Worth my starting with a short thought myself, then I can tell you the assembly.
One thing that I have always enjoyed, even as a minister now (I started this blog as a schools worker!) is selling things. Part of my DNA I guess. Marketing is my thing. But only where it truly will help other people, not some kind of sleazy showroom person (apologies to show room people who are NOT sleazy…those who are…well….!)
Currently I am seeking to generate some money to support a social/outreach type project, and as I have done so its become clear that the bottom line isn’t about making money in itself, after all the pursuit of riches is not a good thing, is actually about building an audience. I specialize really on Facebook, creating a group, which has grown to an amazing 450+ people in 6 weeks. What I have noticed is that as the number of people has grown, the daily income has grown. – the income is from commissions from amazon.
Now i could go and try and sell more to this group, but actually who wants that? Instead, its obvious that I shouldn’t try and sell to the group, but provide what the group is looking for so they can choose for themselves. Because I can’t make people buy, nor do I want to. i want to help people. So actually, what can I affect? Well I can do the small things every day that build that audience. So that’s what I do.
Why is that relevant? Because my son, 14, who is/has Aspergers, as have I, has been struggling to revise for exams. He’s never done it before. He had a meltdown when he started, because he didn’t know what he didn’t know…so how was he supposed to learn it if he didn’t know it wasn’t there already. Hope that makes sense.
Then he tried to do far too much! He was thinking only of the exam at the end. Success to him was getting good grades.
We spend far too much time, I think, focussing on the end result. The problems are that the end result is too far away, too unreal. it is bigger than we think…and we often can’t influence it. Why? Because we don’t know what we don’t know. We look at the task or end of life or whatever and imagine it to be one thing that we are struggling to get to. We see this thing called success…we create a negative ideaology, and i think we do that with our children as well.
But how about this, how about we do just a small thing each day. For my marketing its spending an hour hanging out on line telling people about what particular deals there are on Amazon that day in the interest that they all have. They are incredibly grateful and about 10 new people each day join. I am not bothered about how much they are spending, I can’t influence it. Just that I am providing a good service, and the service itself is enough advertising.
For my son, the small thing is doing his revision. Reading notes…just doing it. In fact I have told him that success isn’t passing the exam, no matter what the school says. Success for him is doing the revision. Just sitting with books, which is complete agony for him, as it is me. But do it every day, without fail, and the end will look after itself.
What if our lives in Jesus are like that?
You will need: a cloth bag strong enough to carry stone, or a bucket with a very strong handle. Vary these as you read it and see what is useful.
Small pebbles or stones – decorative ones work well. You can use coins but will need alot, but you could do coins with children.
You could start with a unique skill that you have learnt which took alot of practice that you can demonstrate to the children. Maybe a musical instrument. I showed a magic trick whose moves actually took many days of practice. I explained just how long.
Talk about how life you are born…live…then you aren’t alive…but then MORE alive!
Talk about how life goes on its not always easy. I talked about getting sick. I asked, if God says he’s got good plans for you, then why do things get hard? And what do we do?
Next, get the bag (or whatever) and a teacher or pupil – teachers are better – and have them hold the bag out at arms length. Add one stone.
Doesn’t make a difference.
Add another stone. Keep doing this one at a time.
Eventually the person can’t hold there arm up any longer.
Point out that this is what perseverance is. When you are an athlete you can’t just go and compete in a race, you have to do training. You train by doing a small amount of the big race every single day.
All those little bits add up. Success isn’t winning the race. Its too far off…and you could give up before you get there because you aren’t sure you will win no matter how much effort you put in!
Success is actually about the little bit you put in today. If you put in the training today, then you are succesful. Put in the training every day, you will be succesful every day.
So what if you lose the race? Well actually you have still been succesful if you measure it as did you put the effort in? Not everyone is made to be brilliant at everything, but you can certainly be succesful in the small things.
So lets go back to life. A Christian believes that life is like a race. St Paul says that he will discipline himself to stay the course. Discipline comes from the word disciple.
To imagine getting to the end of life is really hard! But what if just living today in the right way was enough? To do the one thing which leads to eternal life. What small thing could that be?
Have the children feedback – I had comments about prayer, helping others. Little things like this are perseverance. Keeping going. And just like the stones in the bag, eventually it all adds up to make a huge difference.
(note to self…have done this in St james Clitheroe school with a load of other schools, but only 4 present from each school so can repeat)