Here's What WE're Teaching IN The Loft This Month!
MARCH SERIES: JUMP BALL: A series about finding peace in the madness
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN PEACE AND GOD’S CHARACTER, AS SHOWN THROUGH GOD’S BIG STORY
PEACE IS A REFLECTION OF THE CHARACTER OF GOD.
SUNDAY, march 4
(Students will be dismissed today at 10:00)
Why is it so hard to give up what you think is fair? Fairness is a big deal to preteens. It’s often their biggest complaint when something doesn’t go their way. As kids start with this question, they’ll discover how God thinks about fairness and how they can be more willing to let go of what they think is fair.
We start the month in Genesis 13:5-18, God blessed Abram and his nephew, Lot, with a large amount of flocks and herds, so many that the land they were on couldn’t sustain all of them. The workers on each side were not getting along. Abram and Lot knew it was time to separate. Although God had promised Abram the land of Canaan and had a right to take whatever he wanted, Abram allowed Lot to choose first. Abram let go of the best land in order to make peace with his family.
Prove you care more about others by letting go of “what’s fair.” Sometimes choosing peace means letting go of what we want or our perception of ourselves. Preserving the relationship is more important that protecting our own sense of fairness.
Read Genesis 13:5-18. Think about a situation that happened recently where you didn't think something was fair. Did you push to get what was “fair”? What would happen to your relationships if you did? Pray for each other and ask God to give you the grace and wisdom to know when to let go of what’s fair in order to make peace.
SUNDAY, march 11
(45 Students DISMISSED at 10:00 and brought back for communion at 10:30)
How do you walk away from a fight? If you walk into a fifth-grade classroom, you’ll start to discover that even if fists aren’t flying, kids fight with each other. Walking away from a fight can be one of the hardest things a kid does because they feel like their entire reputation is at stake. We pray kids leave with a game plan for how they can make the wise choice and walk away from a fight.
Throughout Genesis 26, we find Abraham’s son, Isaac, settles in his father’s land and reopens some wells. When his new neighbors argue with him, he simply moves to a new place and digs new wells. Isaac had every right to fight for those wells, but he chose peace instead.
Prove you care more about others by walking away from a fight. Sometimes creating peace with someone means walking away even if we’re not wrong. Often it takes a stronger person to have the self-control to walk away.
Leave a note in your kid's backpack with the question, "How can you be a peacemaker today?" Remind them of a positive peacemaking quality they have in the note as encouragement or inspiration.
SUNDAY, march 18
(45 Students NOT Dismissed at 10:00...they stay for prayers for healing)
What are ways you can be a peacemaker? It’s one thing to say that peace is important, it’s another thing to actively work towards making peace. As kids go about their day, we hope they stop, look around, and see how they can help make peace between people they know who are experiencing an argument.
In 1 Samuel 25:1-35, Abigail intervenes when her husband picks a fight with David. Abigail immediately knew what was happening and made a plan to present gifts to David and calm his anger. Her quick actions promoted peace between the two men.
Prove you care more about others by being part of the solution. Peace is often about helping stop an argument before it can escalate into something worse. Acting as a peacemaker between others will take time and energy, but God can give us the strength to help others make peace. Sometimes our outside perspective is what someone might need to see a peaceful solution.
Q & A for kids: If you had to pick one for the rest of your life, would you rather always get the last word in an argument or always get the bigger piece of cake?
Q & A for parents: When you were a kid, who did you find it hardest to stay at peace with? Why do you think that is?
From Parent Cue:
MAKING PEACE WITH YOUR KIDS
by Sarah Anderson
Have your kids ever hurt your feelings? I don’t mean their critique of your clothes, cooking, or stupid jokes. I mean the thing they say that just cuts to the quick.
A couple of weeks ago, one of my boys said something and it hurt so much, it felt like the wind was knocked out of me. He’s young enough where I don’t think the words were said with the intention to hurt, and he was oblivious to how hurtful his words were. But I am not naïve. I know a day will come when my boys will know the power of their words. And then they’ll use those words to cause pain on purpose.
As hard as it was, I decided to not let those careless words create a rift. To not let hurt feelings dictate my behavior towards him. To move towards the one I felt inclined to back away from.
I decided to be a peacemaker. To be a mender of things made wrong—even when I was the one who had been wronged. To move past what had been broken in me, in order to make right what was broken between my son and me.
Not just a peace-liker. Not simply a peace-supporter. But a peace-maker
Jesus said peacemakers are called the children of God.
James, the brother of Jesus, said peacemakers reap a harvest of righteousness.
I say peacemakers have a better chance of a healthy relationship with their kids in the future.
Making peace is hard. Moving towards the one who’s hurt us is challenging. But a parent who makes peace with their kids now sows a relationship of peace in the future.
No matter what my child does or says, no matter what my child doesn’t say, or doesn’t do, I want there to be no doubt about what he’ll get from me: a mom who’ll go to great lengths—not to keep the peace, but to make the peace.
As parents, let’s work on resembling our heavenly Father in this. And live in expectation of what might happen when we do.
SUNDAY, march 25
(45 Students DISMISSED at 10:00)
Who do you need to make peace with? Hopefully, the kids in our preteen environments aren’t experiencing fights with their friends, but more than likely a few of them are. As kids learn that God went to great lengths to make peace with us, they can pinpoint exactly whom they need to offer forgiveness and peace.
We finish out our month in the book of Colossians. In Colossians 1:20, Paul reminds us that us that peace originated with God’s love for us and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. And as we’ll discover in Colossians 3:15, we should live at peace with those around us because of everything Christ did for us.
We can make peace with others because God made peace with us. Jesus is our ultimate example of peace. Because He made peace between God and us, we should strive to make peace a part of how we work together as the Body of Christ.
Make a peace challenge the entire month to not argue in the car with siblings, parents, or friends. As a group, pick a special prize (gift card, toy, candy, etc.) and put it in the car as a reminder to keep the peace. Whoever does the best job keeping peace throughout the month, will win the prize!
From Parent Cue:
THE POWER OF A QUESTION
by Sarah Anderson
Questions are powerful—made all the more powerful when they are a response to what we intentionally listened for rst. Purposeful questions are the best and easiest tool we have as parents to invest in the lives of our kids. They communicate that we want more than information—we want insight into what makes our kids tick, motivates them, challenges them, and hurts them.
A good rst question says, “I’m interested.” Active listening says, “I care.”An intentional second question says, “You matter.”
And what follows creates relational equity between you and your kids. So sure, we can start, with the “How was your day?” “What happened at school?” “What did you learn at church?” But what happens next can’t be found in any book, blog, or article. What happens next is up to us. It can’t be scripted or predicted, but that’s where the magic happens.
It happens in the quiet, as your child slowly peels back the layers of their life, and you thirstily drink in what they have carefully entrusted with you. And it happens when your reaction and your response communicate over and over and over again, “You’ve got my full attention, there is no where I would
rather be, thanks for letting me in.”
Be prepared. You may get more than you bargained for. You may learn the details of everyone’s show-and-tell treasures, about the kid next to them on the bus, or the speci cs of what was served in the lunch line. But you’ll also become the best student of your child and then earn yourself a reputation as being the person in your child’s life who did whatever it took to get to the heart of the matter, to get to the heart of them.
They may not know it now, but what you are working towards as a parent who asks a good first question, but even better second question, is becoming the best front row attender to your kids’ lives they’ll ever know. Becoming their cheerleader, their confidant and their biographer of life, who remembers all the big stuff but has managed to tuck away the little stuff too—the stuff that makes your kids uniquely them and uniquely yours.