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December 26, 2008

Finding "Fruit" on the Trampoline

Santa airdropped a trampoline into our backyard early yesterday morning. Not only is it a way for the kids to combine fun, exercise and the thrill of possible head injuries, it's also a laboratory for my family to learn about the "fruits of the Spirit" that Paul describes in Galatians: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Jillian takes her 3-minute turnSo far, Janine, Ben and Jillian "love" playing on the trampoline, and it gives their parents great "joy" to have "peace" indoors while the young ones jump outside. However, it takes "patience" for the children to wait during their allotted 3-minute turns, and it's an act of "kindness," "goodness" and "gentleness" for the kids outside the trampoline's mesh enclosure not to screech "Get out NOW!!!!" at 180-second intervals. Of course, it also takes "faithfulness" and "self-control" on the part of the jumping child to keep his/her eyes on the watch in the first place.

While it's a far cry from Godly Play, I hope to use the trampoline in ways that build my family's skills and vocabularies for loving each as our faith calls us. Day after day, the simple act of sharing -- the close cousin of loving -- is the single biggest challenge my household faces. Our two highest profile toys - the Wii video game system and now the trampoline -- are the items most likely to test the ways my children handle conflict and love one another.

Studies show that learning how to resolve conflict helps kids succeed in life -- and learning how to love through sharing helps reinforce the messages we give to our children as we pass the faith.

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