About this Issue (March 2017)
Children have a strong sense of what is and is not “fair.” That can make forgiving someone who has wronged them difficult (as it often is for adults!). Admitting fault and asking for forgiveness is often equally challenging. In ways that are relevant to children’s everyday lives, this issue seeks to explore what it means to forgive, to be forgiven, and to be reconciled. Why do we need to forgive? How do we forgive? What does it mean to forgive “seventy-seven times” (Matthew18:22 NRSV)?
In “Keegan’s Return,” a former bully returns to Colton’s school and Colton and his friends are determined to freeze him out. Sure, Keegan seems to have changed, but what about the way he treated them before? Are they supposed to just forget about that?
In “Too Many Times to Count,” Amelia’s brother can’t forgive her—and she can’t forgive herself—when a moment of carelessness leads to the death of their beloved dog.
In “Tree Frog Trail,” our continuing feature series, Marcos learns a lesson about forgiveness from his younger sister.
In “Hard to Forgive,” Damon’s dad is back home and everyone seems to think it’s great. But Damon isn’t ready to “forget and forgive” that his dad broke and earlier promise to never leave the family again. He’s even more hurt when his best friend, Logan, seems to be taking Dad’s “side.”
In “The Official Degree of Unfriendship,” Ava is officially unfriended when she ditches her friends for a big school fundraiser project they had agreed to work on together.
Pocketsful of Scripture includes readings from Genesis, 2 Samuel, and the Gospels of John and Matthew.
Where in God’s World? looks at Bermuda.
Special Feature: This month’s issue includes our Lenten/Easter prayer calendar.
April 2017—New Life
By the time most children reach middle-school age, they will have experienced some significant loss: a move that leaves old friends behind, the death of a beloved pet or perhaps a grandparent, a divorce in the family or some other disruptive event. The good news of Easter—Christ is alive!—is that out of sadness, disappointment, and brokenness God can bring new life. We never want to gloss over or trivialize the real pain that children experience with loss. But we want to help them recognize that even in loss and endings there is opportunity for growth and new direction.
May 2017—Family—In This Together
This theme was inspired by an observation from one of our former Kids’ Advisory Board members’ that while friends are great, “Friends won’t always be there like your family.” In this issue we hope to celebrate the family as a place of love and constancy. We’re not talking about perfect families here (we don’t know any of those!) but about the family as a place where people love and nurture one another. This love is one of the primary ways we come to understand God’s love and care for us. This issue should give children a sense of their own families (whatever their imperfections may be) as places where they can experience God’s abiding love through the abiding love of those with whom they share their lives.
“How do I know God is listening?” “Why doesn’t God speak to me?” “I don’t know how to talk to God.” As we receive these and other comments and questions from children, we are reminded that children are serious about prayer. They want to know how to have conversation with God. This issue is not about prescribing a “right way” to pray but rather to help our readers realize there are many avenues of prayer in which to deepen their relationship with God. We want children to understand that God can be a part of every moment of every day. Quiet time, journaling, breath prayers, music, movement, the beauty of creation, everything and everyone they encounter in a day can point to God. We hope this issue will help children understand that living each day can draw them close to God.
July 2017—Tech Time
Technology has changed our lives in such significant ways and has become so omnipresent that it’s hard to even comprehend its impact. The positive effects are many, as are the negative. We hope this issue will look at the role of technology in children’s lives in a balanced way. This is not about nostalgia for “the good old days”! What are the ways technology can help us have positive, healthy relationships with others? And what are the pitfalls? What role does technology play in a healthy family life? How does the way we use it help or hinder our efforts to love God and neighbor? How do we use technology in ways that are consistent with our faith?