Friends are an important part of our kids' lives. They can be a surce of great joy and encouragement. However, they can also be a source of great pain. Who hasn't had a child come home from school crying because "Joanie wouldn't play with me at recess today."
It's important to teach our children how to be good friends based on the Biblical model of friendship. We also need to be teaching them how to choose their friends wisely. It's for exactly these reasons that we are traveling to Texas on our Journey Across America today. The word Texas comes from a Native American word that means friend, and the state's motto is simply "Friendship."
To reinforce the important aspects of friendship, today we're going to look at what makes a good friend. We're going to focus on Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times" and Ecclesiastes 4:9, "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work." To reinforce that idea, we're going to have a cattle roundup. The girls will work in teams of two to create a brand for their cows. I'll then give them some paper cows, on which they will draw their brand. The cows will get all mixed up and hidden around the yard. Working together the girls will have to round up all of the cows marked with their brand.
This activity reinforces the idea of working together. During the inevitable conflict that will arise when creating something together, they'll be gently reminded of Proverbs 17:17. We'll also spend some time talking about how God "marks" us as his by giving us the Holy Spirit. Just like the cowboys brand their cows so they know them, God "marks" us with the Holy Spirit.
We'll also be working together as we learn a little about the space program because Johnson Space Center is in Houston. We'll watch a clip or two from the movie Apollo 13 about the Apollo capsule that was disabled on its way to the moon, and the team on the ground had to figure out how to get them home safely. The girls will then have to work together to complete a task that will only work if they all work together. Just for fun, we'll also break out our stomp rocket to see who can shoot the rocket the farthest.
To reinforce the idea found in 1 Corinthians 15:33, "Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals,” we're going to see how hard it is to pull someone up to your level. Many times, children will make an excuse for hanging out with friends who don't make wise choices by saying they are trying to be a good influence on the other person. This activity shows just how hard that can be. One girl will stand on a chair with another child standing below her. She will then try to pull the person on the floor up onto the chair while the other person tries to pull her off the chair. What do you think will happen? The person on the chair usually falls off. It's a great example of how easy it is to be corrupted by others even if your intentions are good.
Our last activity of the day will be to make friendship bracelets out of embroidery floss, so the girls will have a reminder of what a good friend is and that they need to choose their friends wisely.
Hopefully, by the end of the day, they'll know something about Texas and a whole lot about friendship.