Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Copy of the story, "Hannah Dedicates Samuel to the Lord"
- Leader Resource 1, 1 Samuel 10-17, 20
- A children's book that includes the author's dedication
- Drawing paper, and crayons/markers to share
- Optional: Fidget basket (see Session 1, Leader Resource 2, Fidget Objects)
Preparation for Activity
- Read the story "Hannah Dedicates Samuel to the Lord" so you will be comfortable telling or reading it to the group. You may wish to compare the story with its biblical source (Leader Resource 2).
- Optional: If you have a basket of fidget objects for children who will listen and learn more effectively with something in their hands, make the basket available during storytelling. See Session 1, Leader Resource 2, Fidget Objects for a full description of fidget baskets and guidance for using them.
Description of Activity
Participants respond to a story about dedicating a child, through discussion and art work.
Tell the group you know a story about a baby that was important to the life of a congregation. Tell or read the story. Tell the group it comes from the Hebrew Bible, sometimes called the Old Testament.
Read or tell the story. Then, process the story with these questions:
- Who or what is "the Lord' [God, the God of the Jewish and Christian Bible]? Why do you think Hannah dedicated Samuel to the Lord?
- What does it mean to dedicate? [Take answers, affirming all, including guesses, as being at least partially correct.] One definition is "to offer formally to a person or a cause." Hannah formally offered Samuel to God. c [show example]. "Dedicate" can also mean to devote wholly and earnestly." This is what people mean when they say things like," I want to dedicate my life to helping others." or "I am dedicated to make good grades in school."
Hannah felt that by dedicating her son to God, she was dedicating him to a great purpose. She felt that dedication to a great purpose was a way to show reverence for his life. Being dedicated to a positive purpose in life is a way to improve the world, to help make our world a better place for all life. Can you think of a time you, or someone you know or read about, dedicated themselves to improving the world? [If needed, prompt with examples: taking an anti-bullying pledge, dedicating an afternoon to cleaning up a local park, dedicating some time to tutoring a classmate who needs help.]
Point out that Hannah gave her baby the name of Samuel, which means "Because I asked the Lord for him." Ask:
- Why did your parents name you your name? Does your name have a special meaning?
Invite the children to give their name a special meaning by making name poems. Distribute drawing paper and crayons/markers. Ask children to write their first name vertically along the left-hand side of their paper, like this:
Challenge participants to think of a word or phrase that starts with each letter which describes them or is important to them. For example,
Loves coming to church
Give children a few minutes to think, discuss, and write. Help children write, as needed. Invite sharing.
Including All Participants
You may wish to make fidget objects available to children who find it difficult to sit still while listening or can focus better with sensory stimulation. For a full description and guidance, see Session 1, Leader Resource 2.
Consider using rug squares in the storytelling area. Place them in a semi-circle with the rule "One person per square." This can help control active bodies.