Saturday, August 17, 2013

Abstract Words We Take Granted

This morning at breakfast, my dad (a faithful Protestant church-goer for 85 years) asked,"what's the difference between grace and mercy? Are they the same? Both my parents have been active in their churches for their entire lives. So we looked up the meanings in my sister's AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE Noah Webster 1828.

When we read "mercy" - "tenderness" I got thinking about this blog and the early posts about giving kids "concrete" understanding of some of the words we take for granted, words that we need to have first hand experience with if we're to understand the scriptures (sheep, grape vines, stars...). Such nouns are multiple-sensory concrete words - multi-sensory associations if we've interacted with the real thing.

What about words like "grace" and "mercy"? Where in life, outside of church, will a child ever hear or use those words? How do we give them concrete meaning and association? Where are the stories of scripture that give them meaning? (Moses-humility, David-man after God's heart). Where are the pictures of what those "religious" words mean?

First, look up the definition. Read the stories of scripture that use those words. Then watch for them in real life! Did you ever see a child express mercy to another child? A kitten? A parent? Did you ever see "grace"? What other words do we rarely see in the "real" world?

Dogs aren't kids, kids aren't dogs but we teach a dog what a word means by attaching the word to the doing of the word. When you see it, name it! It's not about Suzie or Johnny doing this wonderful deed. Did you see grace when Will forgave Chloe for hitting him and invited her to his birthday party? Did you see mercy when Jamie brought us the first aid kit and held Ty's hand while we doctored his cut?

Pick one of those essential-to-the-faith-because-it-is-the-nature-of-God words and go looking for it. When you see it, name it and show it to a child.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

I've been thinking about this every time I sit and play gin rummy with my mom, a devout Presbyterian. She doesn't gamble - doesn't believe in it and I understand that the very concept of card playing is controversial but bear with me.

You are dealt a hand, given resources. Then you are offered more resources. You get to pick and choose whether or not you use them, save them, or get rid of them. Sometimes you work with a partner. As you do this, you may find that different combinations are worth more or less to you, depending on what the other folks use up, save, or discard...

Just a teachable moment that I'd never really thought about. My mom loves board games. Though it's gotten harder for her to focus, she still plays one card game. My kids love to play either... Me, not so much. When we 're small we learn about life through pretending and the games we play as well as our real life experiences...As we get older, play takes different forms. An odd way to think about stewardship, but I was thinking about stewardship.