by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
As I did the final editing on last week’s essay, our local Community College was ‘on lockdown’ as law enforcement personnel searched the campus for a gunman. I was later informed that the man was apprehended at LAX seeking to flee the country. The message first came to me as a prayer request phoned in to the church office from a teacher at the school reporting that he was locked in his classroom with 22 students. “All were calm but anxious.” I wonder if anyone of them was reading Psalm 91 on their phone?!
After all the amazing promises of Psalm 91 comes Psalm 92:1. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High.” (NLT) As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, we might print Psalm 92:1 out and post it in a conspicuous place in our classroom or family room. When Frank and I were young parents with four children, two of them preschoolers, we memorized more hymns than we did Bible verses. Of course, hymns contain a lot of scripture, and it is a recognized truth that singing something makes it much easier to memorize.
‘Big church’ music can be an important part of your activity on any given weekend. You can enlist some on the worship team to spend time within your children’s program, teaching them the same praise songs their parents are singing in ‘big church.’ In fact, playlists of music from adult worship can be created and easily accessed by families at home. That way on the Sundays when children are invited to join services, sitting with their parents, they will be able to join in.
If it is not customary to have children present in adult services, consider suggesting that the fifth Sundays of the year be “Family Sundays!” With some creative input from the children’s department leaders, a service can be fashioned that acknowledges the presence (and thus the value) of children in the faith community. The kids would already know the songs, having learned them at home and in their own class time. You can find ways to involve children in the service, and the sermon would most likely be shorter than normal and more interactive. An adopt-a- grandparent program works well here for encouraging intergenerational bonding.
Here’s an ‘at home’ possibility. If finding a hymnbook is difficult, consider looking for words of a hymn online and let kids play the music on their phones. Print off the words of the verses so each family member has their own copy. Try memorizing one hymn a month. One of my young family’s favorites was Praise the Savior, You Who Know Him. Many decades later, I can still recite most of this from memory. Great Is Thy Faithfulness and Amazing Grace are others to consider. Make use of YouTube where a lot of these great-content songs are performed and are freely available for a sing along. Talk about the valuable truths of the hymn or Gospel song you’re learning as a family or class. Find this in corresponding Scriptures.
Building gratitude into the fiber of a person’s character incorporates resilient strength. This is something we can all benefit from. Try increasing your musical experiences in class and family as you thank our Heavenly Father for his many blessings this time of the year.
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will…I Thessalonians 5:18 ((NLT)