I recently arrived home from a mission trip to the beautiful community of Wapakeka in northern Ontario. We spent the entire week hanging out with kids, conducting a Vacation Bible School each afternoon and hanging out with kids of all ages every night. We played Uno, Spoons, threw the football around a bit, and played with puppets. We went for walks, colored, and laughed a whole lot. We had devotions later in the evenings, also, and spent some time praying together. Did I mention we played with puppets? I’m thinking we may have a whole new generation of kids from this community who are professional puppeteers.
Now, I’ve always enjoyed puppets, but I saw a whole new side of
myself with my favorite puppet, Lucy (pictured above) while on this trip. Lucy has been to Ontario often, helping to entertain children. She’s had a lot of practice in Canada over the past 14 years or so. In fact, Lucy has grown up a lot, as we all do in one way or another. It seems lately that she is, well, more respected than a certain human she knows. Maybe it’s her fluffy purple hair. That’s always attractive, especially on a bird. Perhaps it’s her very expressive beak with which she uses very expressively to speak in her “very high, squeaky, expressively annoying” voice. I’m not sure, but lately she seems to have gotten very good, or at least tried very hard, at helping children learn a few things. Lucy wanted to share:
- It hurts to pull on a bird’s feet or punch them in the beak. Now, I know, this may be information that you may have already learned, but Lucy was pretty forthright in letting children know in a no nonsense voice that this is unacceptable behavior. (Her human, however, is not so forthright. Huh. What’s up with that?)
- It is good to learn how to hug. It seemed to Lucy that some children really didn’t know much about hugs. She’s a good teacher, though, and in a few minutes many of the children were regularly showing off their best hugging efforts.
- It is very helpful to find something positive to say about each child. Sometimes all Lucy said was, “Wow, you are super great at going down that slide!” And that was enough to bring out a big smile on a child who hadn’t been smiling earlier.
- It is helpful to model God’s love as much as possible, to watch the words that come out of your beak, and to speak in your high, squeaky voice about Jesus’ love. In terms that little children can understand, of course. Singing counts.
- It is okay to be silly. It’s actually more than okay–we all need a few more laughs here and there to lift our spirits and get our eyes off of our problems.
Now, why is it that Lucy is so much better at doing these things than her human? … I’m still trying to figure that one out! She’s only a puppet, after all.
Remember, the Holy Spirit is active in your life, and is producing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. May God help us learn more and more how to serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
With God’s help, we can make a difference. Even with a puppet.
God bless you!