Last night, I led the VBS children through use of the prayer loom. I first got the idea from someone's Facebook post which led me to read this article. I thought, let me tuck this away for Vacation Bible School. But then my pastor wanted to build one for Maundy Thursday, so we did (see this post for more on that process).
We have 4 groups of children in a given night, groups of 7-12 children. First we had a brief discussion about prayer and what we do when we pray. Then I took a strand of yarn and said, "When I pray, I ask God to look out for everyone I love and everyone I don't even know. If I know anyone is going through anything and can use help, I let God know. For example, my dad is having surgery tomorrow to take a skin cancer spot off his forehead" . . . I started weaving . . . "and when I pray, I ask God to be with my dad."
I also showed them how I could write people's names on strips of fabric I had prepared, but they weren't interested in those. I used a hole punch on a piece of construction paper and wrote the name of the person I prayed for--several children followed my lead.
Through the night, I wondered if they understood the prayer aspect or if they just liked playing with the wide variety of yarn. One group wove one piece of yarn each and then they were done--on to watercolor paint! One group wove during the whole time. In one group, several children wove all sorts of yarn into the loom, while others seemed uninterested.
At the end of the night, a child who is six years old came to me with a plastic lei that she'd worn all night, that she'd let her friends borrow before demanding it back. She handed it to me and said, "You go home and give this to your dad so that he won't die tomorrow."
There was so much I could have said, but I was most tempted to explain that my dad wasn't likely to die. But in the end, I said, "Thank you so much."
All the way home, my brain returned back to the issue of prayer, of VBS arts and crafts, of what children understand and what they don't. I thought of the earnest child offering me her beloved lei, and I vowed to remember that children likely understand far more than I think that they do.
feeling the feelings…
4 weeks ago