband is old." [Is this something they think every woman needs or is Gehazi being particularly perceptive about this particular woman? Elisha is serious about blessing this woman. He's not taking her generous giving for granted. And he's not listening when she says, "You don't have to."]

15 Then Elisha said, "Call her." So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 "About this time next year," Elisha said, "you will hold a son in your arms." [This act on Elisha's part would make an interesting round-table mixed gender and mixed generation discussion. Ha!]

"No, my lord," she objected. "Don't mislead your servant, O man of God!" [Something she wanted too much to ask for? Too much to risk disappointment?]

17 But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.

18 The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. 19 "My head! My head!" he said to his father.

His father told a servant, "Carry him to his mother." 20 After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. 21 She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out. [I think I would have been really mad at Elisha about then. She didn't ask for the child to begin with and she definately wasn't asking for the grief.]

22 She called her husband and said, "Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return."

23 "Why go to him today?" he asked. "It's not the New Moon or the Sabbath." [Not too perceptive? She didn't tell him? He didn't ask?]

"It's all right," she said. [ I suppose the personalities of these two very different women would be another search adventure. : )

24 She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, "Lead on; don't slow down for me unless I tell you." 25 So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, "Look! There's the Shunammite! 26 Run to meet her and ask her, 'Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?' " [Apparently Elisha's caring for this family was something very real.]
"Everything is all right," she said. [But it wasn't.]

27 When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, "Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me why."[Again, perceptive in a tuned-into- people way. ]

28 "Did I ask you for a son, my lord?" she said. "Didn't I tell you, 'Don't raise my hopes'?"[Elisha, I didn't ask for you to bless me the way you did and now God has taken it away.]

29 Elisha said to Gehazi, "Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. If you meet anyone, do not greet him, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy's face."[So Elisha gives an order.]

30 But the child's mother said, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So he got up and followed her. [But Elisha goes with her.]

31 Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy's face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, "The boy has not awakened."[Gehazi followed orders. Nothing happened.]

32 When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. 33 He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the LORD. 34 Then he got on the bed and lay upon the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out upon him, the boy's body grew warm. 35 Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out upon him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.

36 Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, "Call the Shunammite." And he did. When she came, he said, "Take your son." 37 She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.

See what other observations you can make about this man Elisha.

In 2 Kings 4:38-41 (NIV) someone picks the wrong wild plant for the stew and almost poisons the company of prophets but Elisha comes to the rescue, yet again. Food, again.

In 2 Kings 4: 42-44 (NIV) a man brings Elisha 20 loaves of barley bread made from the first ripe grain and some extra heads and Elisha says, ""Give it to the people to eat." His servant wasn't convinced it was enough to feed 100 people. Food again.

"But Elisha answered, "Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the LORD says: 'They will eat and have some left over.' " 44 Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD." The Word of the Lord again. The people ate and had enough. A foreshadowing of what Jesus did, perhaps. I wonder if he was quoting scripture or whether it was a Word from the Lord for that moment.

Who is this man Elisha? Part 3

Elisha's story continues in 2 Kings 3

So the king of Judah, Israel, and Edom join forces against the shepherd king of Moab, they decide to take the route through the desert to confront the Moabite king who refuses to pay tribute to the son king they way he did to the father king. The entourage wanders around for 7 days and they run out of water which seems a little odd for kings from an area full of deserts. Maybe it just confirms what the Moabite king realized - that the younger wasn't the leader his father had been.

Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, asks if there is a prophet nearby that they can inquire of. An officer of the king of Israel suggests Elisha who " . . . used to pour water on the hands of Elijah."So Jehoshaphat acknowledges that "The Word of the Lord is with him," and the three kings ride off to find him.

from 2 Kings 3: 13- 27 (NIV)

Elisha says to the king of Israel, "What do we have to do with each other? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother."

The king of Israel [Ahab's son] answers, " was the LORD who called us three kings together to hand us over to Moab."

Elisha says, "As surely as the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look at you or even notice you. 15 But now bring me a harpist." [does it make you think of King David?] Elisha has principles.

He delivers the Word of the Lord. "While the harpist was playing, the hand of the LORD came upon Elisha 16 and he said, "This is what the LORD says: Make this valley full of ditches. 17 For this is what the LORD says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. 18 This is an easy thing in the eyes of the LORD; he will also hand Moab over to you. 19 You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town. You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones."Water again. Land again. And the King that the Kings came for.

God did what He said He would do. He confirmed the Word He spoke to Elisha.

And you can read about the battle and how God did what he said He would do. And how the Moabite king sacrifices his firstborn-next-in-line-for-king son. Or not.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Who is this man Elisha? Part 2

2 Kings 2 (NIV)

I was going to include the scripture with the comments but I'll just list the comments and you can go back to the story when you need to.

Elisha responds to Elijah's call and anointing by leaving plow, land, and his community to "apprentice" with an amazing prophet. And, apparently as the story progresses Elisha doesn't leave Elijah's side.

When Elijah tells Elisha to stay behind while he goes off to Bethel, Elisha goes anyway. He's not a yes man.

Elisha is part of a whole company of prophets. They know God is going to take Elijah and Elisha knows, too. They keep reminding him and Elisha says,"Yes, I know . . . but do not speak of it." It would have been enough for Elisha to say, "Yes, I know" but he says "but do not speak of it."

Elijah is off to Jericho. Again, he tells Elisha to stay behind. Again, Elisha goes anyway saying, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." Elijah gives in. We could go back and study Elijah to see if it's out of character for Elijah to do this.

Again, in Jericho, the company of the prophets at Jericho go up to Elisha and ask him, "Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?"

Again, Elisha says,"Yes, I know . . . but do not speak of it." Though some of us would be, apparently Elisha is not annoyed.

Again, Elijah tells Elisha to stay behind saying, ". . . the LORD has sent me to the Jordan."
Again, Elisha replies, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." Elijah could be getting annoyed now too but apparently not. Elisha sticks to Elijah like glue and the two of them walked on.

The company of prophets continues to follow them, 50 people, knowing God is going to take Elijah but Elisha sticks to Elijah's side. I think it's interesting that nobody seems to be doing what Elijah tells them to do. They all watch as Elijah takes his cloak, rolls it up and strikes the water with it. The water divides right and left, Elijah and Elisha (or everyone?) cross over on dry ground with Elijah.

At that point, Elijah says to Elisha, "Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?"

Elisha doesn't miss a beat here."Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit." Elisha didn't say, "Ah, nothing."Elisha knew exactly what he wanted from Elijah, and what he wanted God to do. He asks big!

Elijah says, "You have asked a difficult thing . . . yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise not." Difficult even for Elijah. Something he apparently has no control over.

It seems that Elijah and Elisha's camaraderie was more friendship than master/servant.

Elisha is separated from Elijah and sees Elijah taken and cried out, "My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!" Elisha lost someone he called "father'. He'd already given up his oxen, his work, his family, his living and then the one he left all those things for... Elisha tears his clothes.

But again, Elisha doesn't miss a beat. He picks up Elijah's cloak, goes back, stands on the bank of the Jordan, takes the cloak and strikes the water with it asking, "Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?" You could probably make even more observations about this and about God's response.

He didn't mourn for long. He takes his place with God and God gives him that very difficult thing he asked for. He didn't put it off. He doesn't wait days or weeks or years. When he struck the water, it divided and he crossed over just the way Elijah did not long before. Elisha doesn't lack confidence. He doesn't hesitate. There's no uncertainty here.

The company of the prophets from Jericho, who are watching say, "The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha." No question about it. No arguing or bickering or challenges. They go to meet Elisha and bow to the ground before him. 50 men, 50 prophets. Elijah's mantel has fallen on Elisha. What an honor! He was already anointed to follow in Elijah's footsteps. I'm wondering if their respect runs deeper than just Elisha being next in line.

The school of prophets offer to make a thorough search - to go and look for Elijah. They say, "Perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley." Is he really gone?

Elisha says, "No. Don't bother." But they go anyway.

I have to say that if obedience is a requirement for the school of the prophets seems like they all failed, lol! Elisha, apparently didn't need them to confirm that Elijah was really gone but they persisted "until he was too ashamed to refuse." What does that mean? Elisha was too ashamed to refuse? What does that tell you about this man?

So Elisha said, "Send them." Fifty men go searching for three days but they don't find Elijah because he's been taken. Elisha has no doubt about this but if everyone else needs to be convinced he says, "Fine. Go find out for yourselves..."

When they came back Elisha said to them, "Didn't I tell you not to go?" That's sort of funny.

Then Elisha heals the water. Elisha had stayed in Jericho. The men of the city tell Elisha, "Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive." Again, he does something to care for people. And perhaps, he's caring for the land, too. When Elijah first called him, he didn't sell his oxen or give them to someone as work animals. He used them for food. Now he's healing the city's water supply so the water doesn't kill people.

But this time, he speaks for God saying, "This is what the LORD says: 'I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.' God did that! The whole concept of water that's healed is interesting. And scripture says, 22 "And the water has remained wholesome to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken."

Food and water are essential to life. Seems an interesting role for a prophet. I'm trying to think if there were other prophets who took care of people's basic needs when they asked the way Elisha did, as opposed to God telling a prophet to say this or to do that as a sign.

So now Elisha goes to Bethel and a bunch of boys make fun of him. I always thought of it as a couple of young boys but not so. The scriptures call them youths. More than 40 teens. More than an average classroom of teens. A mob?

They say, "Go on up, you baldhead!" And they say it again. Remember how patient Elisha had been? He turns around, looks at the boys and curses them in the name of the Lord and it happens. Just like that. He didn't address them, warn them, tell them to go away. He just cursed them and it happened.

This is a prophet's curse. Two bears come out of the woods and maul 42 teen-aged boys and apparently no one protests. Why weren't they somewhere working? Where were their parents? Didn't Elisha just heal their water? Were they mocking his office? Were they keeping him from the work he had to do? We don't know. After giving to people, he curses a bunch of foolish, belligerent young men. Didn't Elisha travel with the respect after cleaning up their water? The little girl at Namaan's house knew of him and respected him.

He continued his travels to Mt. Carmel and Samaria.

These are just quick observations. You may come away with different observations. A group discussion gives you the advantage of many eyes and observations and training - not just the thoughts of one blogger.

Who is this man, Elisha? Part 1

So what if we do a random word study searching for "Elisha". (people seem to be coming to EK for craft and activity ideas for the story of Naaman.)

Here is a Bible Gateway word search for "Elisha". I didn't know there were names before and after Elisha that started with "Elisha-" I wonder what they mean. I wonder if Elisha was a "modern" version of the other names. Not sure about the chronology. I wonder if he was a descendant...

The Elisha we want shows up in 1 Kings 19:16. You could do a word study with his fathers' name. You can do a word study with the place name and learn more about where he came from.

I'm opting to retell the stories with observations thrown in - sometimes verbatim, sometimes not. I have 8 posts about Elisha and one about Character activities. I'll try to put up one post each day.

1 King 19 (NIV)

"15 The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. [Elisha was annointed at the same time as 2 kings who show up later by the way. He was anointed to succeed Elijah as prophet.] 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. [Annointed to put people to death? Not what I was expecting to find.] 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."[A God-given word of encouragement in the context of all this.]

19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. [Elisha is a farmer. He's working at farming when God calls him. He was plowing with 12 yoke of oxen. Was it an average number or was he wealthy? What does it mean he was driving the twelth pair? He was obviously physically strong. He worked the earth but this might be a cultural/historical farming question.] Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. [Elisha must have known what this gesture meant. Another historical/cultural question.] 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. [Apparently he didn't ignore it or take a few days to think about it.] "Let me kiss my father and mother good-by," he said, "and then I will come with you." [His family and saying "Good by" was important to him?]

"Go back," Elijah replied. "What have I done to you?"[Is Elijah saying "Go ahead. Go back." or is he saying, "Why are you following me, anyway?"]

21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant." [Elisha burned the plow he worked with to cook the oxen he worked with and gave it to the people to eat. Looks like he was done with farming and he wasn't coming back. He fed people. Is this like selling your farm and giving the proceeds to the poor?]

Characters in scripture

Here is another approach to learning and exploring the scriptures.

Assuming that the scriptures are God's stories (as opposed to man's stories) we quickly discover that each of the characters that God interacted with were unique. I tend to believe that the details that God includes in the scriptures aren't accidental or irrelevant.

We often read stand-alone Bible stories to children, especially to small children as appropriate. But as I've gotten older I find that reading all the scriptures you can find about one particular person that God used makes an interesting character study. It might be more appropriate for older kids or for adults, simplified for younger children. It might be fun to take one character and study him/her (making observations) as a class and then assign different characters to different people and have them come back and tell you the observations they've made and how they support with scripture.

The initial study might require more teacher prep than some lessons. You could use books that people have already written or pre-written Bible studies that focus on one character's life but what about reading the stories and just making observations 1) about the person God was interacting with and 2) who God was and how He interacted with that character.

I'm assuming that these weren't 2 dimensional storybook characters. I'm assuming these were real people but scripture is pretty clear that they weren't "perfect" people.

What if this person were a real person (or child) in your class or in your church? What would that look like? How did they "have it together"? How did they not "have it together"? What did they do? What didn't they do? What did God do?

What would be the value of this approach over other approaches? David is an amazing study but you have to be willing to acknowledge the good, and the bad, and the ugly. Some of which isn't appropriate for young children. If we're learning from the good and bad choices of others at what age do we learn and what do we learn about the people in our lives? At what age to we learn the fear of the Lord (the beginning of wisdom) and how?

Anyway....let your imagination run ... as long as it brings you back to worship at the feet of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - the God who started the story and interacted with these people in the first place . . .

Coming soon!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Another question

Shall I ponder activity ideas for other Bible Stories? Which ones?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

more resources . . . but I regress...

Yes, and we love Bubbles, Rainbow, and Worms, too!

They used to have a Math book, One, Two Buckle My Shoe.

And if your kids are learning to read but hate reading and love Math check out the Step into Reading series and Hello, Reader - Math series.

And then there's the Brown Paper school book series.

But I regress...these days there are a multitude of math and science resources out there for young children and early readers that aren't just focused on creating "genius" but making learning fun and meaningful by creating opportunities for a child's whole being to interact with their world.

Seasons: It's Fall

In the liturgical church there is a cycle of seasons that revolve around the life of Christ. If I recall the original intention was to make sure people were presented with key stories and passages of scripture over a three year period. Some people think there are lots of passages of scripture that are just as important that get missed but that's a separate topic.

When we were homeschooling I discovered this wonderful book for preschoolers called, OPEN THE DOOR, LET'S EXPLORE by Rhoda Redleaf (Redleaf Press, St. Paul MN/Gryphon House, Beltsville, MD). There's a second book out now - OPEN THE DOOR, LET'S EXPLORE MORE. They use field trips as an approach to learning for preschool/kindergarten. They go outside and explore a theme and go inside and do new words, observations & discussion, identifying, speculating, stories, songs, finger plays, science, art, craft, cooking, that all tie in. Nice resources, book lists, song lists, finger play options. Examples: After-A-Rain Walk. Animal Life Walk. A Garden Walk. A Tree Walk. Home Walk. Truck Walk. But I really love these books. The first one is harder to find but looks like it's been republished. You can find book 2. The 2nd book has some of the same material from the first book.

So it's Fall in upstate NY. Harvest time. Do you do an outside Sunday class once every season to explore God's creation and changes of season? Do you go outside in the rain and talk about Noah? There are other references to rain in the scriptures you know. Do you go outside in the wind and talk about Elijah? Do you go outside to explore God's seasons and God's creation to see what they will tell you about the One who made them? Finding references to snow and cold might be a little more challenging but I bet they're there.

I don't think it would take much to use books like these, even if they weren't intended for Sunday School if you want to add another dimension to learning about God and His stories. After all, who made the outdoors?

And for all the references to seasons in the scriptures there are facets of God to explore through the scriptures not just for preschool and elementary aged children but for pre-teens and teens and young adults and the middle aged and the very old. What can we learn about God and ourselves through the seasons God has created to continue until this world is gone?

God isn't 1 dimensional or even 2 dimensional. Add dimensions to the opportunities you provide when you're teaching people about God and exploring the scriptures. God didn't make us 1 or 2 dimensional either. My husband designs global computer systems. I don't understand Him but God made him. And to tell you the truth, there are things He knows and understands about God because of who he is that I don't know and understand. I know them better because of him but I will never be who he is or able to do the things he does.

If you explore knowing God and your eyes are on Jesus, I think you will discover new ways to worship Him, Lord and Savior, Father, Creator God. The awe when you see a cathedral that (despite ulterior motives) displays a rather awesome love of God when you consider the labor and resources and design that went into it . . . the skill of a creative God designing the mind of a genius. . . atoms. . . gravity . . . sunset. . . the awe in a child discovering a worm wiggling on a wet sidewalk in the rain, touching it - acknowledge God's amazing creative power. Talk about what a worm does and how it helps us. What do we do (or not do) to help worms. Do you know? I don't. Worms are important. They make air holes in the soil (can't spell airate). Maybe I should find out how to help worms do their job.

If life was supposed to be just about me or just about me and God or just about Man I wonder if God would have bothered making everything else. But that's just speculation, isn't it. He gave us something to take care of and said, this is good.... Be awed by the things that awe you. Be awed by the things that awe the children around you. "Wow! Where did that come from?" . . . as you get older and "better informed" if you go back far enough and push through all the theories like pushing through bushes and brush (beware of ticks) . . . I think you'll find yourself in a place where you can't help but worship God.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I actually went a whole month without a blog post. Did you notice? That's not the question.

Nobody ever responds when I ask but I'm going to ask anyway. I have no real reason to continue blogging beyond the random and occassional moment of inspiration. There are lots of wonderful Children's Ministry resources, websites and blogs out there. If you keep coming back to Emerging Kids, tell me why. Be specific. Email me if you'd rather not post but I'd appreciate the feedback. Thanks!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Trip to London and something to ponder

You were bored and needed something to ponder, right? Here you go.

We were in London UK end of Sept. Lots in the news pertaining to children.

How would you feel if everybody (not just professionals but friends and family . . . maybe not family, I don't remember and the only news article I found on line was in Scotland . . . ) How would you feel if every adult who cares for, carpools with, or otherwise interacts with your child
was required to have a government background check?

I'd be more worried about all the people those people come in contact with when the child is in their care than the friends I hand pick and trust.

When is it too much? It is but it isn't because we've lost a lot of the social controls that used to keep our kids safe and when, it would seem, kids had a whole lot more freedom. Those social controls weren't foolproof either but the lifestyle grew something different in kids and something relationally different. For better? For worse?

So at the same time we hear about this in the news (we have friends with 3 small children who live near London) they made the comment that it is financially viable to have one child with both parents working but once you have more it's not. It's better for one to be home. Wow! These are people who, when we knew them 15 years ago weren't sure they ever wanted a family. I found hearing both comments in the same conversation an interesting cultural/social contrast.

So what happens when the laws are in place but more and more moms (or dads) are staying home to raise and supervise their kids and spend time with their neighbors and need the regular trade offs and they know each other better than they know the professionals in their school? It's probably still not the same as families growing up together and living around each other for a couple of generations and sharing a similar value system. To think we never really know each other as well as what the government can find out about us is pretty scary. . . but I regress . . .

Even here in the states it's good to know what's happening legally. Home schoolers may have an edge on that - at least they tend to be very aware of laws that pertain to home and education. Support the things you care about but play the Devil's advocate so you don't get blind-sided meaning look at it from every angle before you support it. Think about the consequences - long term and short term.

I'm glad we made it to young adulthood at my house.