Gains in gentleness
Gains in gentleness
Inspired by one of the hands-on options on the Gentleness lesson, we went to the humane society (instead of a petting zoo). Our city has a beautiful facility where you can go into various rooms and play with cats and dogs. Ben wasn’t totally comfortable, especially with a larger, bouncy puppy that obviously had never had a gentleness lesson himself! We did a reverse teaching and asked Ben to take note of how he was feeling (e.g. anxious and unsure) around something else that wasn’t being gentle. It was a good reinforcement. Meanwhile, Jessi was happy to hug and pat and scratch and play – all in a very gentle way.
While our gentleness quilt is growing nicely, we’ve found two difficulties with it (one of my own making). I have no idea why I chose a 10-by-10 format requiring a total of 100 squares! Rob and I are finding it a bit much to award that many quilt pieces (the kids are showing more patience than we are). If we did it over, the number of squares required to complete the quilt would be more in the 50 to 70 range; lower if we wanted to finish the lesson in a week.
The second issue revolves around the difficulty of pinpointing instances of true gentleness in order to award squares. Benjamin and Jessica generally get along fairly well, so by definition their normal behaviour is relatively gentle. How then does one differentiate between positive, normal actions and a super-conscious effort to act in a gentle manner? Sometimes, we can tell the kids are actually thinking about the current lesson. Other times, the line blurs and we still reward them for other types of good behaviour (e.g. patience, self-control, etc.). Does that make any sense? Is there anyone out there who has encountered the same difficulty? Please tell us how you handled it. Meanwhile, our kids are just happy to be getting squares and we are finding them remarkably effective for keeping things calm around here. Maybe a larger quilt wasn’t such a bad idea after all?
Rob did the “Gentle Heating” hands-on option yesterday. He chose to use a rock instead of salt to represent a heart that is hard to God’s leading. And he used the microwave instead of a lamp; we’re all about making things easy! (Yes, he actually microwaved the rock, too.) The kids responded well to the soft chocolate/hard stone analogy, but I could see the Bible verses were a bit much. Jessi didn’t understand the history behind the verses and it can be hard to explain to a four year old. So, for little kids, I’d leave out the verses and just talk about how God wants us to have soft hearts.
In hindsight, I think we should have talked more throughout the two weeks about God’s quiet tenderness. All kids need to grow up knowing that their heavenly Father is the King of gentleness – the kind of Father they can run to in any situation. We’ll keep praying that He will reveal His incredible gentleness to all of our children.