A couple weeks ago our family took a short weekend trip to a nearby lake and stayed in a lake house owned by some dear church members. Paul and I desperately needed some "vacation time" after school let out and this was the perfect opportunity for us to get away and spend some good quality family time.
We got to the house and the first thing the kids noticed was the chess board....so....I taught them to play chess.
I bet they played chess more than 50 times over the weekend. They played with each other, they played with Paul and I. Sometimes they won, sometimes they lost. It was wonderful to watch them play such a thoughtful game and enjoy the company of each other while doing it!.
We watched a lot of Animal Planet and Softball in the evenings. We fished. We did NOT catch....
Paul also had an idea to spend some concentrated Bible Study time as a family. So he used our last name as an acrostic and drew the concepts out of some familiar stories in the Bible. The kids were really excited about this (actually)! So the first night we went through the first two letters of our last name.
Paul taught us the story about David and his friends being taken into Nebedchadnezzar's kingdom. ...you know the one....
David had to be BRAVE to ask the guard to serve him and his friends different food. He also had to be RESPECTFUL when he asked the guard because if he were rude or disrespectful his request might not have been granted.
The kids really grabbed ahold of the concepts...maybe a little TOO well! They started correcting each other throughout the day saying, "that's not respectful" and "just be brave and go get me a drink".
The next day was the story of the good Samaritan and the letters
He told us the story and then we watched a You Tube video depicting the story through Legos! Yep, that got their attention! It also got the point across. We talked about how being available doesn't mean just "being around" but it means to also be WILLING to help someone in need and being a neighbor is not just the "next door" kind but making yourself available to others in love and compassion and kindness.
Again, the kids really "got it"!
They started calling each other out about being available and neighborly! Paul and I were glad they were getting the points of our Bible stories and concepts, but we had to keep reminding them to actually BE respectful to each other while they were reminding each other of the other things we talked about.
This one brought everything full circle. The reason why David needed to be brave and respectful was because he was devoted to God. God was more important than the King's diet and so he devoted himself to God and bravely and respectfully asked for new food. The reason the Samaritan stopped to help the robbed man was because his devotion to God caused him to have love and compassion for the hurt man.
I got another idea to extend these lessons even further....I'm pretty sure it was a God thing. Since there are 5 of us and 5 letters in our last name, I had the idea to do a family art project. Each of us took a letter and a concept and painted a picture. After praying about our pictures....this is what resulted....
Caleb had "B" for "brave". His painting is of the letter B with big muscles showing that he's brave.
Paul had "R" for "respectful". His painting is of two people (stick people ;) of course) being respectful to each other.
Abby had "A" for "available". Her painting (clearly) is of Daddy helping to change someone else's tire on the side of the road. Can you see it?
Jacob had "N" for "neighbor". His painting is of a "spiky haired guy" working on his friends 4X4. It's not his next door neighbor...he's being a neighbor because loves his friend enough to help him... in case you didn't know. ;)
I had "D" for "devoted". I was wondering how I was going to paint "devoted" but when I asked the kids what it meant I got my answer. Caleb answered, "Devoted is like 'sticking to' something!" Yes! So I painted "sticky notes" with notes about the things that our family is devoted to.
This art will be displayed proudly in my kitchen very soon and