aka The Frazzled Mom
Lately, we’ve been hosting a night Bible study for the kids. We wanted something less formal than Sunday church in combination with a “at home” feel. Our goal was to give the kids a place where they could talk about their hopes and fears. What was on their mind was applicable to any evening we met. Really, the lesson only takes maybe 20 minutes of our time. Afterwards, we sit and enjoy a meal together, or perhaps play a silly game. For us, we tried the cup blowing challenge:
A few weeks ago, I chose a chapter from the book of James, a book that my English teacher (Miss Miller!!) had challenged our class to memorize. She offered $15 as the prize for memorize the entire book (which was only 5 chapters). $15?! For me, that was a lot at that time, so I jumped at the opportunity. Chapter 3 was one that still sticks with me today. It focuses on our words.
While I read out of James, I asked each kid to stick out their tongue and hold one M&M on it. Their goal was to make it through the reading without eating the candy. Some started to drool. lol Others giggled and nearly lost their candy. But most made it and had the reward of eating it at the end.
James 3 covers the taming of the tongue and how our words have consequences, good or bad. It’s compared to the bit in a horses mouth that can turn the whole animal. It compares it to something even larger, a ship that is controlled by a small rudder. The final example is a wild-fire. To help them better understand the damages from a wild-fire, I found these two videos that show just how quickly it spreads: in a matter of seconds.
That was the bad news: the tongue, our mouths, can be difficult to control, to keep quiet or to keep in check.
What does this all mean? We’ve all heard gossip. That word, that action, continues from when we are young to when we are old. It never stops. Gossip is like a fire that is uncontrollable and can spread quickly. It leaves behind damaging effects that can’t be easily repaired with an “I’m sorry”.
When I asked the kids to give me examples of times they’d been on the receiving end of hurtful words, I heard them say:
Loser, nerd, dumb, stupid, a mistake
Seriously? A mistake?
How did that make them feel?
Hurt. Angry. Alone. Sad.
Turning the tables, I asked them to imagine if they used those words on other people. Those same kids needed to understand what would hurt them could hurt others. I remember being sensitive about what people called me when it came to size. I didn’t care if they called me ugly, but if they made any comments on my physical shape, that hurt. One of my childhood friends had always been thin. I would’ve loved to be called thin. But for him, anyone that called him skinny hurt him. Words affect us differently, but they still hurt.
Each was given a laminated bookmark with the verse: Proverbs 12:18 “The words of the reckless piece like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Our words have consequences. We must decided carefully whether they hurt or help.
The lesson ended with everyone (including me) receiving a red silicone bracelet and the following challenge:
Throughout the week, wear the bracelet. Let it remind us to choose our words carefully. If we speak out in anger, switch the bracelet to the other wrist. Keep doing so, but with the goal of limiting the number of times required to switch wrists. We must be mindful of our words. Speak Life.