The goal with our youngest children at Ephesus School this past weekend was to give them the opportunity of simply hearing the Bible story from beginning to end. (The content of Scripture rivals the best fairy tales and Mother Goose stories. PLUS, there are no illustrations which allows the child to imagine the story from the words.) Jonah is a short book, packed with action and imagery. Some children listen well without any distractions, while others listen well when they can doodle. So, blank paper and a bucket of crayons were offered to the kids, ages 3-5, while the teacher read dramatically and the children listened.
After reading the entire story, we picked up where we left off last week with reviewing the story and checking for understanding. The events and lesson in chapter 4 which describes Jonah marking the best spot on the hillside for a grand show of fireworks–the destruction of Nineveh–and the subsequent shading and destruction of the plant, was at first difficult to grasp by our kindergartners. Nineveh had been evil and deserved to be destroyed, just as God said He would do. While Jonah waited, God provided shade for Jonah by appointing a plant to grow. But the next morning, God appointed a worm to destroy the plant. Why would God do this?
“May I see the crayon you’re using?” I asked one of the students. “What a nice color. It’s new and has a good point. Sometimes it’s hard to share our crayons, especially when someone is mean to us and takes the crayons we want for our own drawing. Maybe those kinds of children shouldn’t be allowed to use crayons. Maybe they should be banned from the classroom!”
With that I snapped the crayon in two. And broke it again!
“What’s more important? The crayons, or the students who use them? What’s more important? The crayons you’re using, or your classmates with whom you should share?”
Wide-eyed and curious, two boys broke their crayons.
“Who gave you those crayons?”
“Yours, teacher,” was one reply, while another answered, “God.”
“That’s right. Are they yours to break? You may use them to draw and to share with your classmates.”