Use this Preteen Sunday School Lesson: Divorce to reinforce to kids that God is with them during this troubling time and it is not their fault.
1. Family Upset-Form a circle of chairs with one less chair than people. Pick one person to be “It.” Have It stand in the middle of the circle. Secretly assign the name of a different family member, such as brother or mother, to each person. It calls the name of a family member. Everyone assigned that name must trade chairs. It tries to sit in a chair. Whoever is left standing is now It. It may call more than one family member at a time. And if It calls “Divorce,” everyone must find a new chair. Play this game several times.
Ask: “Why do parents divorce? How do kids feel when their parents divorce? Does a divorce upset a family? Why or why not?”
2. Craft: Inside Out-Distribute a small paper bag, paper slips, and markers to each child.
Say: “On the outside of your paper bag, write things that other people might know about you such as what you like to do, what you look like, and what kind of house you live in. Then on slips of paper, write things that others may not know about you such as things your family fights about, how your parents treat each other, and how you feel about divorce. Place these papers inside your bag and staple your bag closed. People can’t get inside your bag unless you choose to let them in.”
Ask: “How does it feel to have family secrets that no one knows about? How are our bags similar to or different from the way families hide their problems? What family problems can cause parents to get a divorce?”
Read aloud Psalm 139:16.
Say: “God knows all there is to know about us. He knows us inside out and he wants to help us-in good times and hard times such as if our family goes through a divorce. God wants to help us with the things that are inside our bags and our homes. But we need to let him help us. Write the name “God” on the outside of your bag. Remember that you need to invite God to help you with any problems you may be having at home.”
3. Share a Prayer–Ask: “How can God’s presence help families through a divorce? What kinds of things can we do to help friends whose parents divorce?”
Say: “Tell your partner one thing about your family that you want God to help with. Then pray for each other.”
Allergy Alert: Some children have food allergies that can be dangerous. Know your children, and consult with parents about allergies their children may have.
4. Snack: Food for Thought-You’ll need: A small bakery wedding cake.
Directions: Serve the children wedding cake.
Say: “When two people marry, God wants them to be married for life. But sometimes, a husband and wife decide they don’t want to be married anymore. This can cause a lot of pain for children. Let’s ask God to help children whose parents have divorced.”
Close in prayer, thanking God for children’s families and asking God to help children of divorce.
Susan Grover is a children’s minister in California.
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