Want a fun project to do with your children over Thanksgiving, which will also teach them real appreciation? Have your children draw a turkey on a sheet of paper – they can use their handprints to make the turkey or draw one from scratch.
After the turkey is beautiful, it is time for some fun. Brainstorm with your children to think of people who have been helpful to your family or your child this year. It may be a neighbor, friend or family member, but you need to know where they live.
Write a note on the turkey drawing to tell the person why you are thankful for them. Make the note personal and heartfelt. It is up to you whether or not you want to sign your name or make it a surprise. Attach it to a bag and fill it with little goodies to thank them. If you are leaving it anonymously, you may want to put in a box of cocoa, wrapped candies or a small gift card. If you sign it, you can leave home baked goodies and more personal, rather than store bought items.
When Jesus told the people to love others as they loved themselves, I imagine most of them thought, “That one is easy”. On the surface, I would imagine most of us think of ourselves as being kind and helpful the majority of the time. Jesus was really asking us to go beyond that though. I think when you put this command with others in the Bible about caring for our neighbors, widows, orphans, the poor, our brothers and sisters in Christ and a host of others, there is a deeper message.
A large part of caring for others is the ability to be empathetic. It is entirely too easy to accidentally become like the other people in the story of the “Good Samaritan.” How many times have we walked by someone who is sad, either assuming someone else would take care of it or not even really seeing the person or her pain? We need to train ourselves and our children to see the hurting people around us, identify how they are hurting and then help them in the best possible ways. I believe developing a strong sense of empathy can make us more like the loving Christians Jesus was really calling us to be.
Most children seem to collect something or several somethings during their years at home. Many adults continue these collections or add new ones. There must be something about human nature that enjoys collecting things. I don’t think it is necessarily motivated by greed, because there are some rather strange collections out there. My guess is that it has more to do with the “thrill of the chase” or the excitement of accomplishing a goal.
Collections can teach your child a lot of godly lessons. She can learn how to manage her money well, how to care for things she has been blessed with and how to be a good steward in general. Many children start out collecting rocks, stamps, coins or other every day items. What if we encouraged our children to start a different kind of collection? One that would still fulfill many of their collection needs and teach some additional godly lessons.
This is Blush. Blush is being trained by Canine Assistants to become a service dog for someone with a disability. So why did I have a speaker from a secular organization come speak to the children during Bible class today? Part of our class each week is spent learning about the felt needs of various people in our communities. The children are learning how they can help meet these needs and then share the Gospel with those they help.
The church helps many people all over the world with various felt needs. In some areas though, the world has organizations to meet felt needs that the church does not. The great news is that Christians can become involved in volunteering for these groups. As productive volunteers, we can influence the other volunteers, workers and the people the groups serve by showing them God’s love. I believe God can also provide opportunities to share His Words with them or invite them to worship with us.
One of my favorite things about doing service and mission projects at church is to see how many people I can get involved and excited about what we are doing. Many people will jump right in and busy themselves going about God’s work. Others may be a little more reticent (like Gideon or Moses) at first.
I have learned something from old Tom Sawyer and his fence painting escapade though. If you make serving God and teaching others about Him fun, others will jump in and start participating before they even realize it. Often these are the same people who might tell you they are not gifted for that work, or maybe they will say that particular work is just not “their thing”. Children may tell you they are too grown-up for such baby stuff. Try a little Tom Sawyer on them though and they will surprise themselves.