I was recently invited to be interviewed for a podcast at Ministry to Youth. They talked with me about two of my favorite subjects: technology and student ministry! Check out the link by clicking on the image below. This also goes well with my page of “Apps for Spring 2015.”
As a young child, I loved to read. One of my favorite authors was – and still is – Dr. Seuss! His creativity both visually and with words was unique and fun. I enjoyed reading his stories over and over again. Today, March 2 – would have been his 111th birthday! In honor of the man born Theodore Seuss Geisel, I’d like to share this post with you.
The Older I Get, The More I Like Horton
One of my favorite lines from this book is when Horton says,
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
He’s talking about the “Who’s” in “Whoville.” He makes a great point: It doesn’t matter the literal size or the supposed significance of a person, each one has priceless value.
As a follower of Jesus, this character seems to echo the true words that described how God created the first people – and how all of us carry God’s image in us.
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Genesis 1:27, New Living Translation
And which is reflected later by Paul, as he wrote this description of what God has and does do in us as we choose to follow Jesus:
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:10, New Living Translation
As a Christian, these words encourage me to see the value Jesus has placed on me and on every single other person in the world. As a husband, these words remind me of the priceless value God has placed on my wife and how I need to honor and care for her. As a father, these words remind me of the limitless value God has placed on my children, reminding me that even though I can’t comprehend it, God loves them more than me, but has somehow still trusted me to help raise them to know and follow Jesus. And as a pastor, these words remind me of how much God loves every single person and how much I need to grow in seeing them, not through my human eyes, but through His eyes.
You can read all about the background of this story and its connection with post-World War II Japan here.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Marcus Ashley Fine Art Gallery in Lake Tahoe, California. While there, I enjoyed their wonderful collection of Dr. Seuss art. I was a little child all over again! There were lots of things I expected: prints and drawings of various Dr. Seuss books.
And then there were things I didn’t expect but should have, especially the taxidermy collection. Here are a few of the pieces I really enjoyed and would loved to have purchased to put up around my office. (Can you imagine the faces of students, parents and anyone else who walked in and saw these on my wall?!)
The gallery reports the following about these creations:
In 1938 Paul Jerman, who had graduated from Dartmouth with Ted, wrote a brief biography of him for the alumni newspaper. Jerman said in part, “Another iron in the fire is what the doctor himself calls The Seuss System of Unorthodox Taxidermy. Not satisfied with drawing strange beasties, Ted modeled the heads of some of his animals and mounted them. Put on display in bookshops around New York to promote And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, many people wanted to buy the weird animal heads.”
Shortly after Ted created this unique collection of artworks, Look Magazine dubbed Dr. Seuss “The World’s Most Eminent Authority on Unheard-Of Animals.” To this day, Ted’s Collection of Unorthodox Taxidermy remains as some of the finest examples of his inventive and multidimensional creativity.
At several thousand dollars a piece, I’d have a hard time justifying the expense to have one of these. I am surprised that no company has won the rights to produce these at a lower cost for those of us who would enjoy having these creative mounts on our walls without the extravagant price tag.
And then, I spent a good deal of time admiring one piece in particular: a bronze maquette of Horton from Horton Hears a Who.
The last I checked, the price tag was just over $6,000! An amazing artwork inspired by Dr. Seuss and created by Leo Rijn.
There are similar, cheaper versions out there. But I like the idea of a valuable piece of art representing a story about the value each person has – and should have.
Whether you are reading this on Dr. Seuss’ birthday or on another random day in the year, may we all remember the value of the people around us.
As I look into the eyes of preteens and middle schoolers, I want them to see and hear someone who believes that they are a person of extraordinary value and potential, no matter how small the world may tell them they are – in size or significance.
As I look into the eyes of my three children, I want them to see a father who looks on them knowing they are created in God’s image, resembling their heavenly Father in so many more ways than they resemble their earthly mother and father.
As I look into my wife’s eyes, I want her to know that I see in her the masterpiece that God has created her to be, and that I will cherish her all the days of my life.
And as I live as a follower of Jesus, this children’s story helps me remember that God has a special place in His heart for those that others see as of little significance. Jesus encouraged parents to bring their children to him, even when his own followers though they weren’t important enough for his time. (Mark 10:13-15) And I need to see each person as one of limitless value – whether I meet them face to face, come across their postings on social media, or only hear about them. Because, after all, “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”
(This is the fourth in a series of four posts. See the original post here.)
4. Finally, the facts. Students may get some of this at church or school, but you can do a little research and talk about the original Thanksgiving.
The History Channel website has lots of good resources, including videos, you could watch to get informed or watch with your kids.
If you want to have resources that are specifically faith-based, check out the videos on WorshipHouseMedia’s site. They have both serious and funny videos that churches, children’s, and youth ministries often use. You can watch the videos for free on their site.
As you engage the historical story behind Thanksgiving, you might find many interesting ways to discuss faith based concepts.
You can talk about the community relationships and the gratitude at that first Thanksgiving with our relationships with others in our family and church today. All of this would reference back to Acts 2 again very well.
So, as you can see, there is a cornucopia of opportunities to turn this Thanksgiving holiday into a significant opportunity for passing on faith from parents to children. Like the delicious Thanksgiving meal itself, it just takes a little planning and preparation!
This was originally posted as a blog post I wrote for parentministry.net and can be found here: http://parentministry.net/2014/11/4-creative-faith-based-conversations-for-thanksgiving/