For this object lesson you will need:
- a ball of yarn or string
- a pair of blunt scissors
- a small picture of Jesus
- an adult helper
Ask the children, “Who is in your family?”
(Draw out their responses, making comments like, “Yes, you have a daddy in your family: a mother, a sister, a brother.” Be careful to phrase your response so as not to imply that all families are alike, i.e. that all families have a father, mother, kids. In fact, it would be good to note along the way that families are different. It is important to keep your comments positive, i.e., “You and your grandma make up your family,”. It could be very hurtful to point out that a particular child does not have a father. At some point you may have to help them think beyond the home in which they live to include extended family members, e.g., grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.)
(As you are soliciting answers, you will need an adult helper to create the object lesson. You want to create a network of strings between you and each of the children to represent family relationships. In the end, you will hold one end of all the pieces of string, and each child will hold the other end of one of the pieces of string in their hand. As the children think of various members of their families, have your helper cut an appropriate length of string to connect you with each one of the children. Hold your ends of string under your thumb behind the picture of Jesus without letting the children see the picture, while your helper cuts off an appropriate length of string and puts the other end in a child’s hand to represent a relationship with a family member. Use as many lengths of string as you need to represent sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. so that when you finish, every child is holding a string.)
Look! Everyone is connected! It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what color you are, or whether you are rich or poor, tall or short, or whatever. The Bible says everyone is part of the family. God put us in families to love and take care of each other. He put us in families so we could have fun and learn how to treat each other with respect and kindness. He knew we would need someone to help us sometimes. He knew family is the best place to learn about God. And He wants our families to show His love to the world. That’s why He made you part of a family at home, and part of His big family here at church.
Do you know who it is who holds all of us together? The Bible says Jesus is the One who holds families together. (Lift the picture of Jesus for the children to see, while continuing to hold all the strings behind it.) Jesus is the One who makes us all part of God’s family too.
I’m glad I’m part of my family. I’m especially glad we’re all part of God’s big family because of Jesus. Aren’t you?
Source: Story adapted from Flowers, K. (2001). “Families of Faith”, Family Ministries Planbook, Department of Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.