Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Recognizing Report Card Time in Worship

It’s the end of September. 
Do you know when the children in your congregation get report cards?

If you do not, check the school calendars that are posted on line and note the report card dates for this school year.  When their congregation notices those critical dates in their lives, children assume they are valued members of the congregation.  The recognition need not be a huge affair and may differ from grading period to grading period.  The key thing is to find a balance between letting kids know their school work is important and not embarrassing further those whose report cards have been a humiliation already.  No matter how they did on spelling or math, God loves them and has big plans for them.  Consider some of the following. 

1.    In a time on the steps, ask how many got report cards during the last week.  Follow up with questions about how many have ever gotten a grade they were really proud of and how many have ever gotten a grade that made them feel terrible.  Then hand each child a card printed “Report Card from God” with an A+ on it.  Insist that no matter what grades they got or well ever get on their school report card, they are still God’s loved child for whom God has big plans.

2.    At prayer concerns time, note that you are aware that it is report card week and that you want to remind all students that no matter what their grades, God loves them and created them with special gifts.  No one but God can tell them what they are worth and God loves them forever.  (The pastor in a university church, said this in worship every single exam season.  Students report that the repetition was critical.  Because they heard the same thing every time, they heard, savored, and remembered it – and it made a difference.)

3.    Simply mention report cards in the church’s prayers being sure to say enough so that children have time to tune in and hear the prayer.

4.    Report cards generate both strong pride and deep embarrassment.  Children try to hide “bad grades” (even if the grade is a B instead of an A).  It helps children to hear that everyone has such strong feelings, that they are OK, and that they are not the final word on how we feel about ourselves.

5.    Fill your pockets with “God thinks you are cool” stickers of some kind.  Ask each child if they survived report cards last week and stick a sticker on the back of their hand (so they can see it) reminding them that no matter what the card said, God loves them.  This could be a children’s time or could be done at the back door as children leave the sanctuary with their parents. 

Share other possibilities in the Comments below.  We all need all the ideas we can get.

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