Kids, Survival Skills, and God

Kids, Survival Skills, and God - Parenting Like Hannah
Planting a piece of ginger

Did you know 870 million people on this earth suffer from chronic malnutrition and hunger? Or that 30,000 people die each week because of illnesses related to drinking dirty water? Untold others are exposed to illness due to a lack of knowledge of basic hygienic principles.

Have you ever tried to learn something new when you felt awful? Hard to do isn’t it? Millions of people need to hear about the Gospel and God’s love for them. Even if they have the opportunity though, many feel so ill, they must have a hard time hearing or comprehending what they are being taught.

Years on the domestic and foreign (short term) mission fields, have made me passionate about always connecting service and sharing God’s Words with others. I believe there are very few times when the people we meet don’t need both. They need us to show them God’s love by serving them and then teach them how to respond to that love by obeying God’s commands.

There are lots of fun ways to help your children learn to teach important survival skills to those they minister to here and around the world. Today I taught children about the Creation story. We focused on the day plants were created and how God made the plants first so the animals and man would have things to eat.

The children were even more excited about the activity than I thought they would be. I taught them how to use kitchen scraps to grow free food for their families. We planted the root ends of spring onions, one clove out of a head of garlic and a portion of a ginger root.

The children learned that by constantly re-planting the roots every time their moms cooked with spring onions, their mothers could have a constant supply of free onions. One clove from a head of garlic would produce an entire head. A piece of ginger would produce a never-ending supply of ginger. (There are more you can use. Check my Pinterest board for more ideas.)

The kids were thrilled they could supply food to help their families. They now have a hands-on activity to remind them of the Creation story. They learned to remember how God provides food for us and provides ways to find food even when there is no money (We talked about eating dandelions and other “weeds”and wild foods as another possibility. Make sure you caution children about poisonous plants and getting help from an adult who is trained before eating any wild plant. None of these kids had been taught poke weed berries were poisonous even though they were within sight of where they live.)

These were children in the U.S. who theoretically would have a social safety net to prevent starvation. They loved the idea though of working in their own way to help provide food for their families. I would imagine in other countries, the activity would be even more valuable.

I have known missionaries who have used all sorts of survival training to teach people health skills, ways to obtain safe drinking water and ways to provide their own food.  When your children show an interest in learning survival skills, encourage them. They may never need to use them for themselves, but they could be preparing to teach them to others on the mission field in the future. (Make sure you discuss ways they can connect their skills back to teaching people about God.)

What special survival skills have you taught your children that they could share with others? How could they teach them about God as they teach them to improve the quality of their lives? I would love to hear your thoughts in a comment below.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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