In this fortnight of book GiveAway’s we won’t be failing you with this one… We love reading the parables together and we were so surprised to find a Bible Story with an African twist. We so totally love reading and exploring heaps of books but I have noticed one’s that peak my kids interest often have an African flavor, the place names tend to just roll a bit better… it is where they are from and familiar turf!!! Anyway we received a lovely book for review that we really wanted to share with you, it is the story of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10: 25 – 37:
Reading the parables with children often requires a delicate touch… much as they hear the story, mine certainly don’t always see it anything other than literally!!! Because this book arrived on my desk we have been talking a lot about the good samaritan this week and I thought I would jot down se7en + 1 steps to raising a good samaritan:
- Read about it: We always start a parable study by reading it in the bible. A bible story book is great but the bible is the place to start. I would love for my children to grow up feeling comfortable reading their Bibles… it is a special book, but not so special that it should remain untouched. When it comes to their personal Bible reading we use regular old Bibles… no flashes, no whistles, no arts and crafts and no pretty pictures. While I want them to be comfortable reading their bibles, I also want them to know that Bible study is just that – study, which means a little work!
- Talk about it: We talk about our bible readings over breakfast. It is a good thing, especially when reading the parables. We talk because to be sure one child will suggest that: “We look out for someone who has robbed and left for dead without their sandals on the side of the road.” I have to say that this is not something we have ever personally experienced!!! So a little discussion is called for to apply many of the parables to their lives. Yes we often see people who need help and we need to be the ones to help rather than the ones to look the other way and hope that someone else helps in our stead. We certainly need a little discussion around our table!!!
- Draw and write it: There are lots of coloring and sunday school craft ideas available on the web… but I usually get my kids to draw a picture of the parable or to rewrite the story in their own words… and we pop those into their writing journals as a reminder to what they have learnt about.
- Dramatize it: We have only been doing this the last year or so but my kids love it and the story really does stick if they can act it out. Somehow acting it out really makes them think about the folk involved and about their personalities… We have used finger puppets and paper puppets but nothing beats the real thing and getting their “whole-selves” involved. Suddenly the folk that neglected the ambushed victim in the Good Samaritan take on a whole personality when they have to act them out… and walk past either ignoring him or too proud to help him. I have found we have to read the story a few times and then still discuss it to get the presentation they want to achieve… All extra learning without any effort.
- Live it out at home: One lesson in the Good Samaritan is to serve others no matter who they are or where they are from. The best place to begin to learn how to serve is at home. Children learn by emulating us, this is a hard one, I know the grim faced mother who is mopping the bathroom floor for the tenth time in a morning is not the best example of service. A little attitude renewal on my part can really help the learning experience!!! Also little people love to help and it is our job to enable them. Yes it takes a little longer and often the resulting chaos seems a lot like “Was it worth the effort?” But I have to say that it is… chores are essential to our kids learning to serve. You can encourage your kids to learn and have fun doing chores and more than that to look for ways to serve others over and above their actual designated jobs.
- Live it out amongst friends: Encouraging your children to serve amongst your family friends and their friends is the next step really. I try to make sure that when we help a friend out that we do it together. If we make dinner for the neighbor, then I make sure that we make it together. We live in a world where everyone is getting very comfortable with saying “no.” In fact your friends will say, “I would love you to say no if you can’t do a particular favor.” I want to say “yes” and I want my children to learn to say “Yes, they can help” too. Often when a person asks for help they are already at the very end of their tether… to then say no because it is inconvenient is just awful. The trick is to learn when friends need help and offer it before they have to ask. Just drawing a picture for one of the lonely grannies, from the old age home, at church may well be the act of service that she needed.
- Live it out amongst strangers: Now the good samaritan wasn’t helping a family member or a friend, he was really going the extra mile for someone he didn’t know at all and someone, who “by rights” should have been his enemy. This is such a good lesson to teach our children – we are so taught to look the other way… “It’s not my problem” is very often the normal cry. In our country where we are confronted with so many different cultures and social groups… it is so easy to say: “They are not one of us…”. The trick is to serve folk in all circumstances, every day. Yes you can take your kids on a mission trip once a year, but you actually need to find ways to serve every single day. On a boiling hot day let your kids give the guy on the corner a cold drink. On a freezing day take the man in the parking lot a hot coffee… it isn’t a lot and it may not change the world but it is service. When the township kids stop outside our house on the way home from the beach give them a loaf of bread – yes, my kids may have wanted a sandwich for an afternoon snack, but they need to know that this may be all that the street kids will eat that day. If you find it hard to find ways to serve other communities in your everyday life then get creative – our kids need to know that serving others is a way of life.
- Teach your kids to live it out gracefully: Ha! Leave the hardest thing until last… We all have a problem receiving help from friends… it may well be pride!!! I know for myself, asking for help is nearly impossible… and I almost always wait for it to be offered and even then will stoically refuse it!!! The trick is not just to receive help but to receive it gracefully. I have to model this for my kids, to learn how to say thank you when someone offers us a ride somewhere or when we get invited out. Our car is an eternal source of training for us. After months without it we finally got it back a couple of weeks ago only to burst a tyre while driving over the mountain on Friday night… on the coldest, wettest, darkest night of our winter so far. I had to call on a friend for rescue… and they went way further than the extra mile for us and then even a little further!!! It is easy to be grateful for things like that… but how grateful… their Friday night after a long week at work was pretty much ruined… I am incredible grateful for their service and their friendship. Much as I would love not to have a car, God is still clearly using our car to train me – to ask for help when I need it and to receive that help with joy!!!
And the se7en + 1th Idea:
Back to the GiveAway book: The story is set in Malawi… where the local taxi rank provides the cast of players. A fast proud car that cruises past the crash site, the far too busy prayerful taxi that couldn’t stop and help and then Brother Bus… slow and steady offers to help the poor little cab that drove into the corn field. This book was written by Jonathan Newell and illustrated by Helen Kellock, their purpose was to write a story that resonated with contemporary African children… a story filled with the everyday things of their lives, like mini-bus taxis. The end of the book has a couple of questions about the bible story, to help the readers think about what they have read about and to check that the children have understood the story. This little book would make a fabulous Sunday School book to read with your class and it is a book that kids can really relate to.
This GiveAway works in the usual way, just leave a quick comment and you have until the close of play on the 17 June 2012, to enter. We will draw and publish the winner on the 19 June 2012 I won’t respond to your comments as I do on our other posts because I don’t want to be included in our own giveaway.
Our GiveAways are open to everyone: If you have won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away. And all our GiveAways are World-Wide – so no excuse – leave a comment and enter away!!!