TIPS ON LEADING

 

Our boys, who don’t sit still, enjoy the activities and games between the listening and always have interesting answers and thoughts to the explore it section.”

 

 

GET COMPLIANCE FROM EVERYONE

Make sure that you get compliance from everyone at the beginning. For instance – if you are going to play a game and everyone dashes into it without you starting it properly – it may lead to chaos. Line up the children and ‘Hi five’ them. Make a bit of a drama of it. Use a horn, a party blower or a timer to start a game or competition. That way you have their attention and compliance.

 

USE THE ‘TEASE’ FACTOR TO BUILD ANTICIPATION…

One parent writes. “Each week, after the prayer, I’d say in an excited conspiratorial whisper ‘next time, we’ll be building a tent’, or ‘next week, there will be a treasure hunt’… and the anticipation level would sky-rocket.” This could be done with even more ‘tease’ factor… without giving away too much… ‘next week, I’ve got something planned that is sooooo exciting, but I can’t tell you yet’.

BE PREPARED

Read through the materials for the week in advance. Then you have an idea of where it’s going and can make any adjustments to suit the ages and stages of your children. I add to my shopping list what we will need for the next week or two and the children help me find it.

 

ENGAGE THE YOUNG ONES

If you have a younger child – keep them on board. Get them to blow the ‘starter’. Modify some questions so they can answer them or throw in one that may have nothing to do with the topic but which they can answer – like the name of the family dog or something Grandma has at her place.

 

CREATE THE AIR OF ANTICIPATION

The kids look forward to it and sense the ‘specialness’ of it. There’s always an air of anticipation and I think that has a great deal to do with the secrecy of what’s in the box. It is a great tool for teaching.

 

THE VISUAL PROP

We have learned that making the effort to have the visual prop (such as the glass in the water representing the parting of the red sea or dress up clothes etc.) for the kids has made a big difference to their learning and remembering what we talked about. Also recapping on what we learned the previous week at the start of each session has been really useful for keeping a continuity in the lessons (and giving the kids – (and the adults) a wee test as to who was paying attention!

 

‘ADAPTABILITY’ IS OK, AND ENCOURAGED

It’s OK to skip bits, or adapt bits, or go in a different order that suits better… it’s all OK. Work with your own families personalities and abilities. Sometimes I slightly rearrange the order – and if I have time add my own component. Instead of gathering the items myself- I got both boys to go on the treasure hunt for them. Then I did a draw out of the hat for who was to get the picture cards and who got the treasure hunt items. Then without letting them know the topic of the session I asked them to tell me what the treasure hunt items and picture cards had in common. Once that was done, I asked them to place the cards and treasure hunt items in the correct order. This proved a real challenge. Once they had done that we spoke through the lesson and then did the balloon blowing race. This was great.

 

GIVE CHILDREN SOME RESPONSIBILITY

I give the Faith Box to Josh my eldest to write the message for the week and he even drew pictures of animals. This really was going the extra mile for him. Often older children or the child who is on setting the table, will help you get what you need for Faith Box time together.

 

LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN AND ENJOY THEIR RESPONSES

Also in session 1, we asked our children to tell us what they thought was the best thing God had created. Our second son (age 7) thought about it for a moment, and then answered: “Well, I would have to say… that would be me”.

 

MULTI-FAMILY MELEE!

 

We did the first Faith Box session with another family and the game turned into a full on mele!

Suggestion:

Remember there is a great parenting/teaching principle which is: Make sure you get compliance in the little things and you will have compliance in the big things. Therefore - before you start a team game (especially if you have a couple of families), line up the children and ‘Hi five’ them. Make a big deal about choosing the first one to go (choose children by the colour of something they are wearing or what cereal they eat for breakfast). And then state the rules.
Use a kitchen timer or horn to start a game. Let the youngest child blow the horn.
If it all falls apart -call ‘time out’ . Then both parents line up all the children (two big people standing together have a lot of psychological authority) and reiterate the rules. Hi five children and ask if they are up to it this time.
Start again with ‘Take two’!

 

LET IT FLOW

If you have younger children they may find some of the readings/lessons too long – so just read just the sessions to allow for that. And older children may want to prolong the discussions again don’t panic if they go all over the place – you will hear things they may not otherwise have shared.

 

GIVE KIDS A CHANCE TO LEAD

We have made use of our children’s strengths/interests to lead certain activities to give them a sense of responsibility and sharing the leadership.

 

RE-VISIT WHAT YOU'VE LEARNED

The kids loved collecting items for the faith box.  What I've found is that we've put each plan and the items needed in little kits so that we can re-visit what we've learnt from previous hui.

 

JUST DO IT

Don't wait until you think you have it perfectly sorted or for the perfect time or for the perfect evening or for the perfect children cos you will never do it.  Do it now!

 

 

YOU COULD ALWAYS USE YOUR NOSE

The balloon game in the very first session:  blowing the balloons was too challenging for our family (children aged 9,7 and 4).  We adapted it by using our noses to move the balloons along instead, which was lots of fun.

 

DON'T BE STRESSED!

Don't stress if you don't do all of it!  If time is pushed or you have a small window of opportunity just pick out what you think is most important.  A little bit of time together is better than none at all.

 

HUNTING FOR TREASURE

When the boys had to gather up the items for the creation reading - I got both boys to go on the treasure hunt for the items.  They I did a draw out of the hat for who as to get the picture cards and who got the treasure hunt items.  Then without letting them know the topic of the session I asked them to tell me what the treasure hunt items and picture cards had in common.  Once that was done, I asked them to place the cards and treasure hunt items in the correct order.  This proved a real challenge.  Once they had done that we spoke through the lesson and then did the balloon blowing race.  This was great.

KEEP THE FAITH BOX VISIBLE

Keep the Box in a visible place, so parents and kids can regularly see it.

FAITH BOX SONG

We have our Faith Box song typed up and let the children illustrate it so that grandparents or visitors can join in too.

 

RELAX

Don't be concerned if the discussion during your Faith Box session seems to go way off track - listening to your children's perceptions and stories is part of the role you have in guiding their conclusions.  Your aim is to help them see the world through God's eyes.