Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Different Twist on Thanksgiving

I'm rummaging through my closet in the dark, using my fingers (not my eyes) to find something to wear and thought of you!

We take our God-given senses for granted until we lose them. Before I had cataract surgery I was using my fingertips to find clothes in a closet or drawer. How do you tell if something is clean if you can't see? Don't get grossed out. I'm just saying, that we take our senses for granted. Many Sunday Schools do a blind man's walking test to help make us better leaders and better followers. We can feel sorry for someone but that's not the point. They have strengths and abilities that we don't. We don't need them. We don't use them. The fact that human beings are even capable of growing such strengths and abilities is amazing. People who may be lacking sight or hearing or mobility draw on resources we don't draw on. They can do things that we can't. Man in particular, but every species, is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Sight: Divide your kids into groups of two or three. I like setting up a class so there is more participation and less waiting for turns. You will need one blind fold per group. Each group with have three pieces of clothes that feel different and three pieces of clothes that feel almost the same. Pick the T-shirt, pick the boy's dress shirt, pick the polo shirt. Set up one exercise that's particularly hard - three sweaters that feel the same but have different necklines or cardigan, V neck and pullover. Three knit shirts with different sleeve lengths. Three styles of shorts.

To appreciate hearing: watch a wildlife clip without sound. List all the things you don't hear. Then show it with the sound and see if you missed any sounds. Watch a real life movie (not animated) without the sound. Pick one that no one has seen before. Talk about it after. Watch it with the sound.

For taste and smell: pick some foods. Blind-folded, taste three cheeses that feel the same holding your nose. Taste them without holding your nose. Use three fruits that feel the same. See if you can tell what they are with just smell.  Use three leafy vegetables that feel the same. See if you can tell what they are with just taste.

To appreciate touch: when your kids come to class there is a new rule. You may not use your hands for anything.

For mobility: when your kids come to class there is a new rule. You can not walk or use your feet.

Go outside: Take the kids out when the seasons change. What's different? Individually or in groups, list all the things you see, all the things you hear, all the things you touch, all the things you smell, all the things you taste.

We need to make time to give thanks for all the things we take for granted. We have lots to be thankful for.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Emerging Kids started because I found myself part of a group of young believers who were launching something new. I was almost 50. I'd spent most of my life working with kids, mostly in church. It was a unique opportunity because we could take a moment to ask "Why?" Why are we doing this? What do the scriptures say?

Jesus said eternal life is to know Him. How will this activity help children and their families know God better - Father, Son, Holy Spirit - and believe?  How will it help us teach children to better love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, strength and to love their neighbor as themself?

That's where Emerging Kids came from.

Keep asking questions. Another project: Search the scriptures for the people who asked God questions... When your kids first learn to plague you with the question, "Why?" see where the word "Why" shows up in the scriptures: Old Testament, Wisdom Books, New Testament, Jesus, Paul. Who was asking? Who was answering?