We're back on schedule with our summer adventure -- 39 Clues to You. If you missed the first two posts about our adventures, you can find them here and here. The goal of 39 Clues to You is to teach my girls and four of their friends about the value of others. Join us on our journey as we learn that it matters to God how we treat each other because each person is precious to Him. We drove home from Colorado yesterday -- that's 10 hours in the car. Now, we don't have a spacious minivan or SUV where each girl has lots of space to themselves. My car is a VW Passat station wagon (which I love, by the way). The bigger the girls get, the less room they each have -- and the more often they fuss at each other.
We've found the trip home always seems longer than the trip out, probably because everyone is tired of each other and just plain tired. Yesterday, our girls started the trip bickering with one another. It wasn't so much what they actually said to one another as how they said it.
My girls are old enough to know better than to flat-out insult one another, but they are experts at making sure their tone conveys exactly what they think of their sister at that moment. It's frustrating, and we've been trying to impress on our girls that our tone and what we are thinking is equally as important as the words that actually come out of our mouths.
Today's 39 Clues adventure focuses on the importance of treating others respectfully with our words. But I'm not going to lecture on what words God wants us to use or not use. Giving the kids a list of rules to follow simply makes God seem like a hard taskmaster. No, today, we're going to go after the root of the problem and take a look at our hearts.
Our memory verse for today is Luke 6:45: A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
It's what's in our hearts that determines what comes out of our mouths. If we're filling our hearts up with anger, frustration and meanness, then that's what's going to come out of our mouths. However, if we are spending time with God each day and letting Him fill us up with His love, then words that reflect His love will come pouring out of our mouths.
To illustrate this point with the girls, I'm giving them each a cup and a bowl. We're going to pour water in the cups until they overflow into the bowls. Then we're going to talk about what we expected to come out of the cups. We poured in water, so why didn't we expect orange juice or hot chocolate to come out when it overflowed?
We'll talk about how our hearts are like the cup. We can't expect love to overflow out of our hearts into our words, if we're not filling our hearts up with God's love. We'll spend some time talking about what our speech will sound like if it's overflowing with God's love. And we'll discuss how words really do matter. We can't take them back once they're out, and they can hurt worse than an actual punch to the arm.
Before we use our cups in our illustration, I'm going to have the girls use Sharpies to decorate them with hearts. Part of their homework will be to drink out of their cups everyday to remind them to fill their hearts up with God's love every day.
Our featured girl for the day is my next-door-neighbor's oldest daughter. I'll hand out the clues, and we'll figure out which girl we're going to learn about today. She's a gorgeous girl who is a lot of fun. She's super smart and is an excellent problem solver. She loves to play piano and volleyball. So, today, she's going to teach the rest of us about her two favorite skills. We're going to get a little piano lesson, and we're going to head outside to bump and set our way through the afternoon.
After our activities, we'll come back inside and talk about how hard or easy each of them was. And, we'll talk about what we liked or dislike about each one. We'll have my neighbor's daughter talk about why she loves each of those activities.
We'll wrap up with a reminder that God made each one of us different and our differences are what make us useful in God's plan. Even if some of the girls dislike the activities, they'll have a new appreciation for how difficult each one of those things is.
The girls will leave today with a devotional page that takes them through 1 Corinthians 13 in the next five days to help them spend time each day with God. They'll also leave with a challenge to write down the times this week when their words reflect God's love.
Hopefully, by the time they leave today, they won't just have a better understanding of the talents of one of their friends, but they'll be more aware of their words as well.