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The Diet Trap

Carmen Kamrath

Most importantly, teach children that they're precious to God, and help kids see themselves through God's eyes. Remind kids that God created them and loves them just as they are! Celebrate a child's strengths, gifts, and talents. Explain the gift of God's forgiveness and grace, and model these attributes yourself.

An old familiar song reminds us that children "are precious in his sight." It's sad that so many children, like my van full of girls, have been deceived and think it's appearances that matter in this life. It's a good reminder to both young and old that real beauty is what lies within us, and that the God who created us loves us unconditionally. cm


Use this lesson to help children develop a positive body image.

1. Deceived-You'll need fashion magazines, scissors, construction paper, glue, and a Bible.

Have kids cut out pictures of how the world thinks we should look and act. Tell kids to also cut out phrases that tell people what they should think. Have kids glue the pictures onto construction paper so each child has a collage. Have several children show their collages and explain what they think the messages are.

•Ask: What kind of messages did you find in the magazines about how people should look or act? How are people who are overweight portrayed in the media? How are people who are thin portrayed in the media? What do these portrayals say about how the world thinks people should look?

•Say: Society is obsessed with physical perfection, and the message is 'If you look like this, you'll be happy.' (Hold up a collage.) Each day we're bombarded with advertisements from magazines, billboards, television, and newspapers. One in 11 of those ads has a direct message about beauty, but that doesn't even count the hidden messages.

•Ask: Why do you think advertisers send this message? Do you think their message is one of truth? Why or why not?

Read aloud 1 Samuel 16:7 and 2 Corinthians 10:12.

•Ask: Why do you think God focuses on looking at our hearts instead of our outside appearance? Does God want us to compare ourselves with each other? Why or why not? What's the difference between how God sees people and how the media sees people?

2. Tree of Strength-You'll need paper cut into leaf shapes, paper cut into apple shapes, a large piece of brown paper cut into a tree trunk, tape, markers, and a Bible.

On separate leaves, have kids write strengths that they see in themselves and tape the leaves to the tree trunk.

•Say: Look at all the strengths you see in yourselves! When people suffer from eating disorders, they focus on their weaknesses. An eating disorder can be anorexia, where people don't eat enough to survive, or bulimia, where people eat a lot and then throw it up. Both eating disorders can kill people.

•Ask: What are the dangers of focusing on your weaknesses? Why is it more important to celebrate our strengths? How do our strengths help us with life's struggles?

Read aloud Psalm 46:1 and Isaiah 40:30-31.

•Say: God is our strength in times of trouble. On the apple shapes, write the name of a person in this room you see as a person of strength-someone who relies on God and who focuses on personal gifts and talents, rather than weaknesses.

Have kids tape their apples to the tree. Display the tree with the title "God Is Our Strength."

3. Wonderfully Made-You'll need a piece of modeling clay for each person and a Bible.

Have kids sculpt their clay into something that's important to them. As kids sculpt their clay, read aloud Psalm 139.

When kids are finished, •say: Show your sculpture and tell how it represents something important to you.

•Ask: Was it easy or difficult to sculpt something important to you? Explain. Is your sculpture like anyone else's in the room? Why or why not? Would your sculpture be as important to you if it looked like everyone else's? Explain.

•Ask: How well do you think God knows us? According to the psalm I read, what does God know about us? Does God create only our outward appearance? Explain. What does this verse say about God's feelings for us?

•Say: When you create something important to you, it becomes a treasure. That's exactly how God sees us-as his treasures. He loves us and looks beyond our appearances to what's inside our hearts. Our bodies are a cherished gift from God, and he desires for us to take care of our bodies. God wants us to celebrate our strengths and to depend on him in our weaknesses.

Close in prayer, having each child thank God for making him or her a wonderful and beautiful creation.

Carmen Kamrath is the Web editor for

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