Sunday, October 12, 2014

Room to think and explore

One of our goals in Godly Play is to give children room to move around in and explore the biblical stories that they hear. Often in church settings, children are presented with a biblical story and are led to focus on a certain aspect of the story. This is not necessarily bad, and there is room for this in children's ministry. However, what if a particular child is interested in another part of the story? A part of the story that is different from the aspect being highlighted? How can that child explore or play with the part of the story that is important to her?

Let's take the classic story of Abraham and Sarah. Usually when this story is told, the activities that reinforce the learning are usually based on Abraham and Sarah. But what if a child identifies more with Rebekah, or Isaac or even the three strangers who come out of the desert?

The "Wondering" and Response Time in the Godly Play structure are designed to help the child go where he likes in the story and discover whatever God may be pointing out. 

Today, I told the story of Joseph from the Old Testament. It was fascinating during our "Wondering" to see where the children focused their attention. Several children found themselves in the bickering amongst siblings. Another child was absorbed with how Joseph was able to forgive his siblings for selling him into slavery. And still others were interested in how Joseph's suffering and life in a foreign land ultimately saved the entire family during the famine. 

These children all went in different "directions" within this story, but they might not have done this had I presented the story with an emphasis on one or two points. 

I'll never get tired of seeing the children explore and bring God's story into their own story!

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