Tarzan, Jane, & the Ape: This is a full body version of rock-paper-scissors. Two people stand back to back and on the count of three, they turn around and act out either Tarzan, Jane, or the Ape. Tarzan beats the Ape, Jane beats Tarzan, and the Ape beats Jane. Play until there is a winner.
Tarzan Action: (pound their fists against their chest and say “Ahhhh ahhhh ahhhhh” – like Tarzan does)
Ape Action: Hold both arms in the air and make a scary sound
Jane: Put one hand behind a cocked head and say in a high, sweet voice, “Oh Tarzan!”
Seat Sister: Sit next to the person who has a birthday the closest to yours (this person is also the one she will discuss questions with when we talk in small groups).
Share stories around the circle or in small groups of a time when you saw someone do something really kind.
Optional: Play the song “The Christmas Shoes” (This is a moving song about a little boy buying a special gift for his dying mom…. get a kleenex)!
Share a time when you (the leader) were the recipient of an act of kindness.
Have the girls guess in their own words what it means.
Definition: To be kind, considerate, or helpful.
HEART OF THE LESSON
Kindness is a choice that we make. We can decide how we want to treat others. Feelings too often dictate when we are kind or not. We need to take out the emotion and make a DECISION to be kind to others, whether we “feel like it” or not. This is VERY DIFFICULT, but most things worth doing are a challenge. We will be blessed when we choose kindness, because it will reap great rewards in our relationships.
Diggin’ in & Discussion Questions:
Look up & underline Ephesians 4:29: Kindness is watching what you say. How does the tongue get us in trouble? How can what we say completely sabotage our efforts to be kind? Is the reverse true also? Can our tongues be used to move us toward kindness? Have the girls talk about examples of each with their seat sister.
“No rotten talk should come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up, in order to give grace to those who hear.” EPHESIANS 4:29
Look up & underline Proverbs 29:11. Kindness is using self-control. How can self control be kind?
“Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” PROV.29:11
Look up Philippians 2:3 Kindness is choosing unselfishness instead of selfishness. Why is it so hard to think of others before ourselves? Talk about how we naturally want our own way, and look out for ourselves. It takes intentional effort to NOT live that way, yet when we stop the self focus, we are actually more fulfilled and more content.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” PHILIPPIANS 2:3
Look up & underline Galatians 6:10. Kindness is looking for ways to bless others. Challenge the girls to start looking for ways to SHOW kindness to others. For example, if someone mentions that she really likes tulips, maybe for her birthday, you get her a bouquet. Or possibly there is someone who really struggles in your best subject. You can offer to help her in study hall that day.
“Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” GALATIANS 6:10
Look up & underline Matthew 6:37. Kindness is choosing love over judgement. We are natural condemners. Like a judge with a gavel in hand, we often slam it down in our minds and declare those around us as “guilty!” This kind of thinking will develop bitterness in us, and it will stunt any growth that could happen in those relationships in which that is occurring. When we replace the negative, judgmental thinking with thoughts of encouragement, positive affirmations, and even prayer, then our minds are transformed and we can lay judgement down, knowing that God is truly the only one safe with a gavel.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give and it will be given to you.” LUKE 6:37
Kindness Collage Activity:
Print out a piece of paper with each girls’ name listed boldly at the top. Distribute scissors and magazines to all of the girls. Have them make a word collage for each name with words they cut out of the magazines. Each girl cuts out at least one word per girl in the group and glues it to her paper. The goal here is encouragement, so make sure the words reflect that in some way.
Memorize two of the verses above.
Work on the next section of your Vicki Courtney “Between” book.
Lesson #1: COURAGE
Two Truths & a Lie:
Break down the girls into groups of 3 and have them each think of two truths about themselves and one lie. They tell the group all three, and the group has to guess which one is the lie.
Share stories around the circle or in small groups of a time when it took courage to do something (ie. rock climbing, speaking in front of a class, trying out for a team, etc.)
Share a time when you (the leader) had to use courage.
Have the girls guess in their own words what it means.
Definition: The ability to do something that frightens one. Strength in the face of pain or grief; To act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in the face of criticism.
HEART OF THE LESSON
Show one of the following video clips of Bethany Hamilton – the surfer who lost an arm in a shark attack.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DF1Clfb3Vc (her life & story from her perpective)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjUbYx6ozic (this one speaks specifically of overcoming FEAR)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISZKQy539YI&feature=related (The Hamilton Family’s Journey)
- How courage has played a role in Bethany’s journey?
- If she hadn’t found courage in the face of great pain & grief, would she be in the place she is now?
- How has God used this situation in her life to point people to Him?
- What are some things that take courage in your life right now? (Have them think of big and little things: when someone is gossiping, when someone is cheating off of your paper, when you are tempted to lie, when people are talking about you and you have to walk down the hall where they are standing anyway, facing divorce, etc.)
Deuteronomy 31:6 “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid, and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
Being a person of character is a challenge that each of us faces each day. It’s hard, plain and simple. To make all of our decisions based on integrity takes resolve, understanding, and, most of all, the power of God. These very decisions that are right, though difficult to make, create the whole of who we are and who we are becoming. Successful living is directly related to how consistently we can exercise character. It’s a journey, and one to where we most likely never fully “arrive,” but one that we should take nonetheless.
The decisions young teen girls make in these early years can help determine whether or not they will become teen mothers, avoid alcoholism or drug addiction, have lasting friendships, develop a healthy body image, what their work ethic will be in a future occupation, and what kind of man they will choose to marry. Because of this, I chose a theme for this year called “Becoming a Person of Character.” The idea is to highlight a Godly virtue each week and then have them practice it in some way during the week to reinforce the exercise of that trait.
I hope that you take the challenge with us as we strive to become girls and women of deep character and conviction. People who can stand in a crowd and make a good decision, no matter what everyone is doing around us. Women who can recognize mistakes, and make them right. People who are lights on a hill, shining like stars in the universe.
“Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.” -Psalm 97:11
Girls Group. It’s not a creative name, but somehow it stuck. The girls are now thinking of changing the title to “New Directions.” Regardless of what we call it, getting 10-15 girls packed into our living room to talk about life is time well spent. Our Girls Group began three years ago when my daughter was in 5th grade. I dreamed of creating a safe haven for these young souls to express their fears, doubts, troubles, joys, questions, and hearts. My daughter and I prayed about who to ask into the group, and before I knew it, 9 girls were taking the bus home with her from school every week to do a lesson, make a craft, and have a yummy snack. It was a home run from the word “Go.” I loved it and the girls loved it even more. They begged me to keep going after the year was over.
Fast forward 3 years. We are now at 15 girls (I capped it at this number for this year), and though the topics have changed considerably, the format remains the same: lesson, craft, snack. The lesson goes for the heart; the craft creates something for them to do while they are hanging out and doing what they do best…talking; and the snack… well, who doesn’t like to eat fun food?
I, like most moms, want to make an positive impact on my daughter and her peers in the face of what seems like ever growing pressures from culture. I want them to learn about God, His ways, and what He thinks of them. To boot, all of the books and research I’ve read point to the tween years as the most influential time in a child’s life regarding value formation. Dannah Gresh, the author of Keeping the Little in your Girl says, “My research led me to the knowledge that value formation – concerning peers, family structure, sobriety, and all other too common teen issues- does not occur during the teen years. The values are formed from the ages of 8-12. Many parents do not realize this and inadvertently allow the culture to speak loudly as they remain mute, planning to deal with these uncomfortable issues later.” The facts point to the sobering fact that our daughters have only a 50/50 chance of making it to 16 without experiencing sex (or other forms of sexual experimentation), eating disorders, or significant depression. So do we sit by and let it happen? NO. A resounding NO. We fight for the hearts of our daughters with courage, intention, and instruction. If you don’t want your daughter to be caught in those statistics, start teaching earlier than you think. Instruction can take many forms, but this kind of a group is one way to make it happen.
I will be writing about what we do and how we do it. If it is an encouragement to you, praise God for that! You are welcome to any and all of the materials I create.
“Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year Olds.”
Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers
“The American Psychological Assosiation’s Report on the Sexualization of Girls.”