We read the creation story from the Bible on Sunday. I was a little tentative going into it, because I’ve always been honest with my kids about my feelings regarding God and how I’ve taken the time to listen to my heart and have gone where it’s taken me. I’m open with them now, even though they’re four and nine, about how I’ve found Jesus, that this is what Daddy believes, too, and that I’ll want to talk to them about it.
I was nervous that my previous honesty and openness was going to bite me in the butt as I read to them just a few lines from our Bible. I was afraid that for one, they’d be bored, and for two, they’d be confused. None of that happened. They listened attentively, even the 9 year old who hates to sit and listen unless she’s explicitly asked to, even the 4 year old, who is all boy, and who expects a four year old boy to sit and listen to the Bible? But they did so happily, and asked great questions, which I answered with another question (“Well, what do you think?”).
Then we watched this wonderful YouTube video that tells the Abenaki creation story. The Abenaki are a tribe that originated in New England, including western Maine, where we live, and while we can’t be sure, we’re fairly certain it is the tribe of which my husband’s ancestors would have been a part. (Side note: I found the blurb on this site to be helpful as I learned a bit about the Abenaki Indians.)
It was important to me for us to acknowledge that a) there are other belief systems in the world, and b) that there were people here on this land before us and this is what they thought. I really enjoyed watching the kids’ faces as we watched the video and then talking to them about it afterward, comparing the two creation stories and seeing all the similarities. It was a great opportunity to emphasize how similar humans’ stories are.
Finally, after all that, we had a craft project. I cut out large numbers, 1 through 7, and the kids worked together to decorate each number with images that represented what God created or did on that day. So, for example, day one was colored in dark on one half and then the other half was, at first, white, but then my son decided it needed to have a rainbow. My favorite, however, was day seven. It was covered with cotton balls, which the kids insisted were pillows for God, because, you know, creating the whole world is exhausting. Cotton balls, by the way, also made fantastic clouds and apparently it was very cloudy when God made the earth.
This project was wonderful for us in so many ways. For one, decorating the numbers really helped cement the story in the kids’ heads. They know now what day the fish and birds were created, or what day God made the sun, stars, and moon. It also allowed us to talk about the relationship between all these different things in our natural world and how, as Christians, we are expected to care for world, to be good stewards for the environment. It’s a concept we’ll carry over to next week when we talk about Noah and the flood.
I’m so pleased with how this whole little lesson and project went. We haven’t found a church we’re planning on attending yet, but in the mean time I want to talk to my kids about God and Jesus and what I believe and what I hope they will carry with them in their hearts, too. This was a great way to start.