Saturday, February 7, 2009

They Will Learn If You Will Teach

About 3 years ago, we decided that we had to work to create a better Bible class curriculum for our congregation. Over the years, Steve had tested our high school students and found that most of them had an amazing LACK of Bible knowledge, even those who had been in Bible classes for most of their lives. Of course, we realize that it is first and foremost the parent's job to instruct their children at home. We decided that with the Biblical illitercy that we were seeing and the enormous number of kids that were leaving the church after highschool graduation, we needed to do something better in our classes. It was time to develop a new Bible class curriculum.

There were three sections to our curriculum. The first part was the Bible story. We had chronological lessons that we covered a two year period. Our second section was to learn what we call, "Drills & Skills". In this part, we included things such as books of the Bible, divisions of the Old & New Testaments, Days of Creation, Ten Commandments, the chronology of the Bible and much more. The third part of the curriculum was to learn memory verses. We wanted the verses to be important, relevent, "need to know the rest of your life" type verses. This included verses that teach doctrine as well as verses that are comforting and encouraging.

While we have had a little resistence from some parents who thought there were too many demands being placed on the children, most of the response has been VERY positive. Teachers are giving lots of encouragement and incentives to help students stay motivated. The result is that we have a MUCH more Bible literate group of children. The results are very encouraging. My belief is that children are little sponges waiting to be filled. They will learn anything and everything if we teach it and expect it. Just this week, I ran across an email from a lady who is a missionary in India. In the email was this link about a seven year old who has memorized all of Psalm 119.

This particular Psalm has 176 verses in it. Amazing?? Yes, but it was done. In our young classes, our children can quote Psalms 23, Psalms 100, all the Beatitudes and much more. How can children learn such long passages of scripture? They do it just like the expression that says, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." So, "How did a seven year old learn Psalms 119? One verse at a time!"

Monday, February 2, 2009

Going Green?

A few short years ago, who had ever heard of “going green”, “renewable resources”, or “leaving carbon footprints”? I certainly hadn’t. Now just about every time you turn on the TV or open a newspaper/magazine, you will hear about these topics. A few months ago, Anne Marie came home from school where they had just completed a unit on recycling. Knowing that I don’t put out cans and newspapers for the local recycling company to pick up, she looked at me with a questioning expression on her face. “Mama, why don’t we recycle?” With not more than a second of hesitation, I said to her, “We do recycle”. The fact is that while I don’t sort and put out my trash for the recycling truck, I believe I do recycle in ways that might not be thought of by some people.

So how do I recycle? Here are a few of the things I can think of off the top of my head. Last Christmas when I needed boxes to wrap gifts, I used my cereal and cracker boxes. Of course, I always reuse gift bags. Instead of buying small trash bags for my bathroom waste baskets, I re-use Walmart bags. I have always enjoyed yard sales and thrift stores. When my children,younger, I loved getting hand me down clothing. I donate our old furniture and clothing to the local Good Will store for others to use. I don’t buy paper towels, but rather use washable dishcloths. I try to reuse freezer bags when possible. I try to use the least amount of heat in the house this winter. The list could go on, but rather than saying that I am living “green”, the truth of the matter is that I am living “cheap”. Instead of saving the earth, I’m more into saving a dollar.

So what has caused me to decide to write on this topic? Last weekend, my sister and I went shopping out of town together. I have had in mind that I want to work on making a rag quilt. There is a fabulous fabric store where I planned to buy the fabric that I needed. When I went, I noticed that the fabric suitable for my project was $9 a yard. This first attempt at learning a new project for the fun of it was going to run into a lot of money. Then, I had an inspiration. Where can you find cheap fabric? Old clothes! My sister and I went to a several thrift stores looking around. I wanted to make my quilt with the colors sage green, cream, cocoa brown, gold, and reds. Sure enough, it was like a treasure hunt. I found old shirts and pants in cotton fabric in just the right colors. It was really fun looking with a purpose in mind. Most of the pieces were around $1 each. What a deal!So here are pictures of how the project is coming along. When it is complete, I’ll post the finished project. So I now have a new project that I am spending very little on. And for what it’s worth, I am “saving the earth”, one quilt square at a time!