Monday, December 1, 2008

Sunday School - Proverbs (7) words

Words. Sometimes they leave your mouth, and you'd love to grab them and stuff them back in again, but it's too late. You clap your hands over your mouth, but they're gone, vibrating through the air and into the ear, carrying their invisible sting of thoughtlessness, folly, hurt, deceit, or gossip. They reverberate through the days, their effect spreading, waves in ruffled waters.

If only you'd stopped to think, or listen, before you spoke.

Words. Jewels without price, fruit dripping with sweetness, a precious remedy, you offer them as gifts to another. They add them to the treasure-chest of the mind, holding them close, storing them up, passing them on. Words heal wounds, comfort hurts, mend conflicts, cure weariness, bring joy, and grow wisdom.

A wise man once said these words about words: "The tongue has the power of life and death" (Proverbs 18:21a).

The bad mouth is boastful, foolish and hurtful, makes hasty vows which can't be kept, answers before listening, makes fun of others, flatters, lies, tells secrets, speaks without thinking, talks a lot, and is quick to argue and fight (10:19; 12:18, 22; 15:2, 18; 17:14; 18:13; 19:29; 20:19; 25; 27:2; 29:5, 20).

The good mouth speaks the right words at the right time, soothes anxiety with kindness, avoids anger and argument, is pleasant, patient and gentle, keeps secrets, refuses slander, gives knowledge, and is careful, truthful, and wise (11:13; 12:19, 25; 14:29; 15:1, 7, 23; 16:24; 20:3, 15; 21:23; 25:11; 26:20).

Has anyone got any ideas for a helpful way to demonstrate the power of words to children? Here's some quick ideas I wish I'd thought of on the day:

  • words on slips of paper inside 2 balloons - bad words in one ("gossip", "nasty", "mocking") and good words in another ("kind", "gentle", "wise") - then pop the balloons and watch them spread
  • one of those (safe!) science experiments where something explodes, demonstrating the power of words
  • kind words on slips of paper inside an envelope for each child
  • something sweet and bitter in a dish for the children to taste (Prov. 16:24)
  • drop a stone into a tray of water and watch the ripples spread, showing the effect of words
  • a short drama
Making a chart with the kids has proved to be a wonderful way to teach an unruly book like Proverbs. I found an image of a mouth with MOUTH POWER across the middle - very appropriate, although I'm not sure the artist had Proverbs in mind! - enlarged it to A3 size, traced it, and printed it out twice.

Across the middle, we pasted some words from Proverbs: "Your tongue has the power of life" and "Your tongue has the power of ... death" (18:21). The kids chose which to work on (as usual, the boys chose the "bad" mouth and the girls the "good" one - what's going on there?!). They coloured the mouth, and around the edges stuck verses from Proverbs in speech balloons, wrote an appropriate word on each ("gossip", "flatter", "kind") and decorated each verse with an appropriate picture.

And on the principle of "less is more" (10:19), that's enough from this mouth - or pen - or keyboard - today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jean,
Jo Charles from Chile here. Just wanted to say I recently found your blog following a link from Nicole, and I have really enjoyed it. I have loved your Proverbs SS material - and lots of other things. Thanks for serving me in this way. I really relish the stimulation of reading good blogs. I recently did the first paper the the Biblical Counseling certificate by distance education from the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (David Powlison was the lecturer!) and it was fantastic.So I am a fan of David Powlison and the Tripps as well. They have done more to shape a practical theology in me than anyone else.
Thanks again, Jo