Pesky perseverance problem
Pesky perseverance problem
During our week of holidays, we were extremely blessed to have been offered the use of a friend’s condo. She happened to be away on vacation; hence, we had the entire place to ourselves. A lovely three-bedroom unit with all the luxuries of home sure beats a barren hotel room, so we all wanted to express our gratitude for the generous offer.
The kids eagerly set about making cards. Benjamin wrote a lovely, detailed description of our vacation. Then it came time to draw the picture he saw in his head. It was to be a tropical scene with wild animals and jungle vegetation. The palm trees and vines turned out well; everything else went seriously downhill. There was so much erasing and crying, I thought the paper would never survive the friction and the flood of tears. Wise, calm words about persevering were met with wailing and gnashing of teeth. The boy got himself into such a perfectionistic, self-destructive frenzy that it took over an hour to get the card finished and him settled. Was he overtired after a busy week? Yes. Do we all still need to learn to persevere even when we’re at the end of our rope? Yes. This was a less than pleasant lesson but valuable nonetheless.
On one of our relaxing, unstructured days, Rob decided to take the opportunity to teach from the Bible about perseverance. Noah’s ark (“A Persistent Builder”) seemed a good place to start. I wasn’t there to hear it, but he later said that the kids didn’t seem terribly engaged. Was it because it is such a familiar story? Or because Rob interrupted their play? Whatever it was, the level of appeal seemed low no matter how he tried to draw them in.
At an appropriate point, Rob switched over to the Hands-on Option called “Body Parts Working All Day, Every Day.” As he explained the verses from 1 Corinthians, he found himself struggling to link the concept of each person being given different gifts to the main topic of perseverance. Even in the lesson itself, there’s more talk about honouring God than there is about persisting. Rob didn’t think about telling the kids that we need to persevere to build our gifts, and we also sometimes need to persevere while working at something we may never be really good at. He did, however, go back to Noah and his family, who each used their talents to complete a long, difficult project in obedience to God.
It’s frustrating when the teaching times elicit half-baked responses from the kids, and we can tell they are simply tolerating us. Why can’t we make the Bible more fascinating . . . intriguing? Their interest only seems piqued when it’s a brand new story they’ve never heard. Is this just an age and stage? Have you found any effective ways to make Bible stories come alive to your kids?