See below for resources to use for your family worship time, including a song, coloring page, learning activities, teaching materials and ideas for ongoing family fun. Be blessed!
These will depend on the activities you choose:
Clothes pin for the Grumbles game
Black construction paper, black and white paint for Shine like Stars
Hammer, nails, block of wood for Hammer Knocker/ Puller
Sugar, salt, honey, vinegar
Piece of white paper with a single dot
Complaining, is ultimately an insult to God; we can resolve against grumbling by having gratitude.
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing. (Philippians 2)
Family Activities (Introduce):
Choose activities that fit your family's need and that you have the time for.
The Grumbles game
Start this game early in the day. Read Philippians 2:14 and explain what grumbling and complaining sound like. Place 5 clothes pin on each children's shirt. Throughout the day have themselves and any other kids listen for complaining and grumbles. Each time, remove a clothes pin from that child's group of 5. If any child finishes the day with clothespins left, give them a small, previously agreed upon reward.
Begin this activity with a board and 2 partially driven-in nails. Talk to your students about about the 2 different parts of the hammer, the head and the claw. A hammer can both knock a nail in or pull one out but it cannot do both at once. In the same way, a person can knock others around or pull others up but not both at the same time. Complaining knocks others around while positive talk pulls others up. Allow the children practice knocking and pulling the nails (with adult help).
Shine like stars craft
Using a black sheet of paper, have students dip their finger in black paint on one side and white paint on the other. Brainstorm with students statements that are complaining or grumbling. Each time they say one, have them dot the paper with the black paint. Then, brainstorm uplifting and positive statements. Each time they say one, have them dot the paper with white paint. Finish with more positive statements so that the page is covered with "shining stars". Read Philippians 2: 14-16 to help reinforce this idea.
To begin your lesson:
Use this song to connect with this week's lesson. Also, choose your favorite songs to worship with your kids.
Read with your student Philippians 2: 12-18 from your favorite bible version.
Nobody likes a grumbler. But complaining has become so prevalent in today’s culture that sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing. Illustrate the dangers of complaining with a few object lessons.
-First, hold up a plain sheet of paper with a single dot in the center. Ask students what they see. Most likely, they will comment on the dot. Point out that what you have is a perfectly good sheet of paper. It just happens to have one little dot. So often we are prone to point out the tiny bit of bad in a situation, rather than focusing on the overall positive.
-Whine tasting…two options here (feel free to use both). Explain that kind words are sweet and special to the soul, while negative grumblings are sour or bitter. Allow students to sample something sweet, like honey, followed by something sour or bitter, like vinegar or lemon juice. Alternately, provide a small spoon of sugar and one of salt…have students blindly guess which they’d like, without knowing what will be sweet and what will be salty. Emphasize again how important it is to think before we speak. Today we will talk about why complaining can be so damaging.
Ask students what kinds of things upset or irritate them. Is it doing a chore? Fighting with a brother or sister? Having to wait for things? We have probably all been told by parents that we shouldn’t grumble, but why does it matter? What do you think the Bible says about it? Invite students to examine the book of Philippians:
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. -Philippians 2:14-16
What does Paul say about avoiding negative comments? It makes us stand out. It makes us “shine like stars” because people will notice something different. And it’s true. If everyone around you is whining and you show a better spirit, people will notice and will genuinely appreciate it.
Let’s read Philippians 2:14-15 together. (Read the verse with the kids.)
This is really an amazing couple of verses. See how the bible mentions shining like the stars in the sky? I’ve got a flashlight right here and I want to demonstrate to you what I think these verses mean. (Turn on the flashlight and ask a helper to dim the lights.) Look at that. Let’s pretend that this dark room is the whole world. It’s a dark place and people have to walk around in the dark all the time. You know why it is so dark? Because everyone argues and grumbles and complains all the time. Except for a few people. They are the children of God. (Walk around the room shining your flashlight.) Wherever they go, people can see. It’s good to have a child of God near you except when they begin to argue too. (Flick the light off and on.) Looks like that Christians are arguing! Oh no! You know what that means? (Turn the light off for a few seconds then turn it back on.) Thank goodness! They must have made up. (Ask the helper to turn the lights on.)
MAKE IT PERSONAL:
Rather than grumbling, we are to rejoice. In EVERY situation, pray and ask God’s guidance. Here we also see the main antidote to complaining: thanksgiving. It is awfully hard to whine when you are thinking about gratitude. Instead of negative grousing, we can be thankful. We put our minds on what is true, pure, lovely, admirable…that is how we can eliminate the whine press. And how does this relate to our dealings with one another? Peter explains:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. -1 Peter 4:8-9
In addition to gratitude, LOVE is the key to eliminating complaints. Often we wind up gossiping when we want to “vent” or complain. When we love, there is no room for ill feelings towards another.
The Bible also explains the dangers of whining. In the Old Testament, we see the people of God bitterly complain against Him. When the Israelites are first brought out of Egypt, they whine to Moses about the conditions and the lack of food. Even after God provides manna, they are still unsatisfied and demand meat. There is no end to their grumbling…
Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died down. –Numbers 11:1-2
Clearly, we see here that God can easily strike down those who grumble and groan. But we also see that His mercy and compassion shine through, as well. He is gracious to hear of our woes, even when they are against Him. It’s important to note, though, that our outcries ultimately do us no good. God already knows our hearts and feelings. Complaining is really an insult to God, more than anything. It is saying that what He has provided is not enough, and somehow we think our way will be better. We ignore or neglect the amazing power God has. Instead of whining against God or against others, we ought to be dwelling on His incredible might.
Family Activity (Reinforce)
Listen and sing this song to help your student remember the lessons from today.
See you all next week. Be Blessed!
It Takes a Village
Faith formation in children is a massive undertaking. While parents are the primary disciple-makers of their kiddos, we're here to let you know you're not alone.