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Children and Family Resources

CREATIVITY– Character Materials for Children & Families

Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

 

Contributed by Trudy Pettibone
Bible Teacher, Cincinnati, Ohio

February 12, 2002

I. WEEKLY READINGS BASED ON THE “I WILL” ACTION STEPS

CREATIVITY vs. UnderachievementApproaching a need, a task, or an idea from a new perspectiveI Will:

  • Use my talents for good.
  • See things from more than one perspective.
  • Use principles to solve problems.
  • Learn all I can.
  • Look for new ways to be a person of character.

Following are some scriptures for encouraging children in creativity. Reading can be done by the child, if older, or can be done for the child. Activities should be done together and, as much as possible, should be full-family activities. If the Scripture is given as one block, break it down into small segments to fill the entire week.

Week One: I will use my talents for good.

Dorcas, Acts 9:36-39 In Dorcas’ time, probably many people could sew. Dorcas, however, did not sew just for her family, but for other people who needed her help. God blessed Dorcas not only by giving her the appreciation of the people she helped, but by extending her life so she could continue to serve.

Barnabas, Acts 9:26-28; 11:23 Barnabas is called the encourager. He had the talent of being able to help people at difficult times in their lives. That is what he did for Paul. Paul was not accepted by the church until Barnabas showed love for him, setting the example for the others. Barnabas was given a wonderful ministry in the new church.

Joseph, Genesis 39:4,5 Joseph seemed to have the talent for solving problems by being very organized and efficient. He pleased God by his good service, and so God blessed Joseph by giving him a good reputation with his master.

Hannah, 1 Samuel 2:18-21 Hannah had waited a long time for a little baby. When Samuel was born, Hannah gave him up for the Lord’s work. Samuel lived in the temple with Eli, and once a year Hannah would use her gifts to make a special coat for him. God honored Hannah’s faithfulness by giving her more children.

David, 1 Samuel 16:16,23 Even though he was a shepherd, David was also able to play the harp. David was chosen to play his harp for King Saul, who sometimes was very upset and needed to be calmed down. When God’s spirit could bring peace to Saul, he was able to be a good King. David’s talent helped Saul be the best person and King he could be.

Memory: Matthew 5:15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. When God gives you a special talent, be sure you use it and do not hide it.

Activities for the Week: Encourage your child to learn more about his or her special talents. Can they draw, sing, tell jokes or make things with their hands? Help them to understand that God has given them this ability and there will be a way to use that talent in God’s service. Help your child explore ideas for how he might be able to use his talent.

Prayers for the Week: Ask God: (1) to help your child discover their special talent(s); (2) to help your child develop his or her talents; (3) to give your child a commitment to developing his talents; (4) to show your child how she might use her talents in God’s service; (5) to help your child always remember that God gave the talents.

Week Two: I will see things from more than one perspective

The daily texts for this week are extensive, so you may want to study the entire text and paraphrase segments for each day’s study. As a whole, the text goes from Acts 10:1 to Acts 11:4, and then, after the story is repeated, picks up again in Acts 11:17,18.

Acts 10:1-6 Cornelius was what the Jewish people called a Gentile. The Jews did not believe that Gentiles could love God enough to be a part of God’s Kingdom. Even the new believers in Jesus thought only Jews could believe in Jesus. Simon Peter was a Jew, and it was very unusual that a Gentile would go to a Jew’s home.

Acts 10:9-16 Peter was a very faithful Jew. Jews did not eat certain foods because they thought they were unclean. Peter could not understand why God was telling him to eat the unclean foods shown in the vision.

Acts 10:17-23 As the Gentile men sent by Cornelius approach the house where Peter is staying, God tells Peter to welcome the men. As if this were not strange enough for a Jew to do, the next day Peter leaves with the Gentile men to go to the home of Cornelius.

Acts 10:24-29 God is teaching Peter to look at things from a new perspective. Peter now understands the meaning of the vision about unclean foods. God loves everybody, so we should all learn to love everybody. Peter is learning that Gentiles can be part of God’s kingdom.

(Acts 10:35-42 (Be sure to read this just to help you understand Peter’s perspective.)

Acts 10:43-48 Peter now has God’s perspective: that everyone who believes in Jesus can be saved. The Holy Spirit falling upon the people is a confirmation that Peter has the correct perspective. The Gentiles received the Holy Spirit just as the Jews did (Reference: Acts 2).

Acts 11:1-4;17,18 Some of the other believers did not have the perspective that Peter now had. They thought Peter had sinned in going to the Gentiles. Peter told them what had happened. These men were able to see God’s perspective through Peter’s word. Since Peter faithfully followed God, God changed his perspective and allowed others to have a new perspective through him.

Memory: Matthew 7:2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. We need to look at things from the perspective of others as well as ourselves.

Activities for the Week: Explore some physical ways of changing perspective, so the child can understand the concept of mental perspective. Help the child look at things from the front, back, upside down, through colored glasses, etc. During the week, choose some occurrences that can be looked at from more than one perspective. Help your child to explore the different ways an event can be considered. Help your child see how attitudes can be changed by looking at situations a little differently.

Prayers for the week: Pray (1) that God will give your child an open mind to see other people’s perspectives; (2) for the ability to consider other perspectives before speaking or acting; (3) for the wisdom to recognize how a different perspective may have affected a situation; (4) for the love to respect people with other perspectives.

Week Three: I will use principles to solve problems

The Three Israelite Boys: Daniel 1:7, 2:49 Here we are introduced to the three young men who will be our focus this week. These boys were taken captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. We do not know their ages, but they were probably teenagers or young adults. They were put in very important positions. As we will see, they faced a difficult situation, and used certain principles to deal with it.

Daniel 3:12-14: People who did not like the captives from Jerusalem were jealous of the three boys and wanted to get rid of them. So they “tattled” on the young men because they did not worship an idol the king had built. The king became very angry because they did not worship his idol. He ordered that they come to him and tell him why they did not worship the idol.

Daniel 3:15-18: In these verses the boys bring out the principles that control their lives: (1) They serve the God of Israel and do not have to answer to the foreign king; (2) because they serve the God of Israel, they can not bow down to the king’s idol; (3) their God is great enough to save them from anything the king can do to them; and (4) even if God does not save them from the punishment of the king, they will still not worship his idol, but will continue to worship the God of Israel. The young men are very bold to say these things to the king.

Daniel 3:19,20: The king had liked these young men before, but now he changed his attitude toward them. He ordered that they be thrown into a very hot oven.

Daniel 3:25-27: When the king looked into the oven, he saw four people walking around. God had saved the lives of the three young men, and was even in the oven with them. When the young men came out, they did not smell or look like they had been in fire. God had saved them because they continued to serve him, even though it could have cost them their lives.

Memory: Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. If we present our concerns to God, he will give us the wisdom we need to consider all the principles involved so we can rightly evaluate the situation.

Activities for the Week: Explain to your child that principles are rules or factors that govern situations. Take a very simple situation, such as a child getting dressed, and explore the principles which are involved: the child needs to wear clothing (and reasons, such as warmth, modesty); the parents have provided the clothing; the child has learned how to put clothing on; the child has preferences in clothing choice, etc. Throughout the week, help your child to understand principles involved in different things that happen.

Prayers for the week: Ask God (1) to help the child understand how situations are affected by different principles; (2) to help the child evaluate good and bad principles; (3) to give the child patience to consider principles when making decisions; and (4) to enable the child to recognize the principles that may be involved in specific situations.

Week Four and following: I will learn all I can (so that I can) look for new ways to be a person of character.

We have combined these last two action statements because they go well together. Learning is how we develop character.

Samuel, 1 Samuel 2:26, 3:1,19 Samuel was a small child when he was brought to the temple. He was a priest apprentice. That he grew in favor with God and man means that he was learning to love God and was also developing character, which helped him get along well with others. Because Samuel wanted to learn all he could, God honored his work, and the people listened to what Samuel said, because they knew God was with him.

Mary, Luke 10:38-42 We know very little about Mary, except that she had a brother Lazarus and a busy sister named Martha. Mary wanted to learn everything Jesus had to say. By following Jesus and learning what he had to say, she could become a better person, a person of character. The words Jesus spoke can help us even today.

Jesus, Luke 2:46-52 When Jesus’ family was ready to return home from a feast in Jerusalem, Jesus was not with them. They found him in the temple, the place of Jewish worship and learning. Jesus was learning and teaching at the same time. How he must have amazed the elders with his understanding! As previously with Samuel, we are told that Jesus not only grew up physically and intellectually, he grew in character that was pleasing to God and man.

Paul, Philippians 3:4-7 Paul is remembering back before his conversion. He thought his life was exactly where it should have been. He did everything just the way it was supposed to be done. He would have said that God loved the way he lived, but Paul had a lot to learn. Acts 9:3-8 God did not want Paul to kill the new believers. God would teach Paul what he had to do. Acts 9:15,16 God loved Paul, but he had a different plan for his life than the one Paul had. God would give Paul a new life, and make him a person of character by following Jesus. Acts 9:19-22 By joining with the church, Paul learned about being a Christian. He became one of the early church’s greatest leaders, and his writings teach us how we can live lives of character for Jesus.

MemoryProverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel. . . .

Activities for the Week: If your child is in school, he (she) may think he gets all the learning he needs. Help your child to see that we can never stop learning, not on weekends, not during summer vacation, not even when we grow up. Explore the different sources for learning: experience; books; television; other people’s example and teachings, etc. Review some of the things the child has learned in his life and how he learned those things, i.e. tying shoes, reading, feeding themselves, being quiet in church. Discuss with the child some of the things he will learn, good and bad, as he grows up. Help the child determine what things may not be so good, and what things will help people to become people of character.

Prayers for the Week: Help your child seek God’s direction in (1) discovering different ways to learn; (2) developing a love for learning; (3) desiring to always be a person of character; and (4) never allowing conceit to develop because of learning.

 

II. OBJECT LESSON IN CREATIVITY – WALKING IN DIFFERENT SHOES

Setup:

Theme: Different perspectives. Scripture: Ephesians 4:2. Teacher materials: Fill a bag with a variety of shoes that different people might wear, i.e. mountain climbing boot, tennis shoe, ballerina shoe, football cleats, fancy dress shoe, etc. (or shoes representing different nationalities).

Introduce the Lesson:

God made many different people. We all have different ideas and ways of doing things. When we are being creative, we will learn to understand all the different perspectives that people might have.

Present the Lesson:

Pull shoes one by one from the bag. Ask: What do you think a person who wears this shoe might do (or where they might live)? How is this person different from you? Does God want you to love this person? Do this with each of the shoes.

Conclude:

Read the scripture. Explain that when we are humble and seek God, he will help us understand the perspectives of other people and love them.

Pray:

Ask God to help children understand perspectives of others and love them.

III. THE BIBLE STORY FOR A CHILDREN’S CHURCH SERVICE

Bible Lesson:

Balaam and his donkey. Scripture: Numbers 22:1-38. Have several older children read parts of the passage. (This story will be greatly enhanced if you have visuals.) As we learn about being creative, we learn to look at things from lots of different perspectives. Have you ever thought about looking at something from the perspective of a donkey? That is what the man in our story had to learn to do. Lets listen and hear how God brought about this wonderful incident.

Long ago, people who lived in a land called Moab thought that a man named Balaam could make good things –called blessings- or bad things—called curses—happen to people. Balaam could speak these things and the good or bad things would happen to the people. The king of the country of Moab did not like the Israelites, who were God’s chosen people. Do you think he would have wanted to bless or curse these people? Let children respond. The king asked Balaam to curse God’s people but Balaam asked God and God told him not to do it. Then the king promised Balaam lots of money if he would curse the people. This time when Balaam asked God, God said he could go, but only if he promised to say whatever God told him to say. So Balaam got on his donkey and began to ride to see the king.

God sent an angel to get in Balaam’s way on the road. The angel stood in the road with a sword in his hand. Balaam did not see the angel, but his donkey did! The donkey walked off the road to get away from the angel. Balaam got angry at his donkey and hit him with a stick so it would get back on the road. When the donkey got back on the road, there was the angel again. This time the donkey moved against a wall to get away from the angel. He smashed Balaam’s foot against the wall. How do you think Balaam felt about this? Let children respond. Balaam beat the donkey again, but when he went back onto the road, the angel was there again. So the donkey just sat down on the road. When Balaam hit the donkey again, God had a wonderful thing happen: the donkey started talking. Can you imagine a donkey talking? The donkey said, “What have I done that made you hit me three times?” Then another strange thing happened: Balaam answered the donkey: “You made me look foolish. If I had a sword, I would have killed you.” After the donkey responded to Balaam, God opened Balaam’s eyes and he saw the angel with the sword. He understood the donkey’s perspective and the reason why the donkey had gone off the road. Balaam apologized to the angel, and the angel told him to go on his way, but to be sure to say the words God would tell him. So Balaam went on to the king, but instead of cursing God’s people, he blessed them.

Closing Prayer:

Ask God to help children to look at things from different perspectives.

 

This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.

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