Affirmation: I know that Infinite Spirit can do great and small things through me.
Getting to the heart of the lesson
♥ Humility does not mean self-abasement, it means recognizing an Infinite power greater than our little self.
Most parents and teachers know that secret little twinge that pricks the conscience when their child boasts to a playmate and puffs up with pride. Perhaps that twinge is concern that our parental cheerleading has created an egotist, rather than a self confident, but modest child. Where does humility come in when self esteem and self confidence are valued so highly in our society?
When we recognize our true Selves with every breath, and joyfully acknowledge all that is possible through the Infinite that is our true Self, we can show children how humility and success can go hand in hand. Teach children confidence in their true Selves, not in the little self of I, me, mine. Cheer them on and help them to see the amazing possibilities open to them when they see God within themselves and others. The outward self is not so important as allowing the true Self, the Spirit in all, to do incredible and wonderful things through them and with them, and for them.
Reflection questions for the teacher:
Recognize the beautiful Spirit within you as your true Self. Let go of your attachment to the person you define yourself as. There really is no indepent “I.” We are all interconnected and we are all the same at our deepest levels. Begin by remembering a time when you experienced either a professional or personal success. Notice all of the ways that something deeper played a role in this success. It may be helpful to consider some of the following ways that God, or your true Self, guides you in your life:
Recognizing that there is something deeper and authentic flowing through our successes doesn’t diminish them. It expands them!
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
“So if I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I set you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.”
Never preen yourself that you are prideless: for pride is more invisible than an ant’s footprint on a black stone in the dark of night.
What makes humility so desirable is the marvelous thing it does to us; it creates in us a capacity for the closest possible intimacy with God.
I. Opening the Lesson
Read the story, The King Who Wanted to Touch the Moon, and use the discussion questions to help the children understand how it relates to the heart of the lesson. Do the affirmation together a few times, using the techniques suggested in Using this Curriculum.
Then transition to the Blue Ribbon Craft by reading the second Bible verse for this lesson, 2 Peter: 3. Explain that the blue ribbons will be a reminder of the Infinite Power within that gives us all an opportunity to succeed in every endeavor, if we are open.
Blue Ribbon Craft
Materials needed: 1 inch wide blue ribbon, blue construction paper, small diameter paper plates or margarine tub lids, glue, scissors, printed affirmation, paper clips or magnets
Print out the affirmation for each child or have the children write it out. Create a large blue ribbon (like the ones awarded in competitions) using a small diameter blue paper plate (available at party stores). An alternative is to use plastic lids, such as those that come on margarine tubs and glue on blue construction paper. Add 2 lengths of 1 inch wide blue ribbon, approximately 4 inches long, to the bottom edge of the plate. Shorter lengths of ribbon could be added around the circumference of the plate, if desired. Glue the printed affirmation to the center.
A paper clip or magnet could be added to the back of each ribbon for hanging.
II. Building the Lesson
Read the second Bible verse for this lesson, Philippians 2:3-4, to transition to the Share Success Activity.
Share Success Activity
Materials needed: none
Pair up the children and explain that they are going to share one story of success with their partner. The idea is to tell about something they feel proud of, such as: remembering to do their chores every day, helping a neighbor without being asked, studying for a test and doing well, being on a winning team or a losing team, with a good attitude, finishing a difficult project. Give a time limit and then invite each child to share with the whole group, not about their own, but about their partner’s success. Sharing another’s success is one way of expanding awareness beyond the little self to include a bigger reality.
III. Closing the Lesson
Materials needed: basin with warm water, towels
Foot Washing Activity
Fill a large basin or bowl with warm water and place it on the floor with several towels. Invite the children to sit around you and take their shoes and socks off. Each child takes a turn stepping into the warm water and then onto a towel, so you may dry their feet.
While you do this, tell them the story of how Jesus washed his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper (John 13: 5-17). Jesus was teaching his disciples that God resides in everyone equally, and although he was the Teacher, he was not above them in the eyes of God. When Peter objected, Jesus told him that to refuse was to refuse his love. Peter then asked that his hands and head be washed also. Close the lesson with a prayer or quiet meditation and the affirmation.
Story: The King Who Wanted to Touch the Moon
An adapted Caribbean Folk Tale
Long ago, lived a good king named Reggis. In his kingdom, there was a young carpenter named Darik, who made beautiful wooden chests. The chests were sturdy and useful, and he loved to make them. Some of them were plain but some were fancy, such as the one he made for the king, painted purple and gold. King Reggis was very pleased and declared Darik the royal carpenter. No one knew the purple and gold chest was destined to become an important part of the king’s future.
King Reggis was not cruel or stupid; he served his country well and the land prospered. The people worked hard and cooperated with one another. No one went hungry. They were friendly with the neighboring kingdoms and kept the peace for many years.
The king was grateful his people were happy. Then one day he overheard the cook say to the assistant cook, “King Reggis is the best king we have ever had!” and the king silently agreed.
The next day the king overheard the gardener say to the assistant gardener, “King Reggis is amazing, he could do anything!” and the king silently and strongly agreed.
These thoughts — that he was the best and he could do anything — filled the king’s mind. He became displeased with anything ordinary, because the best king should only have the best of everything. His favorite carrot soup was no longer tasty enough, so he sent it back to the cook. The garden no longer seemed beautiful enough, so he ordered it dug up and replanted with flowers that would never wilt or die.
The king found it hard to sleep because he worried about staying the best king ever. Each day he had to find another way to show that he was the best and he could do anything. He paced restlessly back and forth in the silver moonlight.
The moon was so bright and silvery, the king wondered what it would be like to touch it. Well, why couldn’t he touch it? He could do anything! He immediately ordered that the royal carpenter be awakened and brought before him.
“What is the fastest way to build a tall tower?” demanded the king when the sleepy carpenter arrived in the royal bedchamber.
The carpenter had no idea what the king wanted, but he immediately thought of all the chests he had made and answered, “If you stack up all the chests in the kingdom, that would make a tall and sturdy tower.”
“That is a brilliant idea! I want to touch the moon, so begin at once,” the king commanded Darik.
The carpenter was too astonished to reply. He knew it would be impossible to build a tower tall enough to reach the moon, but he thought it best to let King Reggis find out for himself, so he went to work.
Every chest in the kingdom was brought to the garden and stacked up. The king’s purple and gold one was first. Then all the others went on top. When all the chests were stacked, it was not high enough to reach the moon, so the king ordered the carpenter to make more chests.
Darik worked day and night, using every scrap of wood left in the kingdom, and all the new chests were added to the tower of chests in the royal garden.
At last there were no more chests and no more wood. The king announced he would climb the tower that night and touch the moon. Everyone watched in wonder as the king carefully made the difficult climb to the top.
When the king stretched up his hand as he stood on the last chest on the top of the tower, the moon was still out of reach. But how could this be? He was the best, he could do anything! The king demanded that one more chest be sent up – all he needed was one more.
“But there are no more chests, Your Majesty!” the carpenter shouted up to the king.
“Then take one from the bottom and send it up!” the determined king commanded.
Darik knew the king’s pride had finally made him blind to even the most obvious facts. There was nothing to be done but do as the king commanded.
So the royal carpenter pulled on the handle of the purple and gold chest and then ran out of the garden as fast as he could. The onlookers all ran too. Of course, the tower toppled over with a huge crash, filling the garden with chests of every size and color.
When every chest had fallen, and the dust had settled, the carpenter was afraid to look for the king. But unbelievably, the king lived.
King Reggis returned to his royal duties with a very different attitude. One day he overheard the cook say to the gardener, “Our good king is foolish, but he is no longer full of pride!” and the king silently and strongly agreed.
Affirmation: I know that Infinite Spirit can do great and small things through me.
1. Why do you think King Reggis wanted to touch the moon?
2. What would you have done if you were the royal carpenter?
3. How do you think the king was different after his experience?
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