During a recent field trip, I had an opportunity to use a game as a worldview teaching tool.
I periodically scanned the park to monitor my children between conversing with the other moms.
The girls were with a group of kids their age.
Liz was happy among the teens.
Alex had found a friend his size and was ecstatic!
I have made it a priority lately to provide opportunities for my kids to play and interact with other children. Everyone is much happier. Just because I’m an introvert doesn’t mean my kids are happy staying home all the time.
I have to teach my children about appropriate behavior, language, and activities since we’re around so many families with different views.
I noticed a tween boy approach Alex and his little friend to speak to them. Then Alex sat down, slumped on a rock, while his little friend ran off.
I watched this scene unfold:
The little friend ran up to an older boy and “attacked” him. The older kids watched all of this, laughing. Alex sat on his rock, dejected. The attacked boy is another gentle soul who handled the situation quite well, I might add. He was shocked and confused and looked to the moms for assistance that he didn’t receive.
I discovered from other moms and the teens that there was a boys against girls game of “Capture the Flag” and the “flag” was a skateboard. Apparently, they used my son and his little friend as pawns in their game.
The friend ran over and proudly exclaimed to his mama and us that he had been informed by the “evil team” (by that tween boy) that he was supposed to vanquish Alex and his friend. The tween boy was excited that he had succeeded in his quest. The other moms listened and said nothing about it.
It was just a fun, harmless game to them. But they didn’t see what I saw.
Alex refused to participate.
Good for him!
In the car on the way home, I spoke at length to Liz about the situation. It’s one thing for tweens and teens to play a game. Most of them, I should think, understand it’s a game and just pretend. But to involve a four-year-old as a pawn and tell him that a group of kids is evil? My kids know we don’t throw words around lightly and play games like that. His big sister didn’t protect him from that. She joined in the bullying. I have trained her better than that! It was a great teaching opportunity for me to reiterate the importance of protecting her siblings. Those other kids didn’t care about the little ones or their hearts. Liz shouldn’t give in to the peer pressure even in a situation that seems so trivial because she could later give in to peer pressure in a much more dangerous or immoral situation. And we always, always protect the hearts of little kids. Alex was a better example to his big sister for his refusal to play along with a game he knew was wrong.
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? Luke 16:10-12
So Liz eventually apologized after mulling it over and refusing to admit she did any wrong. I think it hit home. I pray it did.
When we arrived home, I discussed the situation with Alex.
At first, he was scared he was in trouble. He’s so gentle and he didn’t understand everything that had happened enough to discuss it well. He knew he didn’t want to be aggressive to the other boy in any game, though. I knew I had to have this conversation with him and make him understand that what he did was so, so good.
I asked Alex why he sat on the rock. He didn’t know. I asked him what the older boy told him and his friend. He couldn’t remember. I asked him what his friend did. He lit up a bit in memory and told me his friend was mean to the boy. I asked him if that older boy told them to do that and he said yes. He said he sat on the rock because he didn’t want to be mean.
I told Alex I was so proud of him for doing what was right and removing himself from a difficult situation.
Alex told me his rock was like Jesus.
Oh, my heart, y’all.
And you know what? God confirmed all this to us right away!
That afternoon, I sat with Alex to do his schoolwork for the day. Alex’s Bible lesson was about Noah.
A Lesson from Noah about Peer Pressure!
These words jumped off the page to us:
“Although Noah lived among bad men, he was a good man. He hated all the wickedness, or evil, of the people around him. He loved God. He would not do the wicked things he saw the people around him doing.” Bible Treasures
- Noah was righteous
- Noad was obedient
- Noah found grace with God
I applied the Bible lesson to how Alex behaved so well at the park when others around him did not.
Alex got it: “Mama, I was good like Noah!” YES!
I was ecstatic that God spoke to me and Alex and affirmed the appropriate behavior and attitude I saw in my son. I am a proud mama with a tender-hearted son who will grow up to be a loving and gentle man in a harsh world. I am honored to protect his heart and train him up for Jesus.
It’s so hard raising children to do the right thing when there are so few adults as role models doing the right thing, but it’s definitely worth it to keep on teaching them to do what’s right.
How do you teach your children to stand up for what’s right even when they see others doing wrong? Let us know in the comments!