We’ve been having some wonderful times in the big, sunny classroom in the upstairs right hand corner of Laws Mennonite Church. The LITTLES and I have been working our way through the Spring Quarter of the Shine Curriculum that has been produced by MennoMedia for early childhood. I have enjoyed the ideas and lessons put forth there, but often it is a spring board for my own take on the lesson, or ideas as to what we can do with the particular lesson that is proposed for a given Sunday.
Two weeks ago, we had the lesson about the birds, and how God cares for the birds. Part of the lesson was what Jesus said in Luke 12:6: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” I looked into their open, beautiful faces after we had sung our opening prayer, and I told them the story of God’s wonderful care over the birds. We talked about how five sparrows were sold for two “pennies,” and I asked them why they thought that someone would sell sparrows. Of course, they had no idea. And so I told them that in Jesus’ day, people were terribly poor, and they would buy sparrows to eat. And they could get these five sparrows for only two pennies and it would give them a little bit of meat for their hungry tummies. And then I went on to emphasize how God said that He noticed each one of those sparrows, though they were worth so little money, and how he noticed when even one of them died, and that Jesus said that we weren’t to ever be afraid or think we weren’t important, because we are worth MANY sparrows. And He watches over us and cares so much for us.
I had made them each a sheet of paper with the cutout of an outline of a child on it, had gone into my photos, printed out a picture of each child and cut out the face to fit on each paper and had printed, “I am special to God” at the top with their names on the bottom. Middle Daughter and I had come up with a bag of fabric scraps that I took along to class. And so, we talked about how special each child was to God and they each picked out some fabric and we cut out clothes for each child’s outline and glued the clothes onto the picture.
And what a mess that was! Second Oldest Girlie wanted a dress, Oldest Girlie wanted a shirt and jeans. Oldest Boy was observant and chose carefully, but then scribbled his face into obscurity while Youngest Boy didn’t much pay attention to anything except to use his glue stick indiscriminately over the whole thing. Then Oldest Girlie got way too much glue on her paper, and made a terrible mess, Youngest Boy wanted to get up and find something more interesting to do, and it was pretty wild in there for about 15 minutes. All the while, I kept coming back to the lesson, about how special they were to God, and how God cared for birds, but He cared even more for them! (There was much exclaiming and goings on about this principle while I tried valiantly to stay ahead of each child’s requests for help and to finish in time.)
And then the first bell rang. “What about my snack??!!??” Wailed Oldest Boy, looking in dismay around the cluttered table.
I took a deep breath, looked at where we were in finishing up, and said, “Okay, kids, let’s get things put away and you can have a quick snack. We don’t have much time, but if we help each other, we can get this all done!” And they helped remarkably well. (When there is a snack coming, it’s easy to be motivated!) And before I knew it, things were cleaned up, they were munching on fruit snacks and pretzels and drinking their juice. It was a good time to review the lesson.
“Okay, kids,” I said cheerfully, sure that they would easily remember the lesson. I mean, I HAD been reviewing all morning. “What was our lesson about this morning?”
My question was met with blank stares. They looked at me, they looked at each other and then there were shrugs and general dismissal of the question. But I didn’t want to let this go. We had an important lesson and I thought they should remember!
“Can you think?” I asked, just as brightly. “What about the sparrows? What did Jesus say about the sparrows – – – ?” I left the question hanging in the air expectantly.
And then a hand shot up.
“Oh, I know, I know,” said Oldest Girlie. “The poor people ate’m!”