Last week my cousin, his wife and almost 2 year old son came to visit us. Well, he actually came to compete in the Garage Games with my husband, but they stayed with us and we vacationed-it up. Of course, they flew in from California on the day it had been sleeting for 24 hours and every flight but theirs and one other was cancelled. They had to drag their luggage on Marta to meet my dad at his work (which he had been at for 3 days due to the weather) and then when the snow and ice finally melted, my husband drove to Atlanta to get them. It was a warm…er, lovely welcome for them.
To get ready for our houseguests, we had to, well, clean the house. At the best of times, cleaning is not my forte. But with a busted up foot, it was near impossible. One thing that had to be done was purge the playroom. I kept Legos, stuffed animals, puppets, costumes and then gave each kid one box (from our Expedit) to keep their toys. It was serious.
As they were deciding which toys were worth keeping, I was looking through all the books and resources I’ve collected since beginning homeschool. My friend, Mandi sent me an assortment of her homeschool books and in the midst of handwriting-readiness and other thrilling subjects, I found a book I had forgotten about, Proverbs Family Nights Tool Chest by Jim Weidman and Del Van Essen. It’s part of the Heritage Builders series by Focus on the Family (where one of my favorite toddler devotions came from) and when I saw the title “Proverbs” I got excited!
This book is mainly a huge handbook of family nights dedicated to the book of Proverbs. Each family night has at least three activities (games, simple crafts and more) plus conversation starters, Scripture and slogans to memorize. It’s really well planned out. It might be a little overwhelming because it reads like a curriculum book but if you go into it knowing it’s a resource and not a mandatory to-do, I think it’s great!
I took one of the activities from the book to add on to a Scripture I was already planning to do for our Whoo’s Wise series. At lunch time, I told the kids we were going to have popcorn for lunch. You should have seen their faces. Popcorn is about like chocolate at our house and they were literally dancing in the kitchen.
My husband is a popcorn snob and will only make it on the stove with the Whirly-Pop (yes, the Whirly-Pop). As soon as we got the corn popping, I turned off the stove and looked to see if my kids noticed the lack of kernels popping. (They didn’t.) I poured the popcorn into a bowl and this is what we got:
Mostly kernels with a sad amount of freshly popped popcorn. I asked them what I did wrong. We talked about leaving the popcorn on the stove for a longer time, turning the handle of the Whirly-Pop and the devastation of wasted popcorn kernels.
Then we tried again and I let the popcorn pop completely. When we poured that batch into our popcorn bowl, it was almost overflowing! As we sat and chomped our popcorn we read several Proverbs:
Proverbs 10:4 “Hands that don’t want to work make you poor. But hands that work hard bring wealth to you.”
Proverbs 10:5 “A child who gathers crops in summer is wise. But a child who sleeps at harvest time brings shame.”
Proverbs 14:23 “All hard work pays off. But if all you do is talk, you will be poor.”
Proverbs 15:19 “The way of people who don’t want to work is blocked with thorns. But the path of honest people is a wide road.”
Proverbs 19:15 “Anyone who doesn’t want to work sleeps his life away. And a person who refuses to work goes hungry.”
Proverbs 13:4 “People who refuse to work want things and get nothing. But the longings of people who work hard are completely satisfied.”
We talked about how when we are lazy and don’t work hard, we don’t get the good things we want. Just like I didn’t “work hard” and keep the popcorn on the stove, we didn’t get the amount of popcorn we wanted.
Then, we read one of our favorite books, The Nineteenth of Maquerk. This is a huge board book told in the vein of Dr. Suess but based on Proverbs 13:4. It’s about a little catterpillow (yes, catterpillow) who doesn’t want to spin his cocoon and when he misses the cut off (the 19th Day of Maquerk), he doesn’t become a butterfly.
It is a fabulous book with so many individual phrases and actions you can use as a discussion starter for being diligent and a hard worker. From what I can tell, it was a kids’ sermon series at Promiseland, the children’s ministry of Willow Creek and Zondervan picked it up as a kids’ book. Regardless, it’s fabulous.
The kids already love this book but really got into this whole connection with the popcorn. We talked about the popcorn, the catterpillow and then, of course, our own lack of diligence in some areas. They were totally ready to be hard-working caterpillows!
So, I said, “Let’s show how we can work hard by cleaning up this messy living room! We’ll set a stopwatch and see how fast we can do it!” And the first thing from my son’s mouth? “Uuuuuggggh!”
Lydia reprimanded him and said, “Asa! We just read about being diligent!” so he tried to straighten himself back up (that’s him below grabbing something to put away) and soon we were all cleaning up as fast as we could. It took 10 minutes (and Asa ended up bashing his foot or his hand or something halfway through so he went outside with his Daddy and the dog for a few minutes) and can I tell you that Lydia had the biggest smile and look of contentment on her face when we were done? She was completely satisfied.
You might not have The Nineteenth of Maquerk book (looks like it’s only available for Kindle unless you buy it used) but you can still do a popcorn activity and read the Scriptures together. Proverbs is so full of word pictures and concrete images that your kids will put all of it together! Plus, you’ll be able to refer back to one of the Scriptures and the popcorn when you need to remind your kids to be diligent and hard-working!
Oooh! Oh! I almost forgot! My friend Maureen from SpellOutloud, a fabulous homeschool-and-more blog (her nature ebook is gorgeous!) made a sweet Proverbs 1:7 Owl coloring sheet for us! Just click the link or the image below to download. If you use it, take a picture and use the hashtag #whooswise and/or tag @MaureenSpell on twitter so she can see, too!
How have you taught your kids to be hard workers?
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