Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A copy of Leader Resource 2, Four Graces
- Four table tents, each with different grace words, from the table tents children made in Activity 1: Making Table Tents
- Optional: Copies of Leader Resource 2, Four Graces for each child to take home
Preparation for Activity
- Review and download Leader Resource 2, Four Graces. If your congregation uses a grace you would like to teach the children, substitute it for one of the graces provided, using your own word processing program.
- Print out a copy for yourself. If you will distribute Leader Resource 2, Four Graces for children to take home with their table tents, make additional copies.
- Have some finished table tents on hand to show children where the grace is printed.
Description of Activity
Children will learn that a grace is both a "thank you" and a blessing. They will learn that a grace is for mealtimes and a blessing can be for many different occasions. And, they will hear what all of the graces sound like so they can help to say or sing them at home before a meal, if their families would like to do so.
Show the children where the grace words are printed on their table tents. Tell them that the table tents they made each have different graces on them; there are four different graces.
Say, in your own words:
Some people, before eating their meal, say a blessing or a grace. Many times, this grace is a way of expressing gratitude or thanks for the food and other things that make our life joyful. Some people say the same grace at every meal. Some families go around the table and let everyone say what they are thankful for having in their lives, like what we did earlier.
Ask the group:
Has anyone here ever said a grace before a meal? How do you like to say grace?
Allow some responses. Then say:
All of those are good. Here are some more ideas for graces you can say.
Read or sing the graces to the group, one grace at a time. Choose one that you can teach them. Sing or say a line, and ask the children to repeat it. Then have them repeat two lines at a time back to you. Then, sing or say the entire grace together.
Ask the children which grace they like best, and why. Some children may like a particular grace that is not printed on the table tent they decorated. You can invite children to trade table tents with one another, or distribute additional copies of Leader Resource 2, Four Graces.
Ask the children about ways of giving thanks they have participated in at their family or faith home. How many have taken turns saying something they are grateful for at Thanksgiving, or at another time?
Ask if anyone can tell you what it means to "bless." A dictionary definition would be "to confer well-being or prosperity"(American Heritage Dictionary). Tell the group:
A blessing is a way to wish something or someone well, to pray that good things will happen to a person or group of people, an animal, or a place. We may bless various things, living and non-living, at our family home and our faith home.
Now tell the children that a "grace" can be a kind of blessing, as well as a way of giving thanks. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a grace is "a short prayer of blessing or thanksgiving said before or after a meal."
Ask, "Who has the power to bless?" Give the answer, in these words or your own:
We all do. We are all interconnected. We are connected to each other and to life. We can all call upon the spirit of life to wish happiness upon each other. When we come together as a faith family in our congregation we can combine our good wishes to bless each other and the world. We express appreciation for each other and wish others well.
Make sure the children sitting there with you know what a blessing they are to their families and the congregation.