Note to the Teacher
The key theme in this lesson is “Loving Like a Parent.” The icebreaker encourages the students to begin to think about who they are as people and as the children of parents. The discussion asks students to think about what it means to love a child. They are also asked to think about what it might look like to mentor a younger student. The activity has students think about their families and about Jesus’ love for children. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Icebreaker: M&Ms and You (10 minutes)
Have a big bowl of M&Ms ready in the middle of the room. Invite each student to grab a handful of M&Ms. Then go around the group and ask them to share one thing about themselves per M&M based on the information below.
- For every red M&M: share a detail about your childhood.
- Brown: Share a favorite movie, food, or book.
- Green: Share a new thing you have recently learned.
- Yellow: Share something you do well.
- Blue: Share something that happened yesterday.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
We are continuing with Hosea today. Last week, we talked about the risky love of God. Hosea marries Gomer, but she does not keep covenant with her husband. Likewise, Israel does not keep their covenant with God, but God keeps loving them with this “risky” love. We saw an image of the love between a husband and wife. This week, we see images of the love a father has for his children.
Read Hosea 1:2-10.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- What is characteristic of the love a parent has for a child? How should it be? How would you describe it? Do all parents express their love for their children in the same way? If someone has not had a parent who loves or cares for them well, how might this language about “God as a parent” be different or difficult for them?
- Have any of you ever had to babysit or care for children younger than yourself? You would have been in the “parental role” in those situations. How did the children you were in charge of know that you cared about them? Did they just assume you had their best interests at heart, or did you have to prove yourself? How is a parent’s love transformational for a child? Conversely, how might a parent withholding love also be transformational?
- Are there other adults in your life who have been good “parents”? How have they parented or cared for you well?
Read Mark 10:13-16.
- How does Jesus talk about the love we should have for our children?
- How do you think God feels about children that aren’t loved well?
- In Hosea, we see the importance of God’s love for us— as parents care for their children. Does the kind of love that a parent has for a child also carry risks? Are those similar to or different from the risks we discussed last week?
- Do you think that anyone younger than you currently looks up to you as a parent figure or as a mentor? How can you demonstrate love for those younger than you? How can you “mentor” younger students?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
- Pass out paper, markers, writing utensils, and craft supplies you’d like to incorporate into the activity. Invite the students to think about their families.
- Have them each design a flag that represents family.
- When students have finished, have them design a second flag on the back of the first one that represents Jesus and his care for children.
- At the end, have students share why they drew what they drew.
- Ask the students what they incorporated from the parents.
- Ask them to connect this activity to the lesson just talked about.
- Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys/concerns from the students, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.
Total time: 50 minutes
- Markers, writing utensils
- Possible craft supplies