By Joyce Suttin
Bo was our golden lab who loved to swim in our pool. He lived for his exercise, and the pool was his domain. One day, my son was learning new strokes and tried the dead man’s float. Bo decided his boy was in imminent danger and jumped into the pool to rescue him. Instinctively, he pushed my son’s head up and held onto him with his paws in an effort to save his life. My poor son choked and sputtered as he tried to keep Bo away and ended up with water in his lungs and a chest full of scratches.
I praised Bo as he shook water all over me in his zealousness to get my opinion of the event. I knew that he’d accomplished more harm than good, but I could relate, because I know I’ve often done the same thing in my interactions with others.
I was talking with someone the other day about their relationship with their teenager and offered my advice. After forty-some years of parenting, grand-parenting, and teaching teenagers, my wisdom was really quite simple: “Don’t take things personally.”
It’s hard not to react with annoyance, anger, or sensitivity when you feel like you are being rebuffed. It’s hard not to take unkind words or actions personally, not to think of all the times when there were other things you wanted to do, but you stopped and listened and attended to your kids’ needs.
It’s hard to stand on the edge of the proverbial pool and watch and pray, knowing you have said all that needs to be said and done what you could. Now is the time to just step back a bit and let them try. Let them make the clumsy dive. Let them try the new strokes. Let them imitate their friends. But don’t jump into the pool like Bo and try to rescue them prematurely. Just watch and wait in case they call for help. And pray. Because in the end, prayer and unconditional love are really what will make a difference.
If they eventually call out to you, don’t berate them for all the times they didn’t. If they knock on your door, don’t tell them you’re too busy. Be the anchor. Be the rock. Be the stable place in the unstable world and let them know that things will be all right. Then treasure that moment with your arms around them again, and give them faith to jump back in the pool.
Joyce Suttin is a retired teacher and writer and lives in San Antonio, USA.
Text and image courtesy of Activated magazine.
Updated April 2017!
He is Risen – the story of the first Easter for children ages 1-4. You can also download for free in epub or mobi format.
The Ant and the Caterpillar - for children ages 3 - 7 years old
The First Easter – for children ages 5 – 7 years old.
NEW! The Last Supper - The story of the last meal Jesus shared with His disciples. For children from 5 - 7 years old.
NEW!- Bible MiniWorld: The Easter Story - A comic of the story of the First Easter, for children ages 5 - 7.
Why Easter? - A short book for children ages 6 - 8 to help them understand why Jesus came to earth to save us. Also available for free in epub and mobi format.
The Three Trees - for children ages 6 - 12 years old.
The Soldier's Story - The story of Easter as told by one of the soldiers involved in the Crucifixion. For children ages 9 on up.
What Happened on That Day? – for children ages 9 – 12 years old.
Fascinating Facts about Easter – for children ages 9 – 12 years old.
"A Son at the Length" - for children ages 9 - 12 years old.
A Spot along the Way Home - for children ages 9 - 12 years old
The Empty Cage - an Easter allegory for children ages 8 - 12 years old
The Eyewitness - Dramatized Easter story based on Matthew 26-27 and John 18. For children ages 8 - 12.
NEW! Easter - Yesterday, Today and Forever - A fascinating children’s book with allegories and stories that reveal the real meaning of Easter. For children ages 9 - 12. To download this book for free in epub or mobi format, click here.
NEW! Another Layer of Easter - Discover the connection between the first Easter and the Day of Pentecost. For children ages 8 - 12.
Children's Easter Videos:
He is Risen (Animated Christian Classics) – for children ages 5-11. This video tells the story of the crucifixion, resurrection and Jesus' ascension into Heaven.
Bible for Beginners Easter video – ideal for children ages 1-5 years. Starts with Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem and ends with the ascension.
He's Alive – short animated video of the Easter story; ideal for toddlers and preschoolers.
Cherub Wings: The Easter Story - for children ages 1 - 5 years. This short video clip of the story of Easter from Cherub Wings. This video not only tells the story of Jesus' death and resurrection but also explains God's plan of salvation for mankind.
Storykeepers: The Magic of Easter - For children ages 6 on up. The story of Easter is related in parts by a Christian family in Rome who is struggling to flee from Nero's soldiers.
Easter Coloring and Activity Pages:
Easter story coloring book and flannelgraph – for children from 1 – 5 years old
The Last Supper coloring pages - for children ages 1 - 11 years old. Includes a short story of the Last Supper and an explanation of communion.
Easter Verse Coloring Pages – Coloring pages with verses about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Ideal to help children memorize key Bible verses. Can be used with children ages 4 – 11.
Pray a Way: Easter - Two colorful prayer posters for Easter. Ideal for children ages 3 – 6.
Pray a Way Easter Coloring Pages - Coloring pages with Easter prayers, to accompany the posters listed above.
Assorted Easter coloring pages and activity sheets – for children ages 1-11 years old
Activity sheets – for children ages 5 – 8 years old
3D Life of Jesus Pictures - for children ages 5 - 9 years old. Includes Jesus praying in the garden, the crucifixion and Jesus returning to Heaven.
NEW! A Meal with Jesus 3D Pictures - This set includes the Last Supper, the meal on the way to Emmaus and Jesus' meal with His disciples on the beach.
Note: Be sure to check out this comprehensive list of resources for Lent to find even more children's stories, devotionals, coloring pages and arts and crafts that can be used for the Easter season!