We are studying through the Bible for 3 years (Gospel Project). This week, we will be learning about the temple of God. The temple in the Old Testament demonstrated how God wants to be with His people. In fact, He said His name is Emmanuel which means “God with us.” In the New Testament, Paul said our bodies are temples, and that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us through repentance and belief in Jesus. This Wednesday, as we talk about the temple in Chapel and God’s desire to dwell within us, we will use this as an opportunity to proactively protect our children from sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. Every year I use a chapel to provide students with age-appropriate tools to prevent abuse. While we do not have preschool Chapel this year, I also want preschool parents to understand our approach and suggest that you do something similar at home. Unfortunately, summer break is often a time where cases of abuse increase.
I want to encourage each parent to naturally remind their children about the truths we are covering, especially whenever they are under someone else’s care. You should also coach your child about how to leave a dangerous situation, which we are not addressing. I also want to encourage parents, please do not ever let your child watch TV alone – even commercials – nor work on the computer alone. As each of you know, we are called to protect their little eyes, ears and hearts. And they cannot “unsee” or “unhear” something they have seen or heard. Additionally, I encourage each family to follow the Darkness to Light language of “surprises.” As you will see in this lesson, surprises are good, and you always end up telling the surprise. We avoid saying “secrets” because they can hide something bad from the people who protect us.
During the lesson, I will talk about how we are His temple, and how He wants to dwell within us and protect us. I will then ask what are ways we can get hurt. They might respond about falling, running into something, eating bad food, or getting germs. We will also mention how words hurt. I will ask them what they do when they see meanness. Then I will make the connection that God loves us so much that He provides us with people to protect us and keep us safe.
We will then provide examples: If someone says something mean to you (or your friend) on the playground, who can keep you safe? The teacher. If you feel sick at home, who can help you feel better? Parents or your doctor. If you are scared, who can protect you? Your parents or a police officer. If there is a fire, who can protect you? Parents, the fire department. How else do our parents protect us? (hold our hand crossing the street…)
But you need to tell your parents when there is danger! If your parents do not call the fire department, how will the fire department know there is a fire? If someone says something mean to you, you need to tell your teacher or parents so these hurtful comments can stop.
What if someone tells you something called a “secret” and tells you that you cannot tell anyone. Is that true? You always need to tell your parents. God gives us protectors. In fact, we do not tell “secrets” in my house. I might have a surprise. For example, I can show my son what I bought mommy for Christmas, and I will tell him, “Let’s keep it a surprise and wait to tell mommy when Christmas arrives.” Surprises are good and you will always tell the person. Secrets can hide something bad from the people that protect us. We do not keep secrets, because we tell our parents everything so they can protect us. If someone tells my child to keep a secret, I tell my child that he needs to tell me so I can protect him. He can also tell his teacher.
Parents and teachers also protect you from anyone who ever wants to touch you in a private area. Remember that no one ever touches you in the areas that your swimsuit covers (you can show a cartoon picture of children in their bathing suits). Part of God making you special and that you are his temple, is that He gives these special areas to you, and no one else can touch them. Mom and dad can wash you quickly in the shower or apply medicine in these areas, or the doctor may quickly check you in these areas with your mom or dad next to you, BUT that is it. God gave these special areas to you, and no one else can touch them. And if that ever does happen, you tell your mom and dad so they can protect you. Even if that person tells you to keep it a secret.
Parents also protect our eyes from seeing things we should not see. You should not watch TV alone or work on a computer alone. Your parents should always accompany you to protect your eyes. Be careful little eyes what you see (you can play this song). And parents and teachers also protect your ears. No one should yell and say mean things to you, and no one should ever hit and hurt you. If that happens, you need to tell either your parents or your teachers.
I am so so grateful that God makes us special, and that He wants to live in us and He wants to protect us – He loves us so much. He made us to be His temple! And He also gives us people to love and protect us.
I would also like to add that if there are parents who experienced abuse as a child, I would strongly recommend Dr. Rod West (former pastor of Friendship Baptist Church) as a counselor.
|Inspiring World Changers together,
Nathan Johnson Ed.D.
Charleston Bilingual Academy