Thursday, October 25, 2018

Hand Down the Faith with "Mystery Bags" - What Comes Out When You are "Squeezed"?

Childhood certainly has its wonderful times . . . those moments when our grandchildren are able to try and learn something new. The time they caught tadpoles and were able to watch them grow, or hold a baby bunny, or catch fireflies on summer evenings at their grandparents' home. The times when they just played with abandon. And, of course, the times when they snuggle with their grandma and enjoy a book together or help her bake cookies! Wonderful, memory creating times for sure!

But, childhood and growing up will also have difficult, even painful times as well. Those times when they may not feel like they have any friends and the times when they struggle to learn something new. It is essential for us to do all we are able to do to "fill our grandchildren with love". There is an old question we should be asking our grandchildren and this question fits wonderfully with a "Mystery Bag" activity.

You will need paper lunch bags - one per grandchild, zippy bags, one per grandchild, a large bowl or container, water, crayons or markers and sticky notes. Put a zippy, sticky notes and crayons or markers in each paper lunch bag and have a container of water handy. Give each grandchild a "Mystery Bag" and have them open their bag. Tell them to fill their zippy with water - about half-full, then zip them closed.

Ask your grandchildren what will come out if they squeeze their zippy. They are likely to think this is an obvious answer and will say, water. While they are correct - and it is an obvious answer - the actual answer is; "Whatever is inside." 

Let each grandchild squeeze their zippy bag over the large bowl - they will see and experience the water coming out of their bag . . . some towels might be handy at this point!

Set aside the "Mystery Bag" items and talk with your grandchildren about how in this case, water was indeed what came out of their zippy bags, but if they had other things in them . . . pudding, paint, powder, etc, those are the things which would have come out when they squeezed their bags. Whatever is inside is the thing which will come out.

Talk about how this is true with them as well. If they are "squeezed" - annoyed, frustrated, perturbed, etc, whatever is inside them is the thing which will come out. Ask them what is coming out if they yell, become angry, disobey or lash out when they are "squeezed". Then ask what comes out if they are gentle, loving, kind, obedient when they are "squeezed".

Share the following verses with your grandchildren . . .
  • John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
  • Romans 8:35-39 - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Jeremiah 31:3 - The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
  • Psalm 103:8 - The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Talk with your grandchildren about how if they are filled with knowing God loves them, when they are "squeezed", God's love is what will come out of them. Ask them what it will look like for God's love to come out of them - be sure to talk about how they will be kind, loving, gentle and obedient!

Have your grandchildren get the sticky notes and crayons or markers out of their "Mystery Bags" and ask them which verse they liked the best - have them write it on their sticky note . . . if your grandchild is too young to read, draw simple illustrations to help them remember the verse - hearts, stick people, happy faces, etc. Encourage your grandchildren make a few copies on several sticky notes and then help them think of places where they might put them; places where they will see them throughout the coming week - on the wall next to their bed, so they see it when they get up and when they go to sleep, in a locker at school, on a book cover, by the bathroom mirror, etc.

Encourage your grandchildren to remember and be filled with knowing God loves them. And, remind them how much you love them as well!

When our grandchildren are able to experience how God loves them and will never turn them away from them or be too busy for them - and the same is true for us, they will better understand - and believe - how much they are loved. Make time for your grandchildren today and connect with them in person or through tech. Help them be "filled" with God's love - it matters! 

#grandmas #handingdownthefaith #itmatterswhatwedo #grandparentingonpurpose

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