by Revd Oliver Harrison (revised, originally published in 2006)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To explore the meaning of the parable of the two house-builders.
Preparation and materials
- You will need some children’s building blocks (big colourful wooden cubes are best), a plump cushion and a large hardback Bible.
- Ask the children if any of them know what foundations are.
Explain that foundations are what a building stands on. They have to be dug into the ground before the building is built to provide a firm, flat base for it. If a building’s foundations are not strong, it is likely to fall down, so it is important that foundations are made of the right materials and laid correctly.
Ask the children what they think would happen if a builder didn’t do his/her job properly and didn’t dig proper foundations for a building.
- Explain that people have foundations, too: they are the things we base our lives on.
Show the children the cushion and the hardback Bible.
Ask them what they would rather cuddle and curl up with: the nice, plump cushion or the large, hardback Bible. Point out that we all like to be comfortable, but we need firm, flat foundations. We need a good, strong, secure base.
- Put the cushion and the Bible side by side in full view of the children, perhaps on a table, and get the building blocks ready.
Ask the children which is the better foundation: the cushion or the Bible. Then start building, placing one or two blocks alternately on the cushion and the Bible. Stop and ask the children which tower will get higher and why.
- Keep building: the tower on the cushion will fall first.
As an additional effect, or if you run out of blocks, you can create an ‘earthquake’ by gently rocking the table, or a ‘storm’ by blowing on the towers. Say that life is full of things that shock us and shake us, like the earthquake and storm are shaking the towers. When challenges or changes come, good foundations are all the more important.
- Retell or read the Bible story about the two house-builders found in Matthew 7.24-27.
- Christians believe that the teaching in the Bible is a firm foundation for their lives. It teaches them how they can live good, honest, fulfilled and joyful lives.
- All of us need solid foundations for our lives.
Ask the children what solid foundations we might have.
It could be our families, friends, community, place of religious worship or our school. Our firm foundations help us when we go through tough times. They hold us firm when we are struggling.
Time for reflection
Let’s pause and think about our foundations.
What or who do we turn to when we are in difficulty?
Let’s say thank you to those people and remember how important they are in our lives.
Thank you for the people who have helped us to build firm foundations.
Please help us to be good, honest, kind and thoughtful people.
Please help us to think about others.
Please help us to understand what the truly important things in our lives are.
Help us to treasure these.
‘One more step’ (Come and Praise, 47)