Friday, March 25, 2011

Toddlers & movement

Thought about you guys while I was sitting in a waiting room last night watching toddlers with their relatively short attention spans, leaning to use language and social skills (talking to a friendly stranger in long sentences but I couldn't understand the little guy - something about a truck out the window), moving moving moving. Walking, running, climbing.

Which says incorporate as much gross motor into your lessons as you can. Ok. An example? Like walking around Jericho 7 times.  Save all your churches Amazon book boxes and tape them closed which will give you big cheap building  blocks. Build a wall with the kids and tell the Jericho story or sing a song and march around the wall and then make it fall down. I bet you can do that at least 5 times and keep their attention.  Abraham walking, taking a long trip. What will they bring? Put it in a bag. Walk around the room a couple of times. "Oh, I'm so hot!" "I'm tired. Are you tired?" Where will they sleep? Make a tent. Go to sleep. Wake up. Fill the bag. Pick up the tent. More walking. That kind of thing.

Look at this week's Bible story and see if you can tell the story with movement. Lots of movement. Simple movement. Walk. Run, March. Stretch, Make yourself big. Make yourself little.  Fast/Slow, Tip toe,  Stop/Freeze. (You might have to practice that one.) Show them. Do it with them. Make it fun. Use movement in your story telling.

I'm not saying they will intellectually remember and be able to regurgitate what you're teaching them but they will remember the activity and they will remember the fun and they will associate it with church and God and maybe someday it will be another small building block as they grow faith.

Oh...remember...Toddlers aren't the only age group that like to move!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Remembering (revised)

As you're searching your memories, next time you go to Bible Gateway search for "remember."

God remembered Noah and the animals and His covenant with them.

God remembered Abraham when He destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah.

God remembered Rachael when she was struggling to conceive.

It will mean more to you if you go back and read it and ponder in light of remembering. If you keep track of the things God does for you, remember that God is remembering you. Not to mark God as everybody's houseboy but noticing and giving God credit is a way to honor and worship Him daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes moment by moment. Wow! Out of millions of human beings and generations of human beings, God remembers me!

Keep going with the search.

What does God remember through the scriptures? What do you remember? What does He tell us to remember?

As I started reading through those passages I got distracted as usual. I don't recall noticing Gen.31:49-51 (NIV) before. Laban, a God-fearing father, calling God to be a witness between he and his future son-in-law if Jacob ever  mistreats his daughters or takes other wives . . . just read it. Then go and read what happened in the lives of Jacob and these two women.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

So, my daughter and I were talking again about her memories. She's taken a long journey from faith through other things and back to faith and the scriptures. She was talking about things that shaped her faith. She can also tell you lots of things that totally turned her off to church.

We were talking scripture this morning before she left and I'm reminded that when we dedicated her the pastor prayed over her (or prophesized) that she would be a woman of the Word. For most of her teen years and into early adulthood I failed to see that. She's only met that pastor once. We moved when she was a toddler. If she runs into him again I asked her share with him that God is answering his prayer. Would you be encouraged if someone came up to you and told you that you prayed for him/her 30 years ago and God answered your prayer?

Here is an exercise for leaders, childrens' ministers, parents...maybe everyone in your faith community. We'll call it child sensitivity training or maybe toddler sensitivity training. Ha! Most of us probably don't remember back this far and it's probably a good thing but...

What are your earliest memories of something faith or church related?  At home or alone? In church or with a group? How did it affect you?

Name five more specific situations or experiences that shaped your faith as a child. How old were you? Recall as much detail as you can. How can it help you better represent God to children?

I shared with you the finger game, the book.  Here's another one. (Both sets of grandparents and my parents all went to the same church). I sucked my thumb for more years than you care to know. I remember being carried by one of my parents (probably my dad) and saying good-by to people after a church dinner waving good-by with the rest of my hand.

The doing with my hands, the rhyme, the book, family, community - just a couple of memories. Try it.
Thinking more about toddlers and story and naming... Adam came to this earth not with all the experiences of a grown man but as another new creature in a brand new world (I am not saying man is an animal, but God did make him), with enough language to name, with brand new senses. One of the first jobs that God gave Adam? Naming the animals. God let him name things.  If he called an ant Quigley, the ant's name was Quigley. It always amazes me that God gives us as much freedom as He does and that He gives us as much responsibility as He does. He is ever an awesome God.