Robbers, a Hurt Man, and … Donkey? OH, MY!

“Let’s act it out!”

This is a pretty loved directive in most children’s classes. There are several ways to see if children “got” the message of the day while reinforcing it.

  • Questions, plain old review question time.
  • Quiz games, with teams and winners to heighten the focus.
  • A “craft” that symbolizes the theme or action – even a coloring sheet.

But none, I think, capture the full scope like retelling the story itself. You’ll see (and hear!) what parts the children took in and which parts they are still wrestling with. And, yes, it has been a long week here so I am ok with ending sentences on a preposition.

Yes, it’s been the kind of week where if preschool Ian (if he was still a preschooler) asked if we could play Good Samaritan at home, then I’d reply, ‘”If I can be the hurt man.” I’d say that because then I could mostly just lay on the couch.

You been there?

I know that you have.

And it would be ok. Because even though Ian is an only child, he would be content to play every other character in that story. Oh gosh, I remember those days. Do dramatic play at home, mamas. Do it.

Every time that we played Good Samaritan at home, I got to see two sides of Ian’s personality.

THE ROBBERS!!! Oh yes, most of us are a bit consumed by villains. And when you see your child get into robbing with such voracity, it can be a bit disheartening.

I was soon saved every time by the turn of character, though. Because eventually Ian became THE GOOD SAMARITAN. The care that he took wrapping my hurts in band aids and then pretending to lift me on an imaginary animal was breathtaking. The robbing was done loudly and quickly. The helping was done quietly and slowly, a compassionate gentleness oozing out of those big brown eyes.

It can happen in the classroom setting, too.

Although I am going to just interrupt this blog post right now with this caveat –

Don’t be surprised if someone wants to be the donkey.

It happens. The first time that we did the Christmas pageant, children dressed in costume, nativity photo-op at Apostles during the Luke 2 reading at Lessons and Carols, I was appalled that our fourth and fifth graders added a character to my play. Unbeknownst to me, someone had to be the donkey – and he was the most coveted role. So, just expect it. Someone may want to be the Samaritan’s animal. Unless it causes possible bodily harm to it or the other characters – GO WITH IT.

A couple of my favorite curriculums use the act of retelling stories by encouraging children to play with wooden props and peg people from bible stories they have heard. You’ll see the emphasis on a worship atrium in CATECHESIS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD¬†and the use of “I wonder” questions that I’ve copied for myself from GODLY PLAY.

Play GOOD SAMARITAN this week. You’ll experience the action and emotion of it all. You’ll find out if there’s a little something in your story that you need to tweak to make correct for your students. You’ll make a memory. Trust me, memory making is priority. More on memories in a later post!

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