When was the last time you were curious about something? I mean really curious; the kind of curiosity that compelled you to get off the couch, or out of the office to go and earnestly seek out the answer; the burning desire to “know” that enticed you to look around the corner or walk down the untravelled path.
How energising is that quest! How thrilling and satisfying is the answer once found!
I never want to deny a child the chance to feel that energy, thrill and satisfaction. In my rush to GIVE information I must first allow children an opportunity to actually WANT it.
An Expectation of Curiosity
God draws children to himself through their curiosity. I love how he prepares the Israelites leaving Egypt for future questions their children will ask.
In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?”tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Deuteronomy 6:20-21, NIV
Notice he says “when” your son asks you and not “if” your son asks you. God knows children will be curious.
Curiosity Comes from God and Leads to God
God does not want us to feel the satisfaction before we have answers because he is the answer. Only God can satisfy the curiosity and longing children (and adults) feel.
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. Psalms 63:1, NIV
The Bible is filled with interesting and attention-grabbing stories that children can easily relate to. Before sharing a Bible story I will often share one small part of it as a “teaser”. Here’s a fun and effective activity to try next time you teach children. Keep Them Guessing is a simple activity where children are provided with items as clues to guess what comes next.
The photo at the top of the page is by Mikhail Kryshin downloaded via Flickr. Use licensed by Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/
I have to be honest, Halloween is not exactly my favourite holiday. But one thing I really like about it is what happens afterwards. After the big rush (and sometimes even before) there are all sorts of skeletons on sale!
Why is this a good thing, you might ask? Why would I need to stock up on skeletons and stow them away in my closet?
I love to tell this story of hope. This vision has the vital elements needed for a dramatic story. The kids love the “creepy” image of dry bones lying all over a valley. They can relate to how Ezekiel must have felt when the bones began rattling and coming together. Tendons and flesh formed on them and finally God breathed his spirit into them. If Ezekiel was hopeless because his people were in captivity he could finally understand how God had the power to bring a nation back to life.
Teaching Items in Post-Holiday Sales Bins
As a teacher I am always on the lookout for items that will help me share God’s Word in ways children can best relate to. No one has to spend a lot of money or buy new things to teach children about God. But if you live in a place where after-holiday sales provide extremely cheap items then this may be a great opportunity. What are the holidays where you live?
Creche and manger scenes (angels, wise men, animals, Joseph, Mary, Jesus, the manger itself), pictures of Jesus as a baby, stars and spices like the wise men brought. The obvious uses are for stories such as The Birth of Jesus and Wise Men and a Star.
And I like to have a few plastic eggs on hand throughout the year so I can put verses or pictures inside and let the children hunt for them. They are also great for telling the story of death, burial and resurrection of Jesus with Resurrection Eggs.
In the rush to find scissors and glue we should not neglect the natural supplies God has provided as teaching resources.
We do not teach alone. We join the Master Teacher, the Creator, who is already using his creation to draw people to Himself:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4, NIV)
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20, NIV)
A student I supervise, Cristy, recently encouraged a group of teachers to bring God’s teaching resources into our classrooms. Cristy sent a group of teachers outside the building to find and bring back items that teach about God. (She only allowed them 3 minutes!).
Here are the types items these teachers found:
A leaf to illustrate the waving of the palm leaves when Jesus entered Jerusalem in his Triumphal Entry.
We thought this might be more of a challenge when we taught the same workshop in Metro Manila (Philippines). The church building we were in was surrounded by a parking lot devoid of plants and next to a busy street. Still, when Cristy sent the teachers out they quickly adapted and came back with a wonderful collection of both natural and other teaching items including items such as:
Pointing out God’s creation when we teach brings a profound richness into what we are sharing. In the years to come children may forget a picture used for illustration or a worksheet. But, for the rest of their lives they will continue to see leaves and stones and soil. Connecting these things with spiritual lessons now will mean that the lessons will be reinforced over and over.
I can just imagine the future when one of my students, as an elderly person, picking up a stone and telling his or her grandchild about how the stone was rolled away from the tomb.