Who would be friends with a baddie?

In Daniel’s world, there are only two kinds of people – goodies and baddies.  He has recently started a new topic at school on superheroes and this has fuelled his interest in goodies and baddies.  Last night he asked the question, ‘Mummy, who would be friends with a baddie?’  The tone of his voice indicated that he thought it would be very foolish to be friends with ‘bad’ people.

I responded to Daniel’s question by telling him the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus.  I explained that Jesus could have chosen anybody’s house to go to for tea but that he chose someone who nobody else liked, someone who had cheated others out of money.  We talked about how this encounter with Jesus changed Zacchaeus’ life and turned him from a baddie into a goodie.  We then talked about why Jesus might have chosen to be friendly towards baddies.  We discussed how Jesus wanted to see people’s lives touched by God so that they could live as He intended.

Our conversation continued with us thinking about why good people today might choose to be kind and friendly towards those who are seen as naughty or bad by society.  We discussed the fact that sometimes people who end up making unwise choices and being perceived as baddies have actually had some bad things happen to them and what they need most is love and acceptance i.e. a ‘goodie’ to befriend them.

I think and hope that Daniel was challenged by our conversation.  Of course I want him to make wise friendship choices and to surround himself with people who will bring out the very best in him.  But I want Daniel’s desire to be a superhero or a ‘goodie’ to be a desire to fight injustice and bad behaviour rather than baddies per se.  I hope that he will love and support baddies regardless of what they have done in the same way as Jesus did.

Chicken Pox Round One

Daniel went back to school today following a week off with chicken pox.  Although chicken pox has been doing the rounds and I was expecting it to reach us in the coming weeks, it still took us by surprise when Daniel woke up with spots on the Friday at the end of half term.  He had shown no signs of being unwell and we had made plans to go and visit Chris’ grandad that day.  Sadly we never made it to visit him and he passed away a few days ago.  We also had to cancel Daniel’s family birthday celebrations on the Saturday.  He had asked to go to ‘Duck World’ and we had arranged a trip to the Wetlands Centre at Arundel.

Despite the sadness and frustration, however, I confess that I really enjoyed my extra time with Daniel while he was off school.  Thankfully his case of chicken pox was relatively mild and so we were able to occupy ourselves with lots of ‘chicken pox’ projects while we were housebound.

The most significant of our chicken pox projects was a Lego fire station kit that was a belated birthday present for Daniel which he received on the day he came out with the spots.  This was a great project for Chris and the boys to build together and the boys have continued to get much enjoyment from playing with it.  I was astounded by the level of detail within the kit and the number of different parts included.

We also completed numerous craft kits – including making fish from old CDs, rockets from washing up liquid bottles, a gingerbread house, and various model cars.  As well as this, we had fun building dens (and even fire engines!) using chairs, clothes airers, stools and blankets.  It has been a lovely week with Daniel and one that I will treasure.

Prayer GodVenture52 – our Lent adventure!

The other day I wrote about the Treasure Box People resource that grabbed my attention at the Children’s and Family Ministry Conference earlier in the month.  One other range of resources that also attracted my attention was GodVenture.  GodVenture produces a range of resources to help families engage with God and the Bible at home.

One of the seminars that I attended at the conference was a prayer based one looking at different ways to make prayer creative and interesting.  Victoria Beech, the creator of GodVenture, talked about how prayer shouldn’t be boring as we are talking to God, the amazing creator of the cosmos.  So often, though, children do perceive it to be boring.

I loved some of the different hands-on prayer experiences that made up part of the seminar and so was glad to be able to purchase a set of Prayer GodVenture52 cards as part of some of the offers Victoria had at the conference.  This pack of playing cards contains 52 different ideas for praying with your children.  I have decided to work through some of these cards each day with Daniel and Joshua throughout Lent.  Today they were really excited as our praying involved thinking about different people we wanted to thank God for and pray for as we ate different coloured sweets.

One valuable point Victoria made during her seminar is that we shouldn’t expect children to always want to share their prayers with us. She illustrated this brilliantly by asking if anybody wanted to share what they had prayed about having moved through some of the different prayer stations – nobody did.  I made it clear to Daniel and Josh this morning that they didn’t need to pray out loud or tell me what they were praying for.  However, both were keen to share and I was astounded by how involved Josh was with his praying.  They boys are really excited about their praying adventure throughout Lent and I am really looking forward to journeying with them on this GodVenture.

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The Treasure Box People

The other weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the Children’s and Family Ministry Conference.  Huge thanks to my church for enabling me to go and to Chris for looking after the boys for the weekend.

There was a lot to inspire and encourage throughout the weekend, but one of the things that caught my attention most was a brand new product.  The Treasure Box People is a new monthly mail subscription service.  Each month, they send out a box with a Bible story and a selection of crafts and activities to accompany it.

Their first ever box, launched this month, was linked to the story of the Lost Sheep.  At the conference I was so taken with the idea that I bought three!  Today the boys and I opened up the box together and loved having a go at the different activities.

Alongside the story of the Lost Sheep, this month’s box included a matchbox sheep craft, a knitting doll, a postcard made of sheep poo(!) and a prayer activity.  Daniel and Joshua loved making the matchbox sheep and were fascinated by the sheep poo postcard.  They also enjoyed thinking about who was special to them that they wanted to pray for.  I confess that we looked at the knitting doll but decided that was one activity to save and do with Grandma as Mummy wasn’t feeling entirely confident with it.

This evening, several hours after we had read the story and done the activities in the box, we talked about what we had learned from the story and Daniel was able to confidently recount the story and the message from it.

I was delighted to learn last week that I had won a competition run by the Treasure Box People at the conference and the boys and I will be enjoying a six month subscription.  We can’t wait to receive March’s box in a couple of weeks!

It’s fun to stay at the YMCA

We returned yesterday from this year’s youth weekend away at the YMCA’s Fairthorne Manor.  The boys had a fantastic time and loved spending time with all the young people.  They both had a go at archery but Daniel also got the opportunity to do the aerial runway (zip wire) and the climbing wall.  The aerial runway, in particular, was a real challenge for him.  Having seen the first young person go on it, Daniel burst into tears and said he was too scared to do it.  We explained that this was fine and that he didn’t have to do it but also encouraged him to try and be brave and have a go so he wouldn’t regret it later.  This he did and the smile on his face once he had done it was amazing to see.

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Questions on Daniel’s Fifth Birthday

For the last two years I have asked Daniel a series of questions on his birthday.  Here are his answers this year on his fifth birthday.

1. What is your favourite colour?

Green

2. What is your favourite animal?

Horse and dog

3. What is your favourite food?

Sausages

4. What is your favourite drink?

Orange squash

5. What is your favourite thing to play with?

A football or a water gun

6. What is your favourite song?

Baa Baa Black Sheep

7. What is your favourite book?

Topsy and Tim

8. What is your favourite TV programme?

Topsy and Tim and Time for School

9. Who is your best friend?

Emily

10. What do you want to be when you grow up?

A fireman

I love seeing how his opinions change over time although there are actually quite a few answers that were either the same or similar to last year.

Daniel has had a lovely birthday although most of it has been spent at school.  He chose to go to McDonalds for tea this evening and we have further birthday celebrations planned for half term.

Questions for Josh

I felt really awful when I realised yesterday that I completely forget to ask Josh his first set of questions on his third birthday as I have been doing with Daniel since he turned three.  I finally asked Josh the questions this morning so here are his answers at three years and one month old…

1. What is your favourite colour?

Yellow

2. What is your favourite animal?

Monkeys

3. What is your favourite food?

Sausages

4. What is your favourite drink?

Volcano (a mixture of both orange and apple and blackcurrant squash)

5. What is your favourite thing to play with?

Lots.  I think doing a puzzle.

6. What is your favourite song?

He proceeded to sing a made-up gibberish song!  When pressed he said, ‘Miss Polly had a baby’.

7. What is your favourite book?

Topsy and Tim books

8. What is your favourite TV programme?

Time for School

9. Who is your best friend?

Daddy

10. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Bigger

Incidentally, Joshua had a lovely birthday and we visited the Harold Hillier Gardens in Romsey to the do the Grand Bauble Hunt with some friends.

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