This summer lesson outline is made available for you to work into your own home devotional life. As you read through the information below, please let Renae Belobraydich know if you have any questions, or if she can help make this transition easier for our Sunday School kiddos learning from home.
This Sunday’s Lesson: Gentleness
What does Gentleness mean in the Bible? Gentleness is the quality of being kind and careful. Your gentleness with a frightened stray dog will eventually convince her to let you feed and pet her. The noun gentleness is perfect for describing the way someone acts when they are soft and calm and sweet to other people.
Meditate: Matthew 11:28-29
Extended Reading: Matthew 11:25-30
- What burdens does your child carry?
- What does a gentle response look like?
Relate: Isabel couldn’t wait to start kindergarten. She loved school, and yet at the end of each day she would come home exhausted. I remember her little shoulders hunched under her backpack, heavy with the remains of her lunch and homework and art projects to hang on the fridge. I learned (the hard way, if I’m being honest) to be very gentle with her in the hours between picking her up from the bus stop and settling her into bed. She had poured her energy into the work of learning and listening, navigating playground squabbles, and keeping track of the 137 items in her school supply box all day long. By day’s end, she was weary. As her mom, I knew she needed an invitation to come to me with the weight she was carrying. I knew she needed me to offer her rest. To fold gentleness around her weariness.
When we are weary: Some days this came more naturally than others. While she was away at school, I taught a classroom of twenty preschoolers, then came home with Sofia to the endless demands of cleaning and laundry and meal prep. Sometimes, I didn’t feel like being gentle. I felt like tending to my own needs and offloading my own burdens. As parents, self-care is certainly important, but we don’t always have the luxury of practicing self-care on our own timetable. Thank God we are not called to do the overwhelming tasks of caring for these small but very needy children in our own strength. He has promised to help us do this work he has called us to.
Jesus Promises Rest: Jesus’s words call to us in those moments when this holy work of carrying our child’s heavy loads becomes too heavy of a load for us to bear. “Become my servants and learn from me,” he says. And in the same way I took my little girl’s backpack from her tiny shoulders, he gently takes the load we can no longer carry. He teaches us gentleness by extending gentleness. When we are weary, he offers us the gift of rest, and once rested we can turn and with gentleness, offer our children rest when they need it most.
- Sing: The Fruits of the Spirit (This will sound familiar! We’ll be practicing this song all summer!!)
The Fruit of the Spirit
- Practice gentleness by playing a game where you choose an activity (talking, eating, building a tower, singing, giving a back rub) and then do that activity VERY gently. Talk about how Jesus will help us treat each other with gentleness, even when it’s hard.
- What did you do today that was hard work?
- What are some things I do that help you?
- Remind your child that Jesus offers us the gift of gentleness so that we can be gentle and help others.
At Home: This week, take notice of when your child is weary. Consider the work it takes for them to follow directions, ask for help, wait patiently for their turn, and resist the temptation to demand their way. Notice and affirm your child’s hard work, and strive to be like Jesus: a gentle teacher.
- Preschool Kids: Let your child know how proud you are of their hard work today. Stop throughout the day and praise how hard they are working. When your child is weary, they may show it by losing their temper or dissolving into tears. Respond with gentleness. Scoop them up and offer to help carry their burden – help them clean up, make a snack, or settle down with them for some rest time. Use gentle words and affection to let them know that you are there to help when they are weary.
Elementary Kids: Tell your child that you’re proud of how hard they worked today and share that hard work can make you weary. Explain what it looks like and how it feels when you’re weary – maybe you’re short tempered, or you crave peace and quiet, or you need a chance to burn off some steam by going for a walk. Ask your child what it feels like when they are weary, and what they need from you. Respond to your child with gentle words and affection. Let them know that when they are weary, you want to help.