Main Point of Discussion:
To show what our heavenly Father is like and how He can be a Father to us all.
Vital Info Before You Get Started:
(The following should help you contextualize this important issue so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.)
You’ll Start with a “Drawing” Exercise:
- Since this discussion will focus on you and the very people you’re talking to (particularly you and your spouse), be advised that it could be a touchy subject at times depending on situations you’re going through as a family. Therefore tailor the questions and activities to suit your needs and situations.
- Be aware that your children may not want to answer questions as completely as you’d like—or perhaps they’ll answer more completely than you’d like! Either way, do what you can to deliver the questions in as non-threatening a manner as possible (again, tailor the text to suit your needs and comfort level).
Make sure everyone has a piece of paper and something to write with. Instruct them to fold the paper as if they were folding a letter for a regular envelope (tri-fold). Then have them fold that in half. Now have them unfold the paper to reveal the six small “squares” that the folds created. Explain that this exercise is a way to express feelings in a creative way.
After your family members have finished, allow them to share the meanings of their drawings.
- Say, in the first square draw a letter, a symbol, or a picture of the first thing you think of when you think of your dad.
- Say, in the second square draw a letter, a symbol, or a picture of the first thing you think of when you think of your mom.
- Say, in the third square draw a horizontal line across it. On the left side of the line write CLOSER and on the far right side of the line write FARTHER AWAY. Now place yourself as a dot on the line, indicating which direction you are moving in your relationship with your parents—ask yourself if you’re drawing “closer” to them or “farther away.”
- Say, in the fourth square draw a letter, a symbol, or a picture of something you would do the same way if you were in your parents’ shoes. (In other words, symbolize something that they do that you like.)
- Say, in the fifth square draw a letter, a symbol, or a picture of something that you would do differently if you were in your parents’ shoes. (In other words, symbolize something that you don’t like or wish they did differently.)
- Say, in the sixth square draw a picture of something that represents the perfect relationship with a parent.
Family Discussion Drama (Optional):
You can use this if you have time or prefer it to the drawing exercise. Tell your family members that they’re going to role-play a few situations typical to most families. Tip: Have children play parents, and parents play children (good for all to wear hats they’re not used to in order to foster understanding and learning). Limit dramas to about four minutes each.
Where to Take It from Here:
You’ll need at least 3 actors (1 Mom, 1 Dad, and 1 Son)
Last night the son came home an hour late. It's breakfast the next morning, and the subject is being discussed. Go.
You’ll need at least 3 actors (1 Mom, 1 Dad, and 1 Daughter)
The family is sitting down discussing oldest sister's future. The parents want her to go to college, but she wants to get a job and live with her friends. Go.
You’ll need at least 4 actors (1 Mom, 1 Dad, 1 Son, and 1 Girlfriend)
Son and girlfriend have been dating for a long time now. The subject of dating has come up at the table while the son’s girlfriend is over for dinner. Son’s parents want to make sure that they are being careful (from the standpoint of sex). Go.
Wherever it feels natural. If these exercises lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, keep engaging them.
For Deeper Discussion: (If your kids seem into diving in deeper, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)
CLICK HERE if you want to look at a quick training article on small groups and drawing questions out of young people—you may find much of the information applicable as you go through this subject with your family members.
More Discussion Questions:
- HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Say three words that describe your family.
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
Read the following passage from the Bible:
ASK ONE FAMILY MEMBER: In Jesus’ story, the “father” represents God, the Father. Who do you think the “sons” represent? (Parent—answer you’re looking for: us.)
ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What words would you use to describe the father Jesus talks about in this story?
ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: We already know the father in this parable represents God the Father—but would you use those words to describe God? Why or why not?
ASK A FEW: What does Jesus’ teaching—that He is willing to let “bad” people like prostitutes and tax collectors into His Kingdom—say about the personality of God? (Parent—answer you’re looking for: God is gracious.)
28"What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' 29" 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30"Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. 31"Which of the two did what his father wanted?"
"The first," they answered.
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.”
Families are so important because they impact EVERYTHING we do. But we also looked at another kind of family—God’s. You heard Jesus describe His Father, God, as a radically forgiving and gracious father who loves his “sons” even though they do not exactly please him. We also saw that Jesus’ used “sons” to describe us!
Listen to another verse from the Bible that describes God’s love for us:
How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)
Your mother/father and I aren’t perfect. None of us are. Only God is the perfect parent. God the Father promises to never leave us nor forsake us. God the Father graciously forgives every single mistake and sin if we ask his forgiveness. God the Father has paid the highest price in the universe to ensure our opportunity to have relationships with Him through Jesus His Son. Your mother/father and I try to love you; you try to love us; we all try to love each other. But we all fail. Because only God can offer love that never fails.
Close in Prayer