Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A copy of the story "Jelly Beans"
- A bell, chime, rain stick or other musical noisemaker
Preparation for Activity
- Read the story, "Jelly Beans," a few times. Practice telling it dramatically rather than reading it from the page. Try adopting different voices for different characters. The stories are appropriate for a Story for All Ages moment-part performance, part ministry.
- Create a storytelling ritual. Set a mood that is different from other segments of the session. For example, adjust the lighting and position yourself where all can see and hear you. You may wish to wear a storytelling shawl.
- Review the discussion questions and choose some you think will help the children interpret the story and relate it to their own lives.
- If the group is very large, plan to form smaller groups for the discussion with an adult leader facilitating each small group.
- Consider what this story means to you in the context of this session and be prepared to share your understanding briefly with the group at the end of the discussion. Be ready to volunteer your own example of something you learned in your congregation and later used elsewhere.
Description of Activity
Before you begin, ring the chime or other noisemaker. Make eye contact with each participant.
Read or tell the story. Sound the chime again at the end.
Invite the children to think about the story silently for a few moments.
Now we are going to practice listening and discussing skills. As we find out what one another thought about the story, both skills are needed to understand the story better from the multiple perspectives in the room.
Ask everyone to use "I think" or "I feel" statements. Remind them not to assume others think or feel the same way. You may suggest that a brief silence follow each person's comment.
Invite the children to retell the story briefly. What children recall and relay tells you what they found most meaningful or memorable. Then use these questions to facilitate discussion. Make sure every child who wants to speak has a chance.
- Have you ever been like John in this story-bothered by someone who is mean to you?
- What have you done when "your Bob" has bothered you?
- Has it worked?
- Have you ever behaved like Bob? Bothered someone else?
- Does this ever happen in this room?
- What is an enemy?
- Does anyone here have an enemy?
- Are there enemies in this room?
- What does "feed your enemy" mean? (Affirm answers like "being kind to someone even if they are mean to you," "thinking about what someone needs, even if they are being mean," and "being nice to someone who is against you or being mean.")
- Why might this work?
- How did it work in this story?
- How do you think Bob felt when John was nice to him?
- Has anyone ever tried this with an enemy or with someone being mean? Can you think of a situation where you might try it?
- Why might you not want to try it?
- What else, besides feeding, might work as an act of kindness?
- Where did John hear the story of "feeding your enemies"? (Point out that the story came from religious education and was shared at home among the family.) What is special about this kind of story, the kind of story you hear at church?
Share one or two sentences articulating what this story teaches about being at church and how it helps us and others (re)make the world. Ask:
- Can you think of any other stories from church that have helped you solve a problem? (If so, ask the children to expand on which stories and what problem. Don't be surprised if no one volunteers. Be ready to volunteer your own example.
Besides bullies and enemies, what other kinds of problems might be good to learn about here? Can you think of stories or ideas we can talk about at church that might make your life more peaceful, more useful, or happier?