Recently our parish gathered all the parents and 2nd graders for a meeting. This year was different than in years past because I’m trying to include the parents in more things this year. Our parish is trying to make an concerted effort to involve the parents in all our programming. We have approxamately 166 2nd graders this year. With a group this large we put half of them in the church for the 1st 25 minutes and half in the Parish Hall and then we switched. The part in the church was with our pastor talking about the Sacrament as well as my coordinator who spoke about many logistical things. I led the part in the parish hall.
Here is what I did with the kids and parents:
1) I opened with prayer reading the parable of the Vine and the Branches (John 15:1-6)
2) I then had parents and kids read it from the Bible at their table and answer 5 questions (and then having kids come up and share their answers):
- Who is the Vine and who are the branches (verse 1)?
- What does Jesus ask us to do (verse 4)?
- What happens if we do what Jesus asks us to do (verse 4-5)?
- What does Jesus say happens when we sin and cut ourselves off from the vine (verse 6)?
- How does this relate to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and our relationship with Jesus?
3) Next I asked for a Dad volunteer and about 5 kids. They helped me reenact the parable: Dad was the Vine and the kids were the branches. When I shared that when we do things that are not what God would have us do (when we sin) we break off from the vine (a few kids broke off) but then when we are cleansed (through going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation – kids went over to a poster I had that said Sacrament of Reconciliation) we are connect back onto the vine (kids reconnected to the Vine). And finally when we do God’s will and are connected to him we “bear much fruit”. Everyone was given an apple to illustrate this.
4) Then I asked all the 2nd graders to go to a table where I had two things: 1) a branch from a tree and 2) a holy card illustrating an icon of the Jesus the vine.
5) I shared with the kids and parents to take the branch home and watch it for a week and reflect how when the branch is not connected to the vine it withers and dies. We are called to stay connected to Jesus and he wants us to. This time of preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a good time to help us remember the need to be connected to Jesus the vine.
6) I closed with a brief prayer.
I think it went over very well. I was pleased with how it turned out and the good vibe I received about these two 25 minute experiences.
What things have you done with 2nd graders and parents at the beginning of the year parent meeting? I’d really enjoy hearing about what others do to engage both parents and kids.