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Teaching LOVE (1 Corinthians) to the Kiddos – Love Does Not Envy, it Does Not Boast

lovefinalpostWe 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.

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Teaching LOVE (1 Corinthians) to the Kiddos – Love is Patient and Kind

There are 5 kids in our blended family. Their ages are  10, 7, 6, 5 and 4. We have been a family for a little over one year. I have learned that a blended family definitely comes with its challenges. It is important to remember that each kiddo has come from a broken family and because of this, there is already emotional damage that they, as young kids, are trying to understand and deal with. They go back and forth from each family environment, deal with missing the other parent while away from them, and find themselves upset and questioning why their original family fell apart in the first place. Their hearts are fragile and tender and some of what they are feeling emotionally, they aren’t even mature enough to fully understand. On top of that, they now have a new family, new siblings and they have to learn to grow and come together, while only spending half of their time within that new family environment. This definitely is something that takes time.

The biggest challenge that we have been facing this past year, while becoming a family, has been in the love department. It has been a struggle having the kids show love to one another. As parents and step-parents there can sometimes be challenges as well. How do you deal with your own kids’ fragile hearts, while also connecting with and loving the step children with full compassion and empathy as well?

It has been difficult and my hubby and I decided that it is time to focus on LOVE! We wanted to do more than just lecture the kids. They are encouraged all of the time to share,  love, be kind. We decided to use 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 as our guide and  go over each separate section with the kids over a period of time. This would include discussing each section or verse, having specific prayers to coincide with each section or verse and using games and activities to also help teach the particular character traits to the kids.

ImageFirst, we found this free printable of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. (There are several colors and designs to choose from) We liked the chalkboard subway art version.  We ordered a 16X20 print at Walgreens and plan on hanging it up  in the family room where it can easily be seen.

Tonight we went over the verses with the kids. We read through all of them together and then chose to have tonight’s discussion and activities center around “Love is patient, Love is kind.”

Here’s what we did!

Love is Patient! First,  we went around the table and gave examples of what it means to be patient. We also shared some examples of what it is like to not be patient.

We then each said a quiet prayer, in which we focused on a family member who we felt that we were having a hard time with. Maybe we found ourselves angry with or bothered by that family member. Praying to ourselves, we asked for God to help us to be more patient with that particular family member.

We then discussed an argument all of the kids recently had. We discussed why the argument happened and how it could have turned out differently if everyone had been patient and kind instead.

rockcandyI then introduced to them the patience project that we are all going to do together the next weekend that they are here with us. We are going to make rock candy/sugar crystals…or as I like to call it, “Patience Candy.” This is a project that requires patience, as it takes several days for the sugar crystals to form. I found this idea on the Kids of Integrity website. AWESOME site. I also found an example with tons of pictures on the Jojobei Designs blog!

We then moved on to “Love is kind.” We discussed what it means to be kind and how we can show kindness to one another. I then introduced them to the story, How Full is Your Bucket? I was able to find the story on YouTube, so we all sat and watched it. The story focuses on how we all have an “invisible bucket” that is filled up when others are kind to us. This same bucket becomes empty as others are mean to us. When our buckets are empty, we become sad and angry. It can be hard to show kindness to others when our buckets are empty. The good thing is that we can help to fill up our buckets as well. When we are kind to others, that kind deed also helps to fill up our bucket. For example, when we share with our brother,  we add a drop into our brother’s bucket while also adding a drop into our own bucket.

I then gave each child an empty plastic container and showed them a giant ziploc bag filled with conversation hearts. The container represents their bucket. Each time they are kind to a family member, one heart is dropped into their bucket. This helps to emphasize that being kind to others, helps us to feel good as well. The goal is to fill up their container with hearts, each heart representing a kind deed, word, gesture. They will be able to compare their containers with one another and I am sure that it will become a bit of a competition to see who can fill up their container the fastest. Hopefully in the meantime, kindness will become a habit!

I plan on posting on each individual section or verse that we go over and share with all of you links to the sites I used for discussion, prayer and activities.

I would also love to know if you have done any sort of lesson or activity dealing with the love section in scripture. I would love your ideas.

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