In the Godly Play classrooms, we have been “getting ready for the Mystery of Easter.” This is a LONG lesson; there are six parts, although we have combined some of the lessons so that they are being told over 4 weeks. The children have been hearing the story of Jesus’ path to the cross.
Personally, I find the “The Mystery of Easter” a little harder to connect with, and I find that working through it with my own children is also challenging. We have to talk about death, and if you’ve ever lived with a toddler, they ask a LOT of questions: some surprisingly mature, some that catch me off guard, and some that I am not sure of how to answer. Sometime it’s hard for me to sit in that discomfort – I feel like I have to or should know the answers – but sometimes “that is a great mystery” is all my child needs to hear. It’s taken me a while to accept that it’s ok to not have all the answers, and to have faith that it will work itself out.
Even though this is a challenging topic, I feel I still want to have those discussions or at least leave room for those discussions in our home. I wanted to find a way for us, as a family, to walk with Jesus through Holy Week, so my young children become familiar with the path Jesus took, and so that we have a shared vocabulary.
The Godly Play curriculum uses mostly three-dimensional, hands-on materials to make stories come to life. The materials are simple, because we want the child’s imagination to do some of the work, and because of this simplicity, it can be easy to bring this into your home.
On Palm Sunday, there will be Holy Week boxes for you to take home. In them you will find a small wooden figure, a palm leaf, a wooden square with a chalice and loaf of bread painted on it, a crown of “thorns”, a piece of burial cloth and booklet. These small items will help guide your family in a simple way toward the cross and hopefully give space for contemplation and conversation. There will be some “I wonder” prompts included, too. These are meant to be open ended – there is no right or wrong answer. In the Godly Play training, we are taught to acknowledge and give weight to the comments of the children. We often simply repeat their own words back to them giving their response more time to sink in. As adults, it’s easy for us to feel like we need to “teach” them, but often, if we listen and are patient, we can learn more than we expected. So, resist the urge to be the one doing most of the talking. Trust the process!
Blessings on your Lenten Journey,