Sunday, April 11, 2010

Teaching Religion

Religious holidays can pose difficulties for new moms and dads. What will our traditions be? How will be balance the fun celebrations with the not so fun religious observances? How will we create in our children lasting memories of family togetherness and righteous teachings and behaviors that they will then pass on to their posterity? How do you balance the Easter bunny with the resurrection and not lose the message amidst the frivolity?

I have no idea.

So, instead of giving myself an early aneurysm, we just went with the flow this Easter season. Egg decorating, searching, and Easter basketing ensued, with the occasional gospel lesson mixed in.

The results? Well, I'll let you judge.
Early in the week, right before dying eggs, we had a lesson called, "Feed My Sheep." We talked about how we are all Jesus's sheep and he is our shepherd. We shared ways on how we can "feed" each other. I was afraid it might be a little too parable-y for the kids, especially when Scarlet spent most of the rest of the week asking me, "Mom, you're a sheep right?" But, we hoped something had stuck.
Before we searched for eggs in the backyard, we read the story of the resurrection in the New Testament kid's scriptures. Scarlet then asked us to read the story over and over to her whenever we had a chance. We felt pretty successful at that point.

And while they snacked on deliciously sugary treats, we read the story yet again. We then realized why we were reading the same story for about the 20th time. She picked up quickly on the fact that mom and dad would stop doing just about anything if she requested the Jesus story be read. When your child looks up at you with big brown eyes and asks to learn more about Jesus, come on, you feel like a sinner for even thinking of saying no.
Scarlet has had a few questions inspired by her new gospel knowledge. We took a walk home from the park and passed by a construction site and a big water truck. She is always fascinated by the water truck and asked, "Mom where do they keep the water?"

"Umm, in the tube in the back of the truck. See it right there?"

"The tube?"

"Yeah, right back there."

She looked really concerned about that, then asked, "Is Jesus back there too?"

After a moment of hesitation, I caught on. "No, Jesus went into the tomb, not the tube."


Now she has the whole Easter story down solid and has even made a few connections of her own. I got to the part about Mary Magdalene looking for Jesus in the empty tomb when she stopped me, looked very closely at Mary and said:

"Mom, Mary went to find Jesus and He wasn't there. And Mary... Mary had a little lamb. And, mom, we are supposed to feed the sheep!"

That's close enough, right?


Angie Larkin said...

When Afton asks details about the inner workings of the Easter Bunny I want to shout with all my might...HE ISN'T REAL! HE IS NOT AND IT'S A DUMB COMMERCIAL FABRICATION WITH NOT EVEN A SHRED OF GOODNESS OR MEANING! But then I fear I'll mess up my child. But I seriously hate the Easter bunny. We had the talk about resurrection and new life with eggs and flowers etc...the kids dug it. I'd like to lean more that way. Good Job Kacey:)

Gui said...

In regards to Angie's comment, the Easter bunny, dieing eggs, etc. are all part of the pagan holiday for spring. (refer here for one of many explanations: it does correlate with the rebirth of the earth and the 'rebirth'-so to speak-of Christ.

Another great post Kacey. Jane pretty much focused on the Bunny and candy and little on the Resurrection.

Peggy Dee said...

Scarlet is so smart and you are such a good mom! I miss my grandbabies!!

Tyler - Danielle - Emree said...

Scarlet a genius haha! I am just glad that at one I had to do absolutely no explaining!

Susan said...

Oh Kacey.. You've got a smart one there!! You are way ahead of the curve so good job! And cute haircut on that little girl!

Stacie said...

Close enough to me!

Pat yourselves on the back!

The Petersens said...

I think it's great that you worked in some of the real meaning of Easter! Good for you!!!!!
Here are some ideas you can try next year......
I've heard of families putting candy in some eggs and papers with scriptures in the others and they read them after the hunt.
In my family we alway had one empty egg to symblize the tomb. I think the person who got it got some money or something.....I don't remember, but the important part stuck with me!
I know there are cookies you can make that have a whole lesson to go with them. Each thing you put in has a meaning.
Another fun thing is making tomb roll. You shape your rolls around a marshmallo. As they bake the marshmallo melt away when you open the rolls they are empty inside like the tomb was!
Jut some fun ideas:)

Samantha and Tyrel Ross said...

Way to go on the Easter story. We just did easter bunny stuff on Saturday and talked about Jesus on Sunday, but didn't get to into detail, because Cooper was puking his guts out on Easter Sunday!! I am impressed! P.S. Scarlet is so beautiful!!

Cali said...

Scarlet's hair is so cute Kacey!