Sunday, November 1, 2015

This Little Light of Mine

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... Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this. Esther 4:14

The world celebrates with witches and ghosts and worse, if there is such a thing. We either join in or try to change the tone to something less evil (let's call it like it is). But is there a way to be in this world and help our children not be of this world? If you homeschool, the answer is yes, but if, like most people your child attends a public school, it becomes ever more difficult to be separate from the world. I teach in a public school because God has opened that door of witness for me. The fall is a difficult time of year for Christian teachers and students because we are bombarded with Halloween. Though jack-o-lanterns have a less than perfect history, they are one thing I can use to create a positive situation. I center my unit on fall farm with pumpkins as the highlighted crop. Of course Old MacDonald gets his place with the animals as well. We get to learn about the night, moon phases, constellations, and nocturnal animals. You know, bats and owls. All of these things, pumpkins, animals, bats, owls, moon, even chilly weather are all part of God's creation and need teaching in a positive way. In my classroom, The Five Little Pumpkins don't say "there are witches in the air". I take the liberty to change the words to "there's a chill in the air". See, it goes right along with fall, not ghouls. 

The day the school celebrates Halloween, we carve a pumpkin. We measure the height and the circumference before we slice into it. When the pumpkin is opened, my pre-K class does all the yucky faces about the "guts". So. I allow each child to reach in and take out the yucky stuff. They then have to count the seeds. The students choose the shapes we will use to carve the face but we discuss the smile; scary, sad, happy, funny. Here is where we discuss that the pumpkin is like us. Is there yucky stuff in us? Does it make us happy or sad? Are we sometimes angry? How do our feelings affect others? If we take the yucky stuff out and replace it with good things, how do we feel? Do we smile or frown? Are we happy or sad? 

Our conclusion is that when we take out the yucky stuff inside of us, then we smile. Our pumpkin gets a smile as well. We add a candle to our jack-o-lantern because just like us, when the yucky stuff is out, our lights shine in our eyes and in our smile. Scholastic has a version of This Little Light of Mine that works well in my secular situation. It shows a girl who helps, takes turns, and shares. Isn't this the way Christians first begin to show others that Jesus has taken out our yucky stuff and replaced it with His Light? Do not our actions speak far louder than our words? 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Hey Kids:
If you carved a pumpkin, I doubt you hid it under a bushel. You probably set it out on the porch or by a haystack or scarecrow. You probably lit a candle for all your neighbors to see. Do you think your neighbors smiled when they saw your pumpkin all lit up? 

Think about ways you can demonstrate Jesus' light. Can you be a helper at school and home and at play with your friends? Can you take turn with your siblings and friends? Can you share your toys with others? You may want to keep a journal of drawings and/or writings of how you felt and how others felt when you let your light shine. 

If I sneaked a peak at your journal, I would probably see a lot of happy faces and stories. Would you allow us the privilege to see a few ways you lighted your world by posting a picture or story?

Blessings and thanksgivings this week,
Gail

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