If you are ever in need of an attention grabbing object lesson for kids, let me share the one I used:
First, you have to go to your local grocery store and buy a big ol ugly cow tongue (sorry to any of you who eat those things - but, really!!??!!).
You also pick up a large tube of toothpaste. The particular brand simply doesn't matter, just get the jumbo size tube.
Then, the big ol ugly cow tongue goes into a STRONG ziplock bag (so it is never to escape). And the STRONG ziplock bag goes into a green garbage bag.
Before you allow the room full of grades 4-6 eager beavers to reach their hand into the green garbage bag, and feel the big ol ugly cow tongue, you make them promise (and they will promise) that they won't shout out any guesses of what they think they're touching through the STRONG ziplock bag.
Then, you have a rediculous BLAST watching each of the eager beavers' reactions as they handle the big ol ugly cow tongue - because they don't have a CLUE what they are feeling. Did I say rediculous BLAST? Rediculous. BLAST.
After everyone who wants a turn has had a turn, you ask those eager beavers, "What do you think is inside the green garbage bag, inside the STRONG ziplock bag?" And your rediculous BLAST continues as they will guess every imaginable gross, soft, squishy thing they can think of.
And, then, someone will guess "a tongue?".
You'll reach, slowly, into the green garbage bag (this slowmo - or should I say slowMOO... ahahahaha, sorry - is totally for effect. Work it!) and you'll pull that big ol ugly cow tongue out of the green garbage bag. The room will go wild because it really is gross to look at in the first place, but even worse after 30+ eager beaver hands have been squishing it. Consider yourself warned.
Let me tell you though, those eager beavers are primed!
They are ready to hear what you have to say because they have no idea what to expect from you!
Their interest is more than peaked!
And, this becomes the absolute perfect time to turn them right to God's Word and talk about what it says in Proverbs 18:21, that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue...".
You want them to think about what that means.
Ask them to, "Give examples of the kind of 'death' that a tongue can bring?" They'll know.
And you ask them to, "Give examples of the kind of 'life' that a tongue can bring?" They'll know that too - remember, they are eager beavers!
Then you take that jumbo sized tube of toothpaste and say, "Pretend that the actual toothpaste represents the words we say and pretend that the jumbo tube represents our mouth."
Then you squeeze all the toothpaste out of that jumbo tube. They watch every move you make.
"Now that we have said all these death words, or life words, would someone please come and put the toothpaste back into the jumbo sized tube?"
You keep asking.
"Any eager beaver?"
But no one can.
"Have you ever said something that you wish you hadn't said?", you ask. They can all relate, even as little grades 4-6 eager beavers.
You say more.
"You know, once we say something, our something is... gone."
"We can't take it back."
Because, as you (yup - you)and I know, once we say something it's... out there. Never. To. Be. Recaptured.
You say even more.
"And the power that whatever we said can either bring 'life' (which makes us and others feel happy), or 'death' (which makes us and others feel sad and horrible)."
Then, you say a few more things about tongues.
And you remind them how they can remember EVERYTIME they brush their teeth (toothpaste and tongue tie in) that they can choose to bring 'life' or 'death' with their words.
Now, you have one more opportunity to let those eager beavers get a last look at, or feel of, that big ol ugly cow tongue. It's as they pass by you on their way out of the room to meet up with their parents or care-givers.
And, you chuckle because you KNOW what the conversation on the ride home is going to be about!
It is at this exact moment that the biggest revelation hits you.
All of a sudden you realize that it wasn't just an object lesson for grades 4-6 eager beavers...
until next time,