Hot Topics

Many times, the children in our lives are asked to deal with many things in life that are unexpected, frightening or sad. Here are some resources, compiled from many corners of the internet, to help you help them.

* denotes a United Methodist resource or resource with United Methodist origins.

Bullying
  • Bullies – Taking Down Goliath – A four week series that equips preteens to deal with bullies from a Biblical perspective. Can also be used with mid to upper Elementary students.
  • Children’s Message about Bullying – for use in a children’s sermon time in worship
  • Object Lessons
    • A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stamp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty is was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bullies another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.
    • Toothpaste – Ask for a strong person to volunteer for a dangerous mission. When the volunteer comes to the front, ask him/her to squeeze a tube of toothpaste out on to a paper plate. Encourage crowd to yell and cheer. when the cheers die down, challenge the volunteer to do the most dangerous part of the mission: put all of the toothpaste back in the tube. Then say: “Words are like a tube of toothpaste. If used the right way, toothpaste helps clean our teeth and keep our mouth healthy. Words are the same way. If we use our words to cheer someone up and say nice, helpful things, our words can bring joy (health) to another person. Sometimes we can get sloppy with our toothpaste. It can leak all over the cap and make an annoying mess. Same with our words. Sometimes we aren’t careful and little cut-downs or grumbling slip out of our mouth. When we’re sloppy with our words, we make little messes. We end up with bad moods and hurt feelings. Now if you squeeze really hard on a tube of toothpaste, all the toothpaste comes squirting out. What a mess that makes! Our words can do the same thing. When you open your mouth and speak hurtful, mean things, you make a huge mess! Have you ever tried shoving toothpaste back into the tube after it has been squirted out? You can’t, can you. The same with your words. Once you say those hurtful things, you can’t take them back. Saying “sorry” or “I was just kidding” doesn’t take the sting of those words away. Long after you have forgotten what you’ve said, the person you talked mean to will remember it. You can’t take it back, just like you can’t put toothpaste back into the tube.”
  • Teaching Students to Prevent Bullying – a plethora of games, activities, lesson plans and great ideas divided by grade level to teach about bullying from the National Education Association (NEA)
Children in Crisis

Adoption

  • The Call – A faith-based organization that is “mobilizing the church in Arkansas to love foster children with the extravagant love of Christ.”

General Resources

Homelessness

Death and the Grieving Process

**Especially appropriate for young children

Divorce

DC4K (Divorce Care for Kids) Parent Zone – has many resources for both children and families that address a variety of real life situations that children encounter living in a divorce situation. DC4K is a part of Divorce Care, a divorce recovery group found in many churches.

Domestic Violence
  • Ages and Developmental Stages of Domestic Violence – from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network – part of a series of short, succinct articles about children and domestic violence.
  • Aspire Initiative – a secular online curriculum for ‘tweens helping them to communicate and identify the difference between abusive and healthy relationships. This is also available for older teens and young adults.
  • Safety for Kids – brochure for children from the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • What You Need to Know About Domestic Violence – a bulletin insert with basic DV information from the FaithTrust Institute, a national organization for people from all faith traditions working to end sexual and domestic violence.
Health and Disease

Cancer

Diabetes

Ebola

Epilepsy

The Epilepsy Foundation

HIV/AIDS

  • About Pediatric AIDS – from the Elizabeth Glasses Pediatric AIDS website – The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing pediatric HIV infection and eliminating pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, and prevention, care, and treatment programs. Founded in 1988, EGPAF works in 15 countries around the world.
  • A Season of Hope – an Advent study on HIV/AIDS
  • Children, HIV and AIDS – a concise, 1 page article covering statistics, causes, prevention, treatment and psychosocial issues regarding children and HIV/AIDS.
  • *UMCOR AIDS Resources – from the United Methodist Committee on Relief – UMCOR’s top priorities in addressing HIV and AIDS around the world are to challenge stigma and eradicate Mother-to-Child Transmission in partnership with the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund (UMGAF) in agreement with UNAIDS and WHO policy.
Natural Disasters

**Especially appropriate for young children

School Shootings
War and Military Families