The best lessons are not what goes on in my Bible class. The best lessons are what the children take with them when they leave.
Years ago I was teaching children about the Fruit of the Spirit. One young child was in total agreement with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. These were great concepts and he loved learning about them and exploring how they apply in church and in school and with his friends. But I’ll never forget his reaction when I mentioned that the Fruit of the Spirit should also be displayed to our brothers and sisters in our family.
This young man, moments before, had been enthusiastic when talking about these concepts in various other settings. Now, he looked at me in shock and horror and said, “What! This counts at HOME too?”
This child realised a truth that is for all of us. It is God’s intention that we apply what we learn to ALL parts of our lives.
Prayer Cards are one way to help children understand this important truth.
I was able to use these recently when teaching about Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery. As we explored the tense relationship between Joseph and his brothers I asked the children in my class to consider relationships with their own siblings. Even if we do not always get along we should want the best for them. One way to do this is to pray for them.
I supplied paper, scissors and pens. As we talked about our siblings we wrote their names on cards. In class we prayed for each one. Then, the children took the cards home so they could remember to pray for their siblings.
Yes, prayer counts at home, too.
Full instructions for prayer cards
In Egypt, Joseph became a slave to a man named Potipher. Potipher’s wife lied about Joseph so he went to prison.
While in prison Joseph interpreted the dreams of two prisoners (the former cupbearer and baker of King Pharaoh). The cupbearer was set free from prison and returned to the Pharaoh’s service.
When the Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret, the cupbearer suggested he call for Joseph. Joseph interpreted the dreams and Pharaoh was so impressed that he put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt.
Read more about Joseph and learn how to teach the story to children here: Joseph in Egypt and in Genesis 39:1-41:57.
Joseph was a man of integrity. He chose to live for God even though he was far from his family and living in Egypt, a land far from his home.
Children need to learn about integrity. Integrity is doing the right thing because you know it is the right thing to do. This means choosing to act or choosing not to act in a certain way even if there is no reward or recognition. Integrity is choosing to do the right thing even if no one is watching.
To help children apply integrity to their everyday life try the following idea.
Write situations on cards. Each child should draw a card and act out the situation on the card. The other children can guess what the child is acting out and explain how this relates to integrity. Here are some examples of what you might write on the cards:
- Integrity is seeing rubbish/trash on the floor and picking it up and putting it in the bin without being asked.
- Integrity is saying good things about someone when others are gossiping about them.
- Integrity is choosing not to watch a movie that you are not allowed to watch even when you are at a friend’s house and your parents would never know.
- Integrity is telling the teacher that you were playing by her desk and broke her vase while she was out of the room.
- Integrity is telling the truth even if it means you will get in trouble.
- Integrity is finding money on the floor at the library and reporting it to the librarian rather than putting it into your pocket.
- Integrity is replacing someone else’s property that you broke.
- Integrity is studying for the test and writing your own answers instead of copying someone else’s work.