Lately I’ve had the thought of taking turns on my mind . . . a lot. When one reaches 70 years of age it is easy to think back on how thing were when I was younger. I look at teenagers and I think, “I was young like that once. I had my turn at that.” And I can repeat that scenario for any of the life stages I went through.
I can’t help but wonder if there might be a way to help children and youth become more aware of time and how life changes – and that it will happen to them again and again. I attempted to share these ideas in a children’s sermon recently. Here is how I approached it. Perhaps you, my readers, can offer some better suggestions as well.
I first asked the children to think of something they had to share in a way that they had to take turns using it. Bicycle. Mom’s smart phone. Four-wheeler. Then I suggested birthdays. We get one turn every year at having a birthday. When it is our birthday we get to open presents. When it is someone else’s birthday they get to open them.
Then we considered that some turns we only get one time. We only get to be a baby for a short time. Then we get to be toddlers for a few short years. Then comes pre-school and kindergarten. Once these times are over we don’t get another turn at that age. This is the simple list of ages and stages I shared with them:
- Primary school
- Elementary school
- Middle school
- High school
- College (for some)
- Parents (or aunts and uncles)
- Really-old needing special care
Then I encouraged the children to make the most of their time whatever age they are. Children need to be encouraged to enjoy life in the present and not wish it away looking forward to what will happen when they are bigger.
We entertained ways children can show Jesus’ love. Even the smallest children can make people smile. Older children can find ways to be helpful – to their friends or to family members of all ages. What grandparent doesn’t enjoy getting love notes from their grandchildren?
I also shared with them how some older people have hurts that are left over from childhood. I’m sure we can all can think of classmates and/or friends from our young days who hurt our feelings or who made us especially happy at a time when we felt bad. I challenged them to think of how they might like to be remembered by their classmates and friends when they are older.
The time we have today is a gift and a turn we only have for a while. Then it will be gone. Children grow up, new babies are born, houses are full of children and then empty. Children have time for play and for sharing. I encouraged them to make the most of their time at whatever their age.
We all get our turns. I encouraged the children to ask their grandparents about when they were young. . . . and to see if they would admit that they might have a little girl or boy still hiding away in their grown bodies.
I wish I had been a little more creative in the way I presented this. I feel the concepts are important. Perhaps some of my readers can offer some better ways to share these ideas with children. Chances are one-on-one sharing at home might be the best of all.
Copyright: scusi / 123RF Stock Photo