We have started on an adventure in 1 Corinthians with our kids, in hopes to encourage them to love one another better. Our plan is to go through portions of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, have discussions over each portion and take part in some fun games, activities and crafts to make it fun. Be sure to check out my previous post on “Love is patient, Love is kind,” which includes kindness heart buckets and patience rock candy.
After dinner last night we took some time to discuss the next portion of the love verses; “It does not envy, it does not boast.” We chose to teach these verses by focusing on contentment.
You see, it is easier to want what others have when we aren’t content with what God has blessed us with in our lives. Also, when we are constantly focused on our possessions, finding happiness in things, and continually wanting more, more, more, it is harder for us to let go of what we have, to give to others and to not feel the urge to boast about what we own.
Before we got started with our discussion, I took out a large, covered bowl. I told the kids that I was going to go around the table and pass something out to each of them. Without knowing what they were going to get, I asked them if they wanted a lot of what I was passing out, or if they wanted just a little bit. Four kiddos asked for “a lot” and one kiddo asked for” just a little bit.” I then gave each kiddo, who had asked for “a lot,” a pile of cooked spaghetti, making sure that their portions were very tangled. The kiddo that asked for “just a little bit” received just a few strands of tangled spaghetti. I then revealed a bucket of cotton candy. I told the kids that as soon as they neatly untangled all of their noodles, careful not to break them, they could then receive some cotton candy as a reward.
Of course the kiddo that only had a few strands to untangle was delighted. She was done very quickly and was soon enjoying her cotton candy, while the other kids worked diligently to untangle their spaghetti. Eventually all 5 kiddos had earned cotton candy. I should mention that one child ended up breaking her noodles, ripping them into pieces, to make them easier to untangle.
As they enjoyed their treat, I talked to them a bit about the noodles, relating the noodles to “stuff” in our lives. You see, the more stuff we have in our lives, the more we get consumed with it and the harder it is for us to disentangle ourselves from all that we own. The noodles were sticky and at times plastered themselves to the kiddos’ hands. Sometimes when we have a lot of things, we can even get into a habit of hoarding items, having more than we’d ever need, becoming stuck to our things. And sometimes when we have a lot of stuff, we are so caught up in it, that we don’t take time to enjoy the little things in our lives. Finally, when we are consumed with stuff, we end up appreciating what we have less. We end up mistreating our things or easily discarding our things for the next big thing. In our example, one kiddo quickly ripped up her spaghetti to get her hands on the cotton candy.
We talked about the story of the rich young man in Mark 10:17-27. We also discussed Solomon and the knowledge that he shares in Ecclesiastes. He was very wealthy. He had all of the money and possessions that he could possibly want, yet he soon discovered that it did not make him happy. In fact, having everything he wanted actually made his life hard and miserable. We read through Ecclesiastes 5:10-20, replacing the words “money” and “wealth” with things like Ninja Turtles, Monster High dolls and stuffed animals.
There was some insightful conversation, as we asked the kids what toys or things they want more of? How would they feel if they couldn’t have those things? Would they rather have gladness of heart or frustration? How would they feel if they had a yard filled with their favorite toy and all of the kids in the neighborhood came over and played with everything of theirs in the yard? Would that make them happy or sad? Would they be able to part with or give away their most favorite toy?
All in all, it was a great lesson and the discussion was fun. If you would like to study this topic for yourself or with your family, here are some other great focus verses: James 3:15-17, Proverbs 14:30, Luke 12:22, 1 Timothy 6:6-10, Proverbs 21:25-26, 1 John 3:17-18.