Preschoolers love to be inspired, and January is a great time to
do just that. Not only is it the start of the new year, but it's
also the month we honor Martin Luther King Jr. And like King,
preschoolers have big hopes and dreams.
• Talk with preschoolers about their dreams. Preschoolers are
very concrete about their wishes. They wish for toys, treats, and
things to do.
• Talk about Jesus' dreams and wishes, too. When preschoolers
discover that Jesus had wishes, their eyes light up -- they're
curious about what Jesus wished and hoped for. Preschoolers may
know a bit about Jesus' wishes, but they need to know more.
I tell preschoolers that Jesus wishes for everyone to love God
with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love their
neighbor, too (Mark 12:28-31). We talk about Matthew 5:44, where Jesus wishes people will
love their enemies. I tell kids how Jesus was kind to people others
didn't like, such as the poor, sick, and hurting. Jesus wishes
others will follow his example.
When I finish sharing Jesus' wishes, I give kids paper and
crayons and ask them to draw a big cloud on the paper. Then I tell
kids to draw one big wish they think Jesus has for us inside the
cloud. I'm always surprised by what preschoolers draw. There are
always clouds filled with hearts and smiles. But I've also seen
clouds filled with people helping the sick or helping those who are
hurt. I've seen clouds filled with disturbing items such as guns
and knives, with a big red X drawn over them to show their wish for
things to change. One preschooler drew two hands and told me that
Jesus gave us two hands so we could help lots of people.
Preschoolers have big dreams. They have big wishes.
When we talk about these important things, preschoolers begin to
help and love each other more -- a great wish for the new year.
Jolene Roehlkepartain is the author of 25 books including
Parenting Preschoolers with a Purpose (Search Institute). She's
active in children's ministry in St. Louis Park,