What is to be the content of our Sunday School for young children? That question came up in a children’s ministry discussion in another church where I was pastor. One person said in the midst of the discussion, “If it means telling little boys and girls stories about Jesus’ childhood, you can count me out.” She required no prompting for further elaboration.
“Many years ago,” she said, “I was asked to teach and was given stories about how Jesus was such a nice little boy, always helping his mother with the dishes and that sort of thing. Where did they get that information?”
I recently read of a study that occurred a few years ago. Boys and girls were gathered in a room and told stories. A hidden camera recorded their responses. One of the stories centered on a little boy who was a wonderful child. He always did exactly what his parents wanted him to do. His mother needed to call him only once for him to come in from play, and when he came he always carefully wiped his shoes on the doormat. He then went straight to the bathroom to wash his face and hands before coming to dinner. His table manners were perfect. He always said “please” when he wanted anything, and said “thank you” when anything was given him. His parents did not have to tell him when bedtime came. When he saw that it was eight o’clock, he would kiss his parents good night, brush his teeth, put on his pajamas, say his prayers, and go to bed.
The response of the boys and girls hearing the story was basically without much emotion. But then came the end of the story.
“One morning,” the story teller said, “the little boy got up cheerfully, dressed, helped set the table, ate all his breakfast, brushed his teeth, and headed for school. On the way, he passed some trees. Suddenly a big bear jumped out, grabbed the little boy, and ate him up!”
The passive response of the young audience suddenly changed. The boys and girls clapped their hands, cheered, and joyfully jumped around at this wonderful ending.
Tell me the stories of Jesus.