Saturday, August 16, 2008

How to reach the inner workings of a child

Have you ever asked your child probing questions to only receive back a blank stare? Sometimes it's like pulling teeth to get a child to express the inner workings of their heart and mind. Mostly because they lack the ability to express themselves in words. Sometimes they are lacking in verbal skills. Sometimes they're just unable to tap into their own lives and tell you what they are thinking and feeling. Well... I think I'm slowly starting to know what to do. It's called Play Therapy. Child Psychologists use this technique ALL the time, where they give children toys, dolls, figurines, etc. and observe how children play with them. Playing is one of the most effective ways for a child to process the events and experiences of their lives. The characters they create and the words they use as conversation are very telling about what they experience in their world. (Sheesh, with all the counseling training I've had I'm almost embarrassed I didn't think of this sooner.)

Yesterday, Arianna and I had the neatest discussion about salvation using these toy dinosaurs. Lovingly named after the characters off of Nintendo's "Mario Cart", from left to right: Bowser, Luigi, Mario, Princess Metal Peach, and Donkey Kong (DK). I played Bowser (in relation to size not temperment... hopefully) and Arianna played the other (4) characters.

We first started off just playing and goofing around but when Arianna casually made the statement that "bad dinosaurs" don't go to heaven, I saw an opportunity to give the gospel. I explained (as Bowser) that it's not whether a dinosaur is good or bad that determines if they'll go to heaven... it's if that dinosaur confessed their sins to God, asked for forgiveness, and asked the Holy Spirit to come and live in them and to help them obey and love God. We also discussed how just because a dinosaur accepts Christ doesn't mean he'll never sin again, but that there will be this on-going struggle inside between wanting to do no-no's and wanting to obey God.

What was so cool about this "dinosaur discussion" is that usually when I talk straight at her I get a blank stare and I'm just not sure how much in sinking in. But in using dinosaur's , I saw something sorta click, especially by the responses and questions her (4) dino's had.

1 comment:

Michelle McCallum said...

That is really neat. I've definitely experienced thing like that.

Just last week, David looked at his cross and realized that Jesus was not on it. And we were able to explain to him how Jesus died on the cross and then rose again. It was really neat! And he definitely understood, which was even more wonderful! :)