The main reason why it was awesome fun was because I spent most of the time on one activity, and ditched some of the lesson. Sometimes, it's just gotta be done. Their attention spans, while varied amongst the kiddies, are not terribly long. And I much prefer to get the main point across strongly, than harbour away at too many stories and too much reverence. It is the third hour of church, after all.
It took a while to get the opening prayer done. Turns out everyone wants to say it, and some feel offended if they don't. So I quickly drew up a chart on the board to ensure everyone will have a turn each week (and photographed it afterwards, under the supervision of one diligent young man who really doesn't want to miss out on his turn).
I then dramatically whipped out the following: an empty glass, a large spoon, and a large glass bowl. There was a little speculation of what I was doing ..
I put the glass bowl into a large baking tray, to avoid any mess, and then emptied a bottle of water into the bowl. All eyes were glued to what I was doing. I then instructed everyone to think of what blessings they had received from Heavenly Father, ones they were really grateful for. Each of us would say a blessing we were truly grateful for, and take a spoonful of water from the bowl into the cup.
I started. I said I was really grateful for clouds - how I loved their shapes and colours in the sky. I then spponed my watery blessing into the cup. Oh my gosh this activity was a hit. They thought up the coolest blessings to have a turn, and we just kept going round and round the table. They wouldn't have stopped, except we were running out of water.
What would have happened if we just kept going? The cup would have overflowed! They then really understood what I meant, when I said Heavenly Father loves us so much that He just keep giving us blessings, and more blessings, until we are overflowed!
We quickly played our usual game of hangman (without a hanging man) to get the main word - GRATITUDE. We repeated the word together, and I then wrote up the words 'thankful' and 'grateful' too, and we talked about these words.
I then showed them a picture of the Ten Lepers. The story, found in Luke 17, is a great illustration of gratitude. I explained what leprosy was, and how people were so afraird of lepers back then that these sick people had to live outside the city, away from their family and friends.
When the Saviour, Jesus Christ, gave them instructions on how to be healed, they were suddenly able to live with their families again. Imagine how that would have felt. How would we have felt, if Jesus Christ had done this great miracle for you?
There were ten of them - we all put our ten fingers up in the air. And guess how many said thank you to Jesus? Put down nine fingers - that's right, only one said thank you. Only one showed his gratitude. Why only one, we discussed.
The other point I raised was how we can express our gratitude to Heavenly Father - how often do we pray each day? The kids listed all the times for prayer, and reminding them of the (almost) overflowing cup of blessings, we talked about being thankful in our prayers. It is so important to remember to be thankful in our prayers.
It was nice to have a thankful prayer to close our class.