Teaching Children The Value Of Animals
Niki Behrikis Shanahan
Christy Harrison is the President of Chessie Rescue VA (CRVA), an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing Chesapeake Bay retrievers. She’s also a Sunday School teacher in a Methodist church in Virginia. Christy thought it would be a good idea to teach her Sunday School class the value that God places on His animal creatures, and that we should value and appreciate them, too. I’m so excited about Christy teaching her class about animals, and I appreciate her letting me know how it went. I thought I’d share her experience with you.
Christy wrote to me and said, “I did it, and it was a huge success!” Her students are 8th and 9th graders. She said, “I use many different medias to try and connect with each and every kid present (there's 40+ on the roster, but we usually see 20 at a time). We use movie clips, CD's, scripture reading, hands on projects, and whatever I can come up with.”
She said, “This lesson was inspired by your book, There Is Eternal Life For Animals. Thank you. First off, my rescue dog, Daisy, got a bath and attended Sunday School with us! Well, you know the kids loved that!”
Christy said, “We listened to two songs on CD. The first one we heard early in the lesson and was titled, 'Wouldn't You Do This For Me.' The song is about helping even the 'least of these.' We had lots of scripture readings, discussions, etc. I had so many scriptures to reference, thanks to you! I also discussed CRVA and my part in it. We discussed Daisy. They loved and admired her. Then I said, she would have died if I did not save her from the shelter. Every eye was then on this wonderful dog, and every mouth was asking why? We discussed rescue! We discussed God loving every creature. We talked about doing what you're passionate about, and finding a way to serve God with that passion.”
“Then towards the end of the class one very smart boy asked a question. Well, this kid's hand went up, and it never goes up. He listens, he answers, he pays attention, but he never really participates on his own. His hand went up. He said, ‘do animals go to heaven?' I just looked at him and smiled and said, 'YES.' His response was that he was glad, because his girlfriend has been very upset and worried about this. I had your book There Is Eternal Life For Animals with me, and he asked to borrow it. I responded with a definite yes. He now has the church copy. I'm sure he's sharing it with his girlfriend now.”
“One girl stopped me in the hall later to thank me for the lesson, and relayed that she LOVED it. She kept repeating it. ‘I loved it, thank you. Thank you.’ Then I heard from her Mom who I don't talk to on a regular basis. The first thing this girl did after class was to go to her Mom's Sunday School class to tell her, ‘I just had the best lesson ever!!! And she brought a dog!’ Of course, Mom had to ask about the lesson, what was it about, who taught it, etc. etc. What a great feeling even if I reached only one kid!”
“But no, I didn’t reach only one kid. Later I went to a youth group meeting. Kids came up to me talking about the dog, talking about God loving all His creatures, talking about finding what they're passionate about, and serving God through that passion. There were kids coming up to me that were NOT in class who were asking me about the lesson. They made jokes about a dog being there. They were fussing at me for not doing this particular lesson when they could be there. The ones in attendance had not only taken home a message, but also shared it with their friends, their parents, and their friend's friends. I was amazed.”
“The glory is all God's. I am just so glad I could play a small part in reaching these kids with His Word. Yes, it was 'the best lesson ever' thanks to you and your efforts, and thanks be to God. I just thought you'd like to know.”
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