"Mom, brother said he doesn't like that boy we saw at swim lessons."
Me: "You mean the boy whose eyes are different?"
"Yeah, I told him it doesn't matter how someone looks on the outside, it's the heart that counts."
Me: "You are so right. That boy could be the kindest, most loyal friend. You would never know if you decided you didn't like him because of how he looked."
"I also told him God made everything and everyone. God doesn't make mistakes."
Me: (Heart swelling, smiling big) "Yes, sweetie, God doesn't make mistakes."
My little truth teller absorbs his theological knowledge from either our conversations, church lessons, or his kindergarten teacher. In this particular case, I'm crediting his kindergarten teacher. The first day of summer I sorted through the large stack of papers he brought home from his teacher. In the treasure trove of wisdom I discovered this great teaching idea for the boys...
- 2 jars with lids
- construction paper (tape)
- 2 small plates
I grabbed two Bonne Maman jelly jars from my stash (remember how much I love these?). Then I cut some construction paper to wrap around the jar, using tape to secure the paper.
In one jar I poured some honey and in the other jar I poured vinegar. Before taking the jars to the table I screwed on the tops...so the boys couldn't see what's inside.
1) Ask your children if the jars look the same or different? Point out similarities (blue paper, red & white lid, made at the same factory, etc.)
2) Say: "Although the jars look the same, they are actually different." (watch their faces as they process this thought).
3) Read 1 Samuel 16:7:
"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
4) Have the children take turns opening the jars and pouring the contents onto the plates. They may try to guess what's inside. At first my boys thought the honey was syrup and the vinegar was water. Upon further investigation (taste & smell) they guessed correctly...and made some pretty hysterical faces.
5) Say: "When a jar is upset (or turned over), whatever is in it comes out. Until the jars were upset, they looked alike. The difference was inside, and could not be seen. When they were upset, their contents were revealed."
The same is true with us. Until we are upset we look good. But when someone upsets us/frustrates us/bothers us, we reveal our innermost thoughts and attitudes.
6) Read Luke 6:45: "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."
(If you want to listen to a song to go along with this verse, check out "Seeds of Praise", song #6 "The Mouth: Matthew 12:34")
7) Lastly ask the application questions: What if your brother/sister upsets you? What would flow out? Would you "reveal the 'honey' of grace and patience, or the 'vinegar' of anger and sarcasm"?
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8
Within minutes after doing this "activity" we had the opportunity to revisit the topic. Angry words yelled at his brother. Fortunately instead of my usual sigh and frustration, I simply reminded him of our lesson with the words: "honey or vinegar".