Three resources for use on this Sunday after the election–or coming up!
Post Election Fears
In the United States, after a shocker of an election, children have come home and asked if their mommies are going to be divorced or if their father is going to be deported for being Hispanic or a Muslim. There’s a lot of fear out there that our children are experiencing, and what would be unreasonable last week is actually possible this week, and people of faith need to engage these fears.
I do a children’s time in worship every week, as I know many other pastors do as well, or they have a special children’s message outside of the worship service. While most of my children’s sermons on this blog are after mass shootings or natural disasters, it seems this man-made disaster is worthy of addressing. If you want to adapt some of the previous ones, here’s the links:
- Children’s Sermons RE: Newtown Tragedy
- Children’s Sermons RE: Oklahoma Tornadoes
- Children’s Sermons RE: Haiti
Below are three children’s sermons. These are written verbatim in my voice, so adapt as necessary to your voice and context and incorporate your scripture of the day (these are not dependent on particular stories for wider use).
Sermon #1: Managing Disappointment
Summary: Bring a piece of cake or a toy that you know children will want. Have the object be continually out of reach of one of them to demonstrate how to manage disappointment.
Verbatim: Hello folks, I’ve brought something amazing with me today. It’s a slice of tasty tasty chocolate cake. Who here likes chocolate cake? Who likes it the very most? [select emotionally mature child] Okay “Michelle” come on over and stand at the far end of the room.
Now, I’m going to have a tall volunteer adult here with the cake on a plate. Can you walk towards it to get it? [Moves plate further away] Uh oh, it looks like he moved. How do you feel? [“frustrated, annoyed, angry”] Let’s try it again: Can you walk towards the goal? [Put two children in their way] Oh, looks like there’s a barrier in the way, hmm, how do you feel?[“frustrated, annoyed, angry”] Now, let’s try one more time. Can you walk towards it? [Puts it in a box] Well, it looks like we aren’t going to get to enjoy the object today. How do you feel? [“frustrated, annoyed, angry”]
You know, I’ve felt the same way, especially this week. Have any of you ever been [use her words she used]? When we really want something and we don’t get it, it’s okay to feel that way. Now did she hit the adult? Did she yell at the adult? No. So when we don’t get what we want, we talk about it with our friends, we talk with the people in our home like our parent, and then we try again.
[Scripture Incorporation] Let’s pray for all the times when we’ve been disappointed.
Alternative: You could give a history of suffrage and have the barriers be the dates and the efforts and how long it took to get to where you are. That would be more educational, but it would have to be done clearly and quickly–best with older children, not the wide variety that I have!
Sermon #2: Caring for Friends
Summary: Have children think of people different than they are and plan to reach out to them.
Verbatim: Hello folks, I have a volunteer here and we are friends. We’re friends. Now, sometimes friends look a lot like each other. In fact, “Jonathan” and I are 100% alike, everything’s the same. How are Jonathan and I similar? What’s the same about us? [Responses] Okay, now, I know there’s not any, but I’ll ask anyway: what about our differences? What is different between us? [Responses] Wow, really, we are different. I didn’t even realize that.
It’s really important that we are friends because sometimes things happen that bother Jonathan and not me. I may not even notice if his favorite sports team loses a game and he’s sad about it. Or, like this week, something may have happened that made me really sad and he wouldn’t know unless he asked me.
So this week, you may need to ask your friends “how are you?” or “are you okay?” because that’s what friends do: they care about each other. And sometimes you may think everything is okay, but your friend isn’t feeling okay, because we are all different. And you know what? The people we may not be good friends with, they are probably really different than us, and they could use a friend right now to ask how they are doing. [Scripture Incorporation]
When we care about someone, we ask them how they are doing and how we can be a good friend for them. Let’s pray for our friends, okay?
Sermon #3: Reacting or Responding
Summary: Help children learn the difference between knee-jerk reactions and responding to something thoughtfully.
Verbatim: Hello folks, I have an awesome object right here. What is it? [A foam pool noodle]. Yeah, what are these good for? Well, today, I need to use it to show you the difference between two words: reacting and responding. Have you ever heard those words before? To react means to say the first thing that comes to our mind, or to do the first thing that comes to our mind without thinking about it. To respond means to think before we talk or act.
Let’s see if we can learn about them. A volunteer is going to use this pool noodle, what should he do with it? What do you think? [Volunteer whacks leader in back or arm before the students respond] YEOW! Ow! That really hurt man! You are a mean person. Now, as I was saying, what should he use this pool noodle for? [Volunteer whacks leader again in back or arm] YEOW! What are you doing? That hurts so much. I might need a bandaid. Or a cast. Wow. You meanie!
Okay, one last time…but wait. What were our words? React and Respond? What have I been doing? Reacting, yeah. Do you think I really need a bandaid or a cast? No, that was just me reacting without thinking. Okay, let’s try it again. What should we use this pool noodle for? [Volunteer whacks leader again in back or arm] Okay, that stung, but it didn’t really hurt. So do I need to be mad about it? Do I need to yell about it? What should I tell him to do? [Responses] Now that I’ve thought through it, I’m going to say: Please don’t hit me again, and if you do, I’m telling your [mom, pastor, choir director, whichever is funnier].
This week, I think we’ve seen a lot of reacting. You might have seen some people who are sad or afraid or angry. Those are okay feelings to have–those are reactions. But what I want you to do is to talk through those feelings with other people, ask the people in your home like your parents, and come up with a good way to respond. We all react to things, but as [Scripture Integration], as that Scripture shows, we are called to be different. Let’s pray for everyone to be thinking through how to respond when we are sad, angry, or afraid, okay?
Other sermons you are doing or think would work well? Share them in the comments!
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