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The Power of Children’s Words

There are many things that adults can learn from children

by Alison Thurlow

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To consider that adults can often learn from the words of children.

Preparation and materials

Assembly

  1. Show Slide 1.

    Ask the following questions.

    - Has anyone ever heard the well-known saying, ‘Out of the mouths of babes oft times come gems’?
    - What do you think this saying might mean?

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Suggest that it means that even very young children often say some very wise things.

  2. Ask the children to turn to the person next to them and discuss whether they have ever said anything wise that has helped an adult in some way.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  3. Explain that, in the Bible, we can find several stories about children. By reading these stories, we learn that God values children very highly and often has important jobs for them to do. Encourage the children to listen carefully to today’s story and think about what wise advice the servant girl gave to Naaman.

    Show Slide 2.

    The Soldier and the Servant Girl

    There was once a man called Naaman who was a very brave soldier – in fact, he was the commander of an army. But Naaman was feeling sad, and a little bit scared, too, because he had leprosy. His skin was turning white and he couldn’t feel things properly. No one seemed to know how to make him better.

    Naaman’s army had captured many people in their battles and one of those people was a young girl who became the servant of Naaman’s wife. This young girl saw how sad Naaman was and remembered that in her home town, many miles away, there was a prophet called Elisha. The servant girl knew that when Elisha prayed to God, many people were healed from their illnesses. So she plucked up her courage, went to her mistress and said, ‘In Samaria, where I come from, there is a man of God called Elisha. When he prays for people, God makes them well again. If Naaman went to see him, he would be cured of his leprosy.’

    Naaman’s wife passed on this message to Naaman, and he thought it seemed like a good idea. He got permission from the king to go on the long journey and set off with several people, a letter of introduction and lots of treasure to give as a reward if he should be cured of his leprosy.

    When Naaman eventually arrived, he knocked on Elisha’s door. Elisha’s servant answered the door and gave Naaman a message from Elisha. The message said, ‘If you want to get better, go and dip yourself in the River Jordan seven times.’

    Naaman was very cross that Elisha had sent his servant to him rather than coming to speak to him himself. ‘What’s so special about the River Jordan?’ he said angrily to his servants. ‘Aren’t there lots of rivers back in my country that I could dip myself in?’

    ‘Calm down!’ said one of Naaman’s servants. ‘If he had asked you to do something difficult, you would have done it, wouldn’t you? Why don’t you just give it a go? See what happens if you do dip yourself in the River Jordan.’

    So that’s exactly what Naaman did. After five dips in the river, nothing had happened. Everyone held their breath – only two more dips to go! But when Naaman came out of the water for the seventh time, his leprosy was completely gone – his skin was as smooth as a child’s!

    Naaman rushed to Elisha’s house and tried to give him all the treasure that he had brought with him. However, Elisha did not want anything because it was God who had healed Naaman, not him. Eventually, Naaman agreed. ‘OK,’ he said, ‘but please can I take some soil from your land home with me so that I can stand on it and worship your God, too?’

    Elisha nodded and smiled as Naaman set off for home – back to his wife, and to the little servant girl who had given him such good advice.

Time for reflection

Show Slide 3.

Ask the children to turn to the person next to them and discuss the question on the slide.

- Why do you think it was a child who told Naaman to go to Elisha, not an adult?

Listen to a range of responses.

Comment that we don’t really know the answer to this question. Maybe the little girl was braver than the adults or had a better memory. Maybe someone in the servant girl’s family had been healed in the past. Maybe the servant girl was simply very observant or the adult servants were too busy getting on with all the things they had to do.

What the servant girl said to Naaman was not complicated. She simply told him about something she had seen that she thought might help him. This brave, wise action resulted in Naaman being cured of his leprosy.

When we are young, we can sometimes feel that adults help us rather than the other way round. However, children can help adults in many ways and we shouldn’t be scared of trying to do so.

Show Slide 4.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for the wisdom that you often give to children.
Please help us all to say wise things to each other.
Please help us to think before we speak.
Please help us to be brave and to help those around us.
Amen.

Song/music

 ‘Great big God’ (Vineyard Records UK, 2001) – you may wish to use Slide 5 for the words.

Publication date: February 2017   (Vol.19 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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