A Little Chicken

Let’s Read  A Little Chicken by Tammi Sauer

     Sauer, Tammi, and Dan Taylor. A Little Chicken. Sterling Children’s Books, 2019.

Find this book at your local library, bookstore, OR…

How can you celebrate Memorial Day and teach about the virtue of courage at the same time? Read A Little Chicken with your little ones.

Let’s Think

For us:

Dot, “who was a little chicken,” is afraid of many things. So am I! Can’t we all relate to that little chicken? The truth is, there are times to be afraid and there are times to do the right thing even when you’re afraid of doing it. That’s what makes courage a virtue. Actually, it’s one of the cardinal virtues. The word cardinal means “hinge”. That means courage is one of the virtues that other virtues hinge (or depend) on. That just goes to show what we already knew – it often takes courage to do the right thing. And it makes courage an important virtue to teach our children.

The choice to be courageous, or brave, is always a matter of choosing the greater good. In Dot’s case, avoiding what she is afraid of is good. But saving her baby sister is a greater good. In another example, keeping your child close to you so you can keep her completely safe is good. But letting your first born go off to the first day of Kindergarten so she can learn is a greater good. (Even if you do shed a few tears when she’s out of sight.) Thinking of things in terms of the greater good can sometimes help us grow in the important virtue of courage.

I chose the story of a little chicken for this Memorial Day weekend. I am in awe of the courage it must take to stand up and fight for our country and the freedom of its citizens. So many men and women have chosen the greater good and fought to protect us and our rights to life, liberty, and happiness. So many men and women have lost their lives doing so. This Memorial Day, we pray for the souls of all those who did the right thing – and paid for it with their lives. We remember too, their loved ones, who courageously live with their loss.

For our children:  

Dot is a little chicken. She’s afraid of many things. But when her little sister, an egg, needs her help, Dot springs into action. Saving that egg is the right thing to do even though it is hard for her. That’s being brave. That’s having courage. For example, sometimes it takes courage to try a new food. But you might end up liking a new food that helps your body grow strong. Perhaps you are afraid of telling the truth when you make a mistake. But telling the truth is the right thing. That’s what courage is:  Doing the right thing even when it is hard. Being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid. It means doing the right thing even though you’re afraid.

Let’s Talk  

  1. What is Dot afraid of?
  2. How does Dot show courage?
  3. Why does Dot show courage?
  4. What are you afraid of?
  5. How can you show courage?

Let’s Do
My Brave…

  1. Write “My Brave…” on a piece of colored paper.*
  2. Help your child name some situations in which she needs courage. Some examples:
    • a scary story,
    • first day of school
    • being in the dark
    • when another child is mean to you
    • going to the dentist
    • staying overnight at someone else’s house
    • telling the truth when you’ve done something wrong
    • playing on a new team or trying a new sport
    • being nice to a younger sibling when he/she is being demanding or difficult
    • going down the high slide at the playground
  1. Write each situation on a card or ½ sheet of paper.
  2. Choose a situation to practice courage with this week and post it on the “My Brave…” paper, perhaps on the refrigerator.
  3. Then celebrate when your child is brave and courageous! Great ways to celebrate include putting a sticker on the “My Brave…” paper or playing a game the child especially enjoys.
  4. How about adding some “My Brave…” situations of your own? It’s a virtue we all need to practice.

* I wish to thank Elizabeth who blogs at Cheeky Days: http://www.cheekydays.com for inspiring the “My Brave” activity.

Alternate Activity:

  1. Make the scary situation cards as directed above.
  2. Then take turns acting out the situations, role-playing ways to do the right thing, with courage

Alternate Memorial Day Activity:

  1. Explain that we celebrate Memorial Day to remember members of the armed forces who fought in wars to protect our country. We especially remember those who died.
  2. Make a flag out of construction paper, and tape it to a straw.
  3. Put the flag somewhere to help you remember to pray for those who fought for our country and those who are fighting for our country now. You could stick the flag into a potted plant or on your refrigerator.

Another Memorial Day Activity:

  1. Attend a local Memorial Day parade. Learn how to salute veterans.
  2. Visit a local cemetery and leave flowers on a relative’s grave.
  3. Or, leave flowers on a veteran’s grave. They will always have a flag on their grave.

Let’s Pray
Dear God,
Sometimes it is really hard to be brave.
Sometimes I am afraid.
Sometimes I am even afraid of doing the right thing.
But then I remember –
You are always with me.
You are always there, loving me, helping me to do what is right.
You help me to find courage.
Thank you God, for helping me choose
to do the right thing.
Thank you for all the people
who have done the right thing
to keep me safe
to give me all the good things that I have.
Thank you for the people who care for me.
Thank you for all the people I love.
Thank you, Lord,
for my heart
that is sometimes a little chicken
and sometimes very brave.
Amen.

Word Every Catholic Should Know
virtue: the habit of doing actions that are good. Developing virtues and doing the right thing is pleasing to God. Courage is a virtue.

Scripture
The story of Joshua found in Joshua 1: 1-9.

Let’s Remember
This week, in what situation are you going to show courage and do the right thing?

Earth! My First 4.5 Billion Years

Let’s Read

Earth! My First 4.5 Billion Years

     McAnulty, Stacy, and David Litchfield. Earth!: My First 4.6 Billion Years. Henry Holt and Company, 2018.

Get the book at your local library, bookseller, or...

Let’s Think
For us:
What does the Catholic Church have to say about evolution? This is such an important question for our time and misinformation about Church teaching on this subject abounds. These are the important points:

  1. The Catholic Church does not teach a literal interpretation of the creation stories in the Bible. The Catechism of the Catholic Church* says that the 6 days of creation in Genesis are symbolic.
  2. The truths we learn from the creation stories in Genesis are:
    1. God exists. God created the world out of nothing.
    2. The material world (matter) is good.
    3. God is good. God created the world in love.
    4. Human beings are good. Each human being has dignity and is created in the image of God.
    5. The first human being and every human since has a soul that is specially created by God.
  3. The Church does not attempt to answer the question of HOW the world was created. That is a question for science and the Church encourages scientists who investigate the natural processes of creation. Faith and reason are not enemies. Truth depends on both.
  4. Catholics may accept the theory of evolution of the cosmos, of living things, and of human beings. It is essential however, to remember that God is the originator of creation and everything has unfolded and continues to unfold according to God’s plan.
  5. On the other hand, Catholics are free not to believe in evolution if they so choose.

For our children:
Long before all the plants and the sun and the stars were created there was nothing but God – only God. God is love. God shared that love by creating the universe out of nothing. God created all the stars, the planets, all the living things on earth, and people too. People are different than the other creatures. They are made in God’s image. God gives each person a soul. People can know God in a way other animals cannot. The Bible teaches us these things: WHO is the creator? God. WHY does God create? Out of love.

God told the very first people that we need to take care of the earth. We can use the things on earth to eat and to make homes, but we must also care for the earth and all of its creatures. This is called stewardship.

Scientists are still figuring out HOW the earth and living things were created. This book (Earth! My First 4.5 Billion Years) shows some of what scientists have learned about how the earth began.

Let’s Talk  

  1. Why did God want to create the earth, all living things, and people?
  2. How are people different from other animals?
  3. What are some of the ways people DO take good care of the earth?
  4. What are some of the ways people DO NOT take good care of the earth?

Let’s Do
Make an easy (No-Sew) tote bag out of an old T-shirt.

This is a great way to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!  Easy to follow directions for this quick project were created by Jamie Sanders on her blog, Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom. Click on the T-shirts to go there.

Let’s Pray
Dear God,

once, there was nothing but you.
Then, out of nothing,
you created the universe.
You created earth
and you created plants and animals.
Last of all you created people.
And you said it was all very good.
All people are created good
just like you are good.
All people are created to love
just like you love.
Thank you God, for our planet, Earth.
Thank you God for all good things that live on planet Earth.

Help us to take care of our planet.
Help us to be good stewards of all the good things on Earth.
Help us to love like you love us.

Amen.

Words Every Catholic Should Know
stewardship: using our time, our talents, and our resources to take care of what God has given us, especially creation. Good stewardship means only using what we need and not wasting or abusing the natural world.

*Catechism of the Catholic Church: this book explains all the truths that Catholics believe. If you have any question about Catholic teaching, look it up in this book. The statement about the creation stories in Genesis can be found in paragraph 337. There is an English version available free on the Vatican website. The link is on the Resources page.  

Scripture
Genesis 1

Let’s Remember
What is one thing you can do this week to take good care of the earth? 

I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love by Nancy Tillman

Let’s Read:  I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love by Nancy Tillman

        Tillman, Nancy. I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2016.

Find the book at your local library, purchase from your local bookseller, or…

 

As always, Nancy Tillman’s illustrations capture the heart, and the beautiful text completes the picture. Share a mother’s love with this beautiful story, a love which transcends mere time, space, and form. For a mother always knows… and so does God.

Let’s Think
For us:   (We focus on a mother’s love this week, but Dad’s day will come.)

The Catholic Church teaches that love means wanting only the good for the other person. Is there any human love that does so more completely than a mother’s love? And part of that love is knowing your child so deeply that you would recognize him or her anywhere. That is the deep love expressed so beautifully in this book and celebrated on Mother’s Day.

This love is also a hallmark of our relationship with God. Consider these words of Psalm 139:

“You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar…
You are familiar with all my ways.”

Yes, like a mother, God knows us. Like a mother’s love, God’s love envelops us wherever we are and whatever we do. Imagine for a moment the immensity of God’s knowledge of us. Your knowledge of your children is part of the way you love them. In the same way, God’s knowledge of you is infused with deep love. However, God’s love and knowledge is greater than that of any human, even greater that any human being can imagine. God’s, all-powerful, all-knowing love blankets us and our children in warmth.

More beautiful words from Psalm 139:

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on thefar side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me.
Your right hand will hold me fast…

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully
and wonderfully made…”

For our children:  

I would know you anywhere, My Love. You are such a part of me, so dear to my heart, that we are connected in a special way.

God’s love is even greater than that. It’s hard to even imagine because my love for you is bigger and brighter than the sun. But God’s love is even bigger than that. God loves us both so much that God knows everything about us. The Bible says that God knows everything that you do and everything you say and everything you think. And God takes all of that and wraps it all up in love, just like when I hug you – except bigger! God knew you and loved you even before you were born.

There’s only one way to say thank you for all that knowing and all that loving. That’s why we praise God for all God’s goodness. That’s why we worship God. That’s why we pray. That’s why we treat others with kindness. These are all things we do to love God in return.

Let’s Talk
   1. How do you know I love you?

   2. How do we know God loves us?
   3. God knows everything we do and think and say. Why isn’t that scary? (God’s “knowing” is filled with love and care for us.)
   4. How do we love God back?

Let’s Do
God Made the Animals and God Made Me (Animal Charades)

  1. Write the names of the animals in I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love on slips of paper. For your non-readers, add simple pictures of the animals. (If you have any animal cards or magnets from another game, feel free to use those.)
  2. Put the slips of paper in an empty can or basket.
  3. Take turns choosing a slip of paper and acting out the animal.
  4. When you take a slip out of the container say, “God made the animals and God made me.” Then act out the animal. Someone else guesses what animal you are acting out
  5. When the correct animal is named, say, “I’d know you anywhere, My Love.” Perhaps that should be accompanied by a tickle!
  6. End the activity with a rousing game of Hide and Seek. You many know them anywhere, but can you find them anywhere?

Let’s Pray
Feel free to act out each animal as you say the prayer. Then fold your hands together (as in prayer) with the words, “and you made me.” Children love active prayer and I think God does too!

Dear God,
You made the rhinoceros
and the fox and the camel
and the pig.and you made me.
You made the owland the horse and the bearand the raccoon
and you made me.
You made
the blue-footed booby
and the lion and the giraffe
and the koala and you made me.
You made me your special child
and you know everything about me.
I praise you, God
for I am wonderfully made.
You made my wonderful mother too!
Thank you God!
Amen

Word Every Catholic Should Know
All-knowing (omniscience): This is one of the attributes of God. God has perfect knowledge. There is nothing that God doesn’t know. God is also all powerful, eternal, all-loving, and always present.

Scripture
Psalm 139 

Let’s Remember
As you go through the week, remember that God knows you and loves you. How can you love others in return?