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For Educators

About the August 2019 issue

August 2019—Peace

“If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all”—Romans 12:18. Those seemingly simple instructions are sometimes hard to live out! No matter how much we desire peace, it seems to elude us—certainly in our world, but also on the smaller scale of neighborhood, school, church, or family. But peace begins with each of us. This issue should help children understand that peace can begin with them in the ordinary situations of their lives. Careful listening, cooperation, being respectful of others, calmly explaining our own position, negotiating compromise, praying for calmness and understanding—these are among the everyday strategies which can help us as we seek to “live peaceably with all.” As we actually experience this kind of living, one person at a time, we can begin to hope for peace.

Stories: In “Maggie in the Middle,” Maggie and her sisters have always gotten along pretty well. But they’ve been fighting a lot lately, and Maggie has had enough. In “Our Piece Peace,” classmates who aren’t friends are stuck together working on a project on homonyms. In “Tree Frog Trail,” Zoe’s excited that it’s time for her mom’s wedding, but can she convince her new grandmother not to try to change the plans that have been made? In “This Is War,” a camp prank battle goes too far. In “Gator Boy vs. the Bully” Nate chooses to show grace to a boy who bullied him at camp.

Pocketsful of Scripture focuses on readings from Ephesians.

Where in God’s World? looks at Cuba.

Coming up:                                                                                                        

September 2019—Change

Change is unsettling, and few of us really enjoy it. Moving means getting used to a new home and leaving friends and neighbors behind. Going to a new school requires learning new rules and new surroundings and finding new friends. A new person coming into a family shifts our roles and responsibilities. Even when we think we’re prepared for it, change is hard. But over time, we often discover blessings from change. The new house has advantages the old one didn’t. The new school has great activities, and we find a wonderful friend. The new person adds something we didn’t know we were missing. We want this issue to help children draw on the experience of past changes to face new ones. We hope to encourage them to begin a lifelong habit of looking for the opportunities and blessings change may bring.

October 2019—Let Your Light Shine

In October, as we anticipate the celebration of All Saints’ Day on November 1, we often focus on saints, heroes, and role models. This issue is slightly different as we encourage kids to consider how they, by living as Christian disciples, may act as role models and faith heroes for others. The emphasis is on faithful living in our everyday lives and how that way of life has the possibility of bringing the light of Christ to those around us.

November 2019—Little Things

Have you ever prayed or wished fervently for something that you didn’t get? How did you feel? Disappointed? Discontent? Sometimes when we focus on the big things we want but don’t have, we overlook the little gifts and blessings that come our way. Children often do the same. If God is all-loving and all-powerful, why doesn’t God, like a genie in a bottle, grant them their desires? But the truth is, God blesses us more than we know. Those blessings usually appear in simple ways: a hug or smile when we’re sad, a beautiful day, enough food to eat, a warm home, a family member who loves us unconditionally, a faithful friend—all things to be thankful for. We want to help children realize that all these things added up reveal how truly blessed they are—even when they don’t get exactly what they’ve wished for.

December 2019—Behold!

In truth, the December issue of Pockets hardly needs an assigned theme. The Advent themes of waiting, hope, welcoming, joy, peace, and love are all we need to guide us through the season. Beholding is about noticing, in an intentional way, Emmanuel, God with us. We want this issue to help children begin to understand how Jesus’ birth, God’s incarnation, is made new to us each Advent and Christmas and how this sense of God with us guides our lives throughout the year.

Jan./Feb. 2020—New Beginnings

“If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” –2 Corinthians 5:17. A new year provides a natural time to think about new beginnings. How many of us begin the new year with lofty (and often unrealistic) expectations that this is the year we’ll finally begin eating healthier, exercising regularly, reading great books, and generally becoming nicer, smarter, healthier people? While these good intentions usually end in disappointment, we can make a new beginning any time—not just on January 1. How do we know when it’s time for a new beginning? When (and how) is it helpful to honor what we’re leaving behind in starting anew? What priorities should we adopt when considering change? How do we live each day into the possibility of becoming a “new creation” in Christ?

 

mhooper

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