Children are like kites
You spend years trying to get them off the ground.
You run with them until you are both breathless. They crash ... they hit the roof ... you patch, comfort and assure them that someday they will fly.
Finally, they are airborne.
They need more string, and you keep letting it out.
They tug, and with each twist of the twine, there is sadness that goes with joy.
The kite becomes more distant, and you know it won't be long before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that binds you together and will soar as it is meant to soar ... free and alone.
Only then do you know that you have done your job.
Alphabet Soup Game
Grab a packet of alphabet soup. With your family find the letters to spell out the Lord’s Prayer together, or the names of the four gospels. Alternatively, have a race to spell your names or some other words. This game works best when the alphabet soup has been soaked in water. Messy but fun.
These questions are to stimulate a sense of openness, sharing and discovery about your family. The key is to listen!
What is your favourite time of the day? What makes it special? Do you have a favourite place to be during the day? Why do you like it? What is your favourite place in the whole world to be? What makes it special?
Have you ever wondered how lead is put inside a pencil? How do you think it is done? Do you really care? What ordinary things have you ever wondered about?
What is the best gift you have ever received? Who gave it to you? What was it for? Why did you like it so much?
Write down these sentence starters and put them in a bowl. Pick one out each night and ask your family members to complete the sentence.
With your family read John 9.1-41
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/to-god-be-glory.html
Discuss with your family what was interesting about the story or what made you think. What did the story tell us about Jesus? Try using some “ I wonders” that emerge from the story (I wonder how the blind man felt when he was healed? I wonder what he thought about the Pharisees questions? I wonder what it would be like to see for the first time?)
For 51 years Bob Edens was blind. He couldn't see a thing. His world was a black hall of sounds and smells. He felt his way through five decades of darkness. And then, he could see. A skilled surgeon performed a complicated operation and, for the first time, Bob Edens had sight. He found it overwhelming. "I never would have dreamed that yellow is so...yellow," he exclaimed. "I don't have the words. I am amazed by yellow. But red is my favorite colour. I just can't believe red. I can see the shape of the moon--and I like nothing better than seeing a jet plane flying across the sky leaving a vapour trail. And of course, sunrises and sunsets. And at night I look at the stars in the sky and the flashing light. You could never know how wonderful everything is." (From Max Lucado, God came near.)
Prayer and Celebration
We are now in the Season of Lent, the forty days preceding Easter Day. This is traditionally a time of repentance (saying sorry and turning from sin). The resources for prayer and celebration for the next six weeks will focus on ways your family might “celebrate” well this season. Lent is a good time to focus on God’s care and provision and on our dependence on him, but also on saying sorry.
Cards are made, and on them are the names of people and things that are really important to the family. It may just be photos of family members; it may include particular projects or things that have a focus in the family, for example a certain missionary, or World Vision child, or a major event coming up, or particular people who are in need of special prayers. These cards are placed in a special bowl or pot. On any one night, three cards are taken out and used as prompts for conversation or prayer. Children who are learning to pray might be given sentence starters like:
One of the profoundest ways that we might share our love of Christ and our love of life with others is not through words but through our loving actions. Here are some suggestions for your family to share with those who live around you.
Invite another family who you are friendly with to church followed by a BBQ.
Bake something for your neighbours – maybe biscuits or a cake. (Do you know your neighbours? Where I live, I have had six sets of neighbours on one side in the space of five years.)
When you see people moving in, why not invite them over for some food or take a cake or biscuits over to them or some cold drinks.
If you know of an elderly or chronically ill person who is having difficulty with their garden, why not get your family to adopt them. That is, regularly (as a family) go and mow the grass, weed, clean up and maybe plant some flowers.
Cook a Meal Together
This week, why not get your children to help you cook a meal or something special like a cake or biscuits? It could be as simple as putting the toppings on a pizza or mixing something in a bowl. With older children, why not get them to help you make something more complex? Make it a fun time, put some music on and don’t worry too much about mess. Enjoy eating whatever it is you cooked together.
(This material is based on and draws from earlier Faithful Families emails by Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning: An Unless Ideas Production.) Unless otherwise noted all material on this blog is copyright Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning