Resilience Sparks

Resilience Sparks

The Resilience Team at St. Paul offers Resilience Sparks each week to help spark fun ideas for families to connect and engage. If you want to share pictures or responses to your family’s Resilience Sparks experiences, please email them to Tori Brown, Director of Children’s Ministry, at tori@stpaulchurchky.org.


Week of February 14

Hi, everyone! This is a new blurb the Resilience Team is adding to give families fun ideas to connect and engage with one another in ways that are healthy for the mind, body, and spirit. 

Feel free to send pictures of your activities to Tori to inspire and encourage others to participate. 

Hey kids, how about writing a note to a grandparent or a retirement center this week?  Include a picture you have drawn or collage from a magazine expressing something that makes you happy.  Make sure it gets in the mail.


Week of February 21 

Cheers! Hi, everyone! As a reminder, this is a new blurb the Resilience Team is adding to give families fun ideas to connect and engage with one another in ways that are healthy for the mind, body, and spirit. 

Feel free to send pictures of your activities to Tori to inspire and encourage others to participate. 

Create your own family awards to affirm each member of your household. You can be as silly or as serious as you would like. You can design your awards however you choose and present them at a time this week that works for all of your household members. Remember to send in pictures so we can see your love and creativity displayed. (If designing awards for every person in your house is overwhelming, you all can select names out of a hat and create an award for the person whose name you draw.) 

Cheers!

Your Resilience Team 


Week of February 28:

Hi, everyone! This is a new blurb the Resilience Team is adding to give families fun ideas to connect and engage with one another in ways that are healthy for the mind, body, and spirit. 

Feel free to send pictures of your activities to Tori to inspire and encourage others to participate. 

Think of creative ways you can practice gratitude this week. Perhaps your family members can take turns naming things for which they are thankful. You could even turn it into a gratitude game: set a timer and see who can come up with the most items of thankfulness within a given time or go through the alphabet, listing items for which you are grateful starting with each letter. You may also turn your gratitude practice into an act of kindness by drawing a picture for or writing a note to someone expressing that you are thankful that person is in your life. 

Cheers!

Your Resilience Team 


Week of March 7: 

Try playing Help Your Neighbor as a different version of tag. No one is “it” in this game. Each person balances a beanbag or paper plate or other available object on his/her head. Parents can outline the boundaries—inside the house or outside in the yard—and everyone can run/walk with the object balanced on the head. If the object falls off, that person freezes and waits for a neighbor to come replace the object. The challenge for the neighbor is replacing the object without dropping his/her own object in the process. (You can also use your creativity to modify the game such as where the object is balanced.) 

Afterward, you can talk about what it means to be a good neighbor and how it’s not always easy! 


Week of March 14: 

This week, try taking pictures or drawing pictures of things or people who symbolize bravery to you. Find a time to gather as a family and discuss your pictures together. What does it mean to be brave—by the world’s standards and by God’s standards? 

These Resilience sparks are meant to create moments and connections so people don’t feel alone. We all experience good and hard feelings no matter our age so we can all connect from this standpoint.  Creating good memories and cultivating good feelings protect us when challenging times come. This protection is a little bit of the same way eating our veggies and exercising our bodies can help our immune systems fight off disease when it comes. It isn’t foolproof, but it helps.

Cheers!

Your Resilience Team 


Week of March 21:

Try this indoor or outdoor fun activity to combine your listening skills and movement. Select someone in your household to be in charge of the music. Then dance, jump, run, or otherwise move to the music, but each time the music stops, freeze in whatever position you find yourself. You may rotate who plays the music. As always, you can add your creative twists to the game. 

Share your pictures with Tori! 

The purpose of each resilience spark is to provide families fun ideas to connect and engage with one another in ways that are healthy for the mind, body, and spirit.

Cheers!

Your Resilience team 


Week of March 28: 

Easter is coming! The Good News to us is that Jesus is the gift worth finding, so why not celebrate with a scavenger hunt! Need some suggestions? What is the object(s) to be found? Who is searching, individuals or the family as a team? Maybe the hunt can start with everyone opening their first clue in a plastic egg at the end of a meal. If you want your family to work together, adults and older children can do the reading, and younger children can help answer and go get the next clue. Otherwise, adults can help the children as they figure out each of their clues. Symbolism and metaphors are best understood by children after the age of 10 or so, but family fun is fun, so feel free to include as much or as little as you want. Here are some examples of clues for children of all ages to find their Easter baskets:

  • Your Heavenly Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Where would He keep the milk? (next clue is in the refrigerator) 
  • Luke 22:14-19 – At the Passover meal on Thursday, Jesus passed the cup to his disciples, and told them to take a _ _ _ _ _ (leave the clue at the faucet or where you keep your drinks)
  • John 19:1-3 – Jesus was physically hurt in many ways leading up to the crucifixion. He loves us so much that he didn’t want us to be hurt that badly. What do we use to treat our boo-boos? (clue can be on the first aid kit, in the medicine cabinet, by the door where you keep supplies, etc.)
  • (print or draw a picture of their favorite toy or a special place in the house or yard, cut it into a puzzle for them to complete to go find their next clue)
  • Matthew 27:50-51 – When Jesus died on the cross, there was an earthquake. Stomp/Shake like an earthquake to get your next clue.
  • The Easter egg represents Jesus leaving the empty tomb behind. Where would eggs be found in the house?  (clue can be on or in the egg carton)
  • Mark 9:2-9 – During his transfiguration, Jesus’ clothes were white as snow. Where do your clothes get nice and clean? (the tub of the washing machine is an easy place to hide an Easter basket!)

Create what works for your family. Enjoy the celebration and time together! Happy Easter!

From your St. Paul Resilience Team


Week of April 4:

This week, try to find a time to go on a walk together as a family and look for God sightings; specifically look for signs of new life. Discuss as a family how each sign is an expression of God’s love and the hope of Christ’s Resurrection. 

Happy Easter!

Your Resilience Team 


Week of April 11:

Glue, tape, stick or staple cloth, string, foil, twigs, leaves, paper, pasta, buttons and bottle caps onto a large piece of cardboard. See how many different kinds of material you can use to create an image of a pet, person, plant or place recognizable to another member of your family.

Share pictures of your collages with Miss Tori! 

Cheers!

Your Resilience team 


Week of April 18:

Sometimes when we are experiencing a strong emotion—whether worry or sadness or anger—it’s helpful to pause and take some deep breaths. This helps us calm our bodies down and can make us more ready to receive the peace Jesus offers. 

Think about using your diaphragm to breathe in slowly for 4 seconds, hold that breath for 4 seconds, breathe out slowly for 4 seconds, and hold for 4 seconds. Repeat several times in a row.

Breathing makes everything better! Our brain uses the oxygen we breathe in, but all of our systems work better with better breathing. 

Do you remember learning about Breath Prayers? One example is: Breathe in “Come to me,” Breathe out “Holy Spirit.”

Breathing can be LIFE GIVING in more than one way!  

Try the square breathing technique outlined above and create your own breath prayers. 

Peace,

Your Resilience Team 


Week of April 25:

The Good Shepherd would have been a comforting image for Jesus’ disciples who were familiar with sheep, wolves, hired hands, and shepherds. (John 10:11-18) 

When we are sad or worried or frustrated or overwhelmed, recalling an image of God that brings us comfort or remembering a promise of Scripture that gives us encouragement can help ground us in the present moment of God’s deep love and care. 

What images of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit bring you comfort? What verses of Scripture encourage you? Share your thoughts and experiences with your family, and feel free to share with Ms. Tori as well. 

Have a great week!

Your Resilience Team 


Week of May 2:

Where do we see God abiding with us this week?

When you’re driving around, go through the alphabet and name things you see that remind you of God’s abiding love, like we heard about during worship service this Sunday.


Week of May 9:

Intentional Inspiration for Meaningful, Lifelong Fortitude

Love is our superpower! Perhaps your imagination was sparked by Pastor Darren’s sermon illustration wishing for superpowers to change the world. What a concept that God has provided Love itself as our superpower! Speaking of imagination, what a great conversation starter at dinner, or riding in the car together:  Why do you think God made us with imaginations? How can we use our imagination for good, and to help others? If you have time and space for an impromptu guessing game, have everyone take turns acting out something they want to do for others, to be guessed by the family, like charades. Allow time for the actor to explain their choice. Enjoy the creativity!

Your Resilience Team


Week of May 16:

Much like Pastor Dustin’s sermon illustration of trusting his friends to hold the rope so he wouldn’t fall, our words need to be trustworthy, respectful, and Christ-like to support, keep, and protect one another. Let’s practice intentional words of appreciation and encouragement for our family members this week! Give each family member their own stack of sticky notes or a notepad, or have a designated place where they will be available, with the intention of writing to each and every other family member at least once per day. Younger family members can draw and/or “write,” and describe their thoughts. It can be a thank you note, a compliment, an apology, some scripture, a plan for an activity, a favorite memory, or maybe a funny joke. After some practice at home, brainstorm ways to share and support others outside the family with our words. Bonus Thought: “Note to self” is a good idea, too! Have a grace-filled week!

From Your St. Paul Resilience Team


Week of May 23:

As we celebrated Pentecost and our fantastic graduates this week, our pastor encouraged us to find a way to be a blessing to others. One way to improve our perspective and perseverance is to step out of our immediate awareness, and ease someone else’s burden. We can learn from the people we are trying to help. As a family, discuss and decide on a charity or charities you could help with the gift of time, money, prayers, and/or other resources. It can be an organized charity, or a group of people who need help this time of year. Children and youth could do extra chores or offer to help neighbors for extra money to contribute. Discuss ways to adjust the family calendar to allow more time for an added important idea. Christmastime is so popular for helping charities, but maybe Memorial Day is a tough time for some of our veterans or their families who have experienced loss. Summer is upon us, which presents different challenges for some families and organizations. With the major societal adjustments and drastic weather changes, what does your family have to offer? Celebrate your strengths. Thanks be to God. After your experience, reflect as a family on how you each benefited from reaching out to others.

From Your St. Paul Resilience Team


Week of May 30:

What is a low prep, simple activity that your family can do to improve mood, perspective, and resilience? Have an impromptu dance-off! Designate someone to decide a “winner.” Take turns being the judge and the dancer. Or, just dance together! Everyone dance to one song, or a collection created by each person’s selection. Just the movement, but especially the dancing, makes a difference, supported by several statistics for health and well being. If someone in your family cannot get on their feet to do the dancing, get creative. Maybe you have some scarves or ribbon handy that they can wave around or between two people. Do it your family’s way!

You can also make the connection to spiritual formation by talking about the music to illustrate the pastor’s sermon point of God as Creator, Jesus as Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit as Sustainer.

Music machine (creates the music) = God the Creator

Song (redeems the metal and plastic with the purpose of making music) = Jesus the redeemer

Electricity (brings it all to life) = Holy Spirit

Live it up together!

From your St. Paul Resilience Team


Week of June 6:

Resilience Spark:  Intentional Inspiration for Meaningful Fortitude

Our Pastor’s sermon this week accentuated the role of family, and Jesus’ perspective of the family of God as those willing to do the will of God.  Jesus did not find his strength and motivation from the opinions or perspectives of others.  As parents, we know how that goes, and the growing pains of our children if/when that comes into play. How do we make sure we understand the needs of our children from God’s perspective?  It’s the little things, the everyday stuff, and the deliberate moments.

Hint of the week:  Mother’s Day has come and gone, but parenting goes on and on. Father’s Day will soon be past, and parenting will need to last. Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, must have spent almost 17 hours a week of one-on-one time with her children. Why? Because she had 17 children, and made sure she spent one hour a week with each child for devoted, individual attention, especially in regard to their spiritual matters. She also prayed an hour each day for her children.

Spark of the Week:  No time for one-on-one time? Lack of interest? Well, we all have to eat! (Eating doesn’t really take a vacation, much like parenting.) Try one-on-one meal planning. Pick a meal during the week for each child to plan with you (or someone else). Extent of the planning will vary because of age, but you will notice each week will be different as they keep practicing and growing. It can empower the child exponentially. The plan could include who is invited, what is served, who prepares what, where and how to eat the meal, etc. You get the idea. Bon appétit! And, enjoy the journey!

From Your St. Paul Resilience Team

Source:

Susannah Wesley, mother of John Wesley spent one hour each day praying for her 17 children. In addition, she took each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters. No wonder two of her sons, Charles and John, were used of God to bring blessing to all of England and much of America. (Evie Megginson – Sermon Central) Copyright © 2021 Family Times (https://www.family-times.net/illustration/Blessing/201987/)


Week of June 13:

Resilience SparkPrompting a Growth Mindset

Neither parenting nor growing up is always about the moment, but can be more about what this moment means for the future. Our Heavenly Father teaches us in the moment, but also prepares us through adding them together for something more than just “this.” The pastor talked about the slow and gradual process of growth with results unseen, how God uses the powerless, etc. Considering the direction from this week’s sermon, let’s play a game or two! Do you know how to play 20 questions? Or who am I? No prep time necessary, no equipment, can be done just about anywhere and anytime, and works best with team effort. Each family member takes turns being “It.” They quietly decide (maybe secretly write down or draw) something or someone they want everyone else to guess. The rest of the family uses 20 questions, that can be answered with only “Yes” or “No” by whomever is “It,” to try and find out the hidden “What” or “Who.” Teamwork and discussion before asking each of the questions can be helpful.

Each of these games is a representation and practical application of what it means to grow in our relationships with God and each other. For example, only so much information is revealed at once through the Q&A, the players are reliant on someone else who knows the answer and will help them find it through their “struggle,” and the ones who seek answers can help each other by listening to the other Q&A to get an idea where to go from here. As their knowledge grows, and the teamwork grows, they get closer to the goal. Sound familiar?

God has commissioned you as parents, and you are equipped, even as you are equipping your family, through your experiences and the answers you seek. So, play your hearts out!

From your St. Paul Resilience Team


Week of June 20

Parents Promoting Potential

What an amazing gift Pastor Dustin Woods gave his children on Father’s Day, as three of his four boys sat in the congregation, hearing their father express his perception of their God-given talents. Their father was specific about how each of his sons used those gifts as blessings, and acknowledged his anticipation of their unknown potential. Of course, their Heavenly Father knows the plans He has for each of them, so what can we do to help them think about that?What we do might speak louder than words, but our expectations, perceptions, framework, and words are vital to their approach to life and learning. Taking a few minutes of focused attention to talk about their specific strengths and character, and how you’ve noticed them, can give your children a foundational knowledge that they are special because God created them. These observations let them know they are a gift to their family and community, and can give them the necessary appreciation for their personal contribution in their development. Try to find words and ways to say them that provide specifics about what helps them grow, and prepares them to handle the hard stuff. Maybe take some time to look at family picture albums or watch family videos together, and use them to prompt your comments, such as, “I love to see how you try to…,” “It means so much when you help to…,” “This picture reminds me about all the effort you put into…,” or, “I wonder how you will use your talent of…”
Prepare to see the wheels start turning as they realize their story is unfolding, and it’s very good! Verbalize their efforts every chance you get. Relish the joy of the journey!

From your St. Paul Resilience Team


Week of June 27

We hope and pray you find the Spark suggestions to be helpful, to spark interest and creativity as you tailor activities to meet the needs of your family. They are meant to inspire moments of meaningful connection and ongoing approaches for a growth mindset.

As Pastor Darren presented this week’s scripture, he described ways Jesus makes sure we do not get lost in the crowd. He sees us. He hears us. He reaches out to us. He is there when we are seeking. We are healed, equipped, empowered, prompted, however the Lord wills. We are never alone, nor will we ever be helpless.

Here is our bold suggestion of the week: Parents, offer two minutes of undivided attention for each family member, maybe once per week. Specifically, 1) sit directly in front of each other, 2) set a timer for two minutes, breathe, and 3) silently maintain eye contact with each other until the timer goes off. Use your best soft smiley face, without laughing, touching, talking, or stopping. Make no mistake! This feels like a long time, and can get very funny! But, oh, the connection. Time well spent, no matter what the family circumstances. It is memorable. Your child will know they are seen. By you. On purpose. They will know they can sit with you, talk with you, get the drive by hug or immersing cuddles, or ask for help when the need arises, but they will also know they are not alone, even if all that is unavailable at the time. Just “see” what happens!

From your St. Paul Resilience Team


Week of July 4

Pastor Darren reminded us that God is going to show up in the middle of anything we’re going through. Is it hard to remember that God might have a multi-step plan in progress? It’s like watching an artist create a work of art. A painter can only paint some of the colors and layers of the painting at a time. A sculptor can only add or take away part of the sculpture at a time. With patience, we see the end result, much like the culmination of our life experiences builds our life story. We can live life full of hope and wonder through faith and trust in our loving Heavenly Father. 

Want a fun way to portray this concept with your family? Play Pictionary! If you haven’t bought the game, that’s okay. Make your own! Write down things of interest to your family, and be the artist, or let everyone take turns drawing. If you want competition, you can decide teams and have an artist for each team draw about the same idea at the same time, or better yet, challenge everyone else to discern what one artist is drawing. See how many times the group can guess the drawing in less than a one minute. Doesn’t have to be on an easel. Make it interesting by gathering around the artist at the table with a sheet of paper. Talk about how perspective changes things, like having patience for more clues or watching the drawing process upside down from across the table. Change places, draw with a non-dominant hand, use a pencil or colored markers, try finger paints, etc., devote the evening or keep it simple, short, and sweet. Appreciate the excitement and anticipation of figuring it out as the picture develops, and remember that God is always doing great things, even with things that don’t seem quite right at the time. No matter where we find ourselves, whether it’s the beginning, middle, or end of an experience, it is good news that God is Love, and is always there in the middle of anything we are going through. Parent on!


Week of July 11

Hopefully, everyone was able to see and hear at least one of the musical performance by the St. Paul Music Camp 2021 children and youth this Sunday. What a creative and talented way to present the story of the Exodus in “Moses and the Freedom Fanatics”! The camp was blessed by committed, involved leaders with a vision and a mission. They offered an example the campers and volunteers could follow. What a life-giving week! Resilience in the making.

There are some timely messages in this musical that address some of the hot topics in our news and society today. Pastor Dustin reminded us at the end of the performances that we have freedom as children of God. That looks different from what some define as freedom, but God offers the most important kind. How we treat others comes from our beliefs about our identity as part of God’s family. Pharaoh learned the hard way! The children of Israel took a long journey with experiential learning, too, then finally reached the Promised Land.
If you could establish a country, what would it be like? To get your children thinking, play Indoor Olympics! Before the games begin, each player establishes what country they represent.

Players pick a country and draw their own flag. Allowing fictitious names and flags can add to the fun (or push the activity past bedtime). Collect points for homemade medals or dollar store prizes. Parents can decide the specifics for rules, or decide as a group what works best for your family. The games can be simple, and fun, with lots of cheering and congratulating!

Examples of safe (relatively speaking) events:
A. Cotton ball toss into an egg carton.
B. Toothpick drop into a narrow-necked bottle.
C. Ping-pong ball bounce into a mixing bowl.
D. Playing card sailing into a straw hat.
E. Balled-up dirty socks rolling through two upright boots.
F. Tallest tower balancing of cardboard cartons and plastic bottles.

Play your hearts out!
From your St. Paul Resilience Team


Week of July 18

Our St. Paul pastors have been using a series of insightful children’s books to call out to the child of God in us, reminding us that Jesus wants us to come with the same wonder and honesty of a child. Pastor Dustin described the hunger of the Hungry Caterpillar as a metaphor for the need we all have for the redemptive power and transforming relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. Most of our Holy Scriptures are stories from God to teach us about our God, each other, and ourselves.

We all have a story to tell! There are all kinds of good things that happen when we read and share stories. Make up a story as a family by going around a circle and everyone adding one sentence, phrase, or even word at a time. For example, One upon a time, there was a…, or Once…upon…a…time… It can be silly or serious, but you have to keep it going. Punctuation can be added after your word where needed. You can add rules, like all the words (except fillers like a, an and the) have to start with a “B” or some other challenge.
How is God developing your life story?

From Your St. Paul Resilience Team


Week of July 25

This week’s sermon was based on the book The Rabbit Listened and encouraged us to be a tangible, Christ-like presence by listening to others. Listening is an important part of being resilient, but when do we start teaching it, and how? The short answer is to start as soon as possible with modeling, singing, and interactive activities.
Ask your children what it means to be a good listener. Practice intentional listening to each other—not thinking of your response or rebuttal and beckoning wandering thoughts to return to the speaker’s words. Brainstorm together how to listen better to one another: perhaps unplugging from electronic devices more or carving out a designated time to listen to each other’s joys and concerns.
Share your ideas with Ms. Tori. 

Happy listening! 
Your St. Paul Resilience Team