David and I started a new study at church last Sunday about parenting and passing on a legacy of faith in your home. We've had the kids 2 months (as of today!) and the first 6-7 weeks were about survival--figuring out what they were trying to tell us, helping them learn to trust us, getting through the craziness of the holidays, figuring out schedules with Parent visits, school, naps, and all the other things we want to do. We're still working on all of those things, but we felt like it was time to be a little more intentional with how we share Jesus in our home, so when our church offered this class we decided to sign up.
We went to the first meeting last week and at the end they encouraged each family to try out one of their suggested family night activities. There were some geared towards preschool, some for elementary and some for pre-teens. So we chose one of the preschool activities.
Here are the steps listed in the handout for it:
Step One: Gather your children and ask them, “How could God be real if we can’t see Him?” After listening to their responses, ask, “Is there anything else we know is real but we can’t see?” If no one suggests it, you or your spouse can suggest “air.”
Step Two: Pull out a balloon and inflate it, but don’t tie off the end. Say, “Air is real enough to expand this balloon. I bet air has power too.” Release the balloon and let it fly around the room. Spend the next ten minutes helping your kids blow up the balloons and letting them fly around the house. Make a competition out of it and see who can make their balloon fly the farthest.
Step Three: After you’ve “flown” the balloons for a while, introduce this little slogan, “Just like air, God is there!” Take a moment to read Romans 1:20 and explain that although we can’t see God, we know He is real because we can see what He has made and the power He has in the world. Remind them, “God is real and has power, even though we can’t see Him.”
From the website www.itstartsathome.org
Here's the reality of how this activity went down in our house:
Step One: Realize you need to buy balloons for this activity. Since you can't ever go grocery shopping alone, take the kids with you and then get asked several times a day "why did you buy balloons?" "What are balloons for?" "Did you know I like balloons?" or some variation of those questions every day for the rest of the week
Step Two: Get to Saturday night with 2 sick parents and decide to push through and do the activity
Step Three: Ask the kids "How could God be real if we can't see Him?" 4 year old answers "because He's in the sky" and continues to repeat that, so then 2 year old says it too. Talk about how we can't see God but we can see His power. Bring up air. Ask "can you see air?" 4 year old tells you "yes!" so then go through several steps to help him understand that you can't in fact see air.
Step Four: Ask how we might be able to see the power of air. 4 year old says with a pump. Tell him we're going to blow up balloons. 4 year old asks where the pump is for the balloons. Blow up a balloon and then let it go as the steps outline and the kids laugh. Help the kids blow up balloons. Kids continue to let go of the balloons too early so they keep getting disappointed that it won't fly.
Step Five: Remember that even though the handout says to let kids fly the balloons for 10 minutes, your kids don't attend to anything for 10 minutes at a time. 2 year old hands you her balloon and says "all done." Tell the kids it's time to put the balloons away and talk some more. 4 year old whines but puts away his balloon. 2 year old screams in your face and then runs to her room to calm down, comes back out 30 seconds later. Ask 2 year old if she's ready to be calm, she responds by screaming "I blow I blow I blow." Remind her that we are all done with balloons for tonight. 2 year old screams in your face, you ask her to please calm down and use kind words, she runs away screaming to her room.
Step Six: Talk with 4 year old about the verse in Romans and have him repeat "Just like air, God is there!" several times. 2 year old decides to rejoin and be calm. She repeats some version of "Just like air, God is there!" Call it good enough.
Oh the reality of life with a 4 year old and a 2 year old!