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For Educators

About the November 2017 issue

November 2017—Gratitude

Gratitude is (or should be) a hallmark of our lives as Christians every day, not just on the fourth Thursday of November. But at times we may focus more on what we don’t have that we wish we did or feel we should. How do we help our children cultivate gratitude in their everyday lives? How do our lives reflect the gratitude that we say we feel? If we truly are grateful, what kind of actions flow from that gratitude? Those are the questions this issue explores.

Stories:

In “A Bowlful of Thanks,” Dylan doesn’t feel like he has much to be thankful for since so many things have gone wrong for him in the past year.

In “Briana Pays It Forward,” Briana receives and unexpected gift from her sister and learns how it feels to “pay it forward” in her neighborhood.

In “Tree Frog Trail,” Marcos is amazed that a family that has lost their home still seems grateful.

In “The Reminder,” Bryan can’t believe he has to share Thanksgiving with the family of a classmate who seems to have everything.

In “The Wheel Reason,” Ashlyn can’t figure out why her cousin (and best friend) is acting so strange every time the subject of their family Thanksgiving comes up.

 

Pocketsful of Scripture includes readings from the Psalms.

Where in God’s World? looks at Laos.

Coming up:                                                                                                        

December 2017—Waiting and Welcoming

The December issue of Pockets takes on a life of its own as we prepare to welcome Jesus once again. We turn to Advent themes such as waiting, hoping, preparing our hearts; and Christmas themes such as sharing love, joy, and peace. This issue should help children begin to understand how Jesus’ birth, God’s incarnation, is made new for them each Advent and Christmas and how this sense of Emmanuel, God with us, guides our lives throughout the year.

January/February 2018—Think about These Things

One of the most common theme suggestions made by members of our Kids’ Advisory Board over the years has been “being positive” or “staying positive.” Our culture seems to value mean-spirited sarcasm over kindness, shouting over listening, and bullying over cooperation. But children long for a different way of being in the world. The words of Philippians 4:8 guide us as we think about this issue: “Whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable…think about these things.” We are not talking about ignoring or glossing over real problems in our own lives or the world. Rather, this issue is about viewing the world, even with all its problems, through the lens of the hope that our faith in a loving God offers. How might this viewpoint impact our lives, our relationships with others, and our communities?

March 2018—Jealousy

Jealousy is something we all struggle with at times. Wanting what we don’t have, feeling that others have an easier time, envying someone else’s talent, even resenting the closeness of a friend to someone else—these emotions come naturally to us. Yet we know that they are destructive to our own wellbeing and to our relationships. This issue, which will fall during the Christian season of Lent, should help children realize and be thankful for who they are and what they have. We want to help them learn, as Paul wrote, to be content with whatever they have (see Philippians 4:11) and to want the best for others.

April 2018—Listening

We live in a noisy world, so we hear a lot. But is anyone listening? Do we genuinely listen to family and friends, or are we busy thinking about what we’re going to say next, texting, or checking email or social media? Do we make the time and space to listen to God, or are we too busy telling God what we need or want (or too busy to pray at all!)? Do we even notice the sounds of God’s creation—the song of katydids on a summer night, the rustle of leaves on an autumn day? We’re under no illusion about turning back to clock to some time we think was simpler. But we want to help children begin to appreciate the value of truly listening to the world around them, to the people they’re with each day, and—most importantly—to God. In this Easter season, the theme of listening reminds us that the Resurrection is God’s ultimate message to us: My love for you is stronger than anything! How do our lives show that we are listening to that message?

 

mhooper

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