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Don't Throw That Away Just Yet

I have an admission: I'm guilty. I'm guilty of not always paying much attention to the Sunday School materials my kids bring home.

A Problem

I have several young kids. If you do too, then I'm sure you can identify with me. You see, my kids come home from school or other activities with tons of papers. There's schedules and reminders, fundraiser fliers and homework sheets. I have a stack of them in my kitchen. I know there's good stuff in there. After a while looking through them, though, my eyes glaze over. I stop paying attention, and I miss critical information. I know it's good, but wow. There's just so much.

At the same time, I'm told that I really should do devotions with my household. I need to carve out daily time from my crazy week to spend teaching the faith at home. Most of the time, I need something simple, especially with the piles of papers and expectations mounting up around my kitchen counter.

So what does this have to do with Sunday School? If you use CPH material (and I'm guessing that if you're reading this you probably do), then you already know each kid comes home with a variety of . . . wait for it . . . papers. Most likely there's a leaflet, maybe a craft, perhaps even a piece of candy taped to the back of a reminder for the children's program practice! Much of what's on these papers ties into the lesson your kid learned in class, so it might not seem too relevant for the parent.

So, what do the parents who have kids in your Sunday School do with these things when they go home? Speaking from experience, perhaps a few take a quick glance at them before putting them on the stack. Maybe some don't even take a peek. It's likely that most put the materials straight in the trash.

This, friends, is unfortunate for a variety of reasons. Most notably, it's sad because people don't even see what they're missing: a way to bridge the gap of doing devotions in the craziness of daily life is right in front of their noses (or somewhere in a stack, or in the trash). It's our Sunday School leaflets.

A Solution

One thing I didn't quite realize before I became a parent (and started working at CPH myself) was the amount of detail and work that goes into incorporating "At Home" or faith connection points right into Sunday School leaflets. Just look! The next time your kid comes out of class with their leaflets and crafts, take a good look over these things. Right there, on the page, are some simple questions to reinforce the lesson at home. There are also talking points for holding a conversation with your kid, and even some ideas for crafts and activities that tie the lesson to life. So, how do we take these take-home points from the lesson and use them to build faith at home (instead of just putting them on a stack or in the trash)? Here are some suggestions.

  1.  Car ride: Ask your kid to tell their story back to you on the car ride home from church. Often the leaflets (especially for younger learners) have prompting questions right on the front. Let them tell the story back to you in the car. Or, let them tell you about their craft and how that ties into the story. This is a simple yet effective way to extend the learning experience. Also, you can just keep the leaflet in the car. Look back to it for ideas for discussion throughout the week. You spend time in the car anyway, so why not use that time to help build up your household?
  2. Fridge: Designate a corner of your fridge to put up your leaflet from the week's Sunday School. Throughout the week, look at the leaflet and read over the at-home questions and activities. Challenge yourself to ask one question or do one discussion prompt each time you sit down with your kid for a meal this week. Why not put your devotion questions or activities front and center in your home?
  3. Devotion time: Do you have prayers with your child in the morning or before bed? Why not use the Sunday School leaflet prompts to build in some extra discussion? Encourage your kid to retell the Sunday School story or play out an activity from the lesson before saying nightly prayers. Each week your kid is in Sunday School, they'll get a new set of devotion topics, prompts, or activities to do at home for the week that tie back into the Sunday School lesson.

That's a lot, but hopefully it's a start to seeing how you can better live out your faith beyond Sunday morning. It's tempting to turn a blind eye to these leaflets or to stick them on a stack. But these resources are meant to go home with kids for a reason. Why not take a look?

 

 

 

Written by

Pete Jurchen

Rev. Pete Jurchen is Editor of Curriculum Resources at CPH. In addition to his MDiv, he has a MS Ed. in Curriculum Leadership and enjoys the pursuit of lifelong learning. He is honored to serve the congregations of the LCMS by equipping and partnering with its households in engaging their God-given vocations. He lives in Imperial, MO, with his wife, Deb, and his four children.

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