My girls all really enjoy watching Endurance on Discovery Kids. It is a "Survivor" type of reality show and they are all really into it. I had been praying and asking the Lord to give me an idea for Advent and while a few came to mind, nothing really seemed to stick out. Then, I felt like He dropped a wonderful idea in my brain...take their favorite TV show and turn it into an Advent study on the fruits of the spirit, particularly "endurance".
The first night, I typed up James 1:2-4 (Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing). We then talked about how easy it is to have faith when everything is going well in life. But, it is so much harder to have faith and trust God when bad things happen. That is where endurance comes in. We then did our first Endurance Challenge. Each one randomly got to choose 2 jars/cans. I explained they had to hold the items they chose over their heads while standing up as long as they could. They laughed and said how easy that would be.
They stopped laughing about 3 minutes later. They started sweating about 7 minutes later. They hung on and and at the 10-minute mark I told them they could be done (I started picturing them with muscles so sore they couldn't get out of bed in the morning!). I was so proud that they hung on, even though it was obvious they were very uncomfortable. We, then prayed and asked God to help us in our own personal areas where we felt we lacked endurance. We ended by making ice cream sundaes as their "prize".
Tonight, their challenge was "teamwork" and they didn't do so good. Therefore, there was no reward. I gave them $5 and told them to go through Michael's and buy the materials they would need to create a banner with all 3 of their "team" colors (red, green and silver). Things got a little ugly, as I pointed out that each one of them are good leaders, but they must learn when to give in and cooperate. There were some tears, but by the time we got home, they had all apologized. We re-read our scripture and asked God to help us learn from the mistakes that were made tonight. It wasn't really what I had planned to happen, but the lesson was powerful and I didn't have to yell at them.
I believe that the Holy Spirit is really guiding us! Tonight was a lesson in endurance that I'm hoping will really impact how they treat one another in the future. It wasn't really "fun", but it was meaningful. I told them that some of the most important things we learn in life will not be "fun" and/or "entertaining". Like algebra. And, learning from the mistakes we make.
Next up...Joseph. Now, there's a guy who endured......