Many times in these posts it’s been my privilege to share the wisdom, honesty, simplicity and humor of my little lovelies. Today is another one of those posts! Good Friday is a difficult event to teach. I never get through the teaching without tears because as I look at all those darling, innocent (well, mostly innocent) faces it’s a hard story to tell. It’s hard to tell them that our offenses were responsible for the suffering and death of Jesus when most of them have sins no greater than being sassy or telling a lie to compensate for poor judgment over something like playing football in the living room and breaking a lamp. It’s hard to figure out the balance of Good Friday details. I want them to understand but the true brutality of the day is more than a seven year old should know. A couple years ago I was having an especially difficult time with the lesson when one little boy raised his hand and absolutely saved me.
I have a line in my classroom that I use every time I goof things up (which is often!). First graders require routine and consistency and they all know the one thing I love almost as much as Mr. Wohlfert is coffee, so when I make a mistake, in order to avoid upsetting the balance I always say, “whoa…what was I thinking…I need more coffee!” The day of the difficult Good Friday lesson as I was coming unraveled right before their very eyes with my tears, that darling little boy in the middle of the carpet raised his hand and said, “Mrs. Wohlfert, did you make up the name Good Friday?” A bit surprised I said, “No, why do you ask?” He smiled and said, “Well because if you had made up that name I was gonna tell you to go get a lot of coffee because that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” I laughed at his “cut to the chase” commentary and when I asked him to tell us what he meant he said, “Think about it, all that terrible stuff happened to someone great like Jesus who never did anything by love people and then they go and call the day good? That’s nuts Mrs. Wohlfert, it’s just nuts!” As I sat there asking the Holy Spirit to help me with my response, the little girl next to him said, “I think they named it that after it happened. The day wasn’t good, but what happened because of the day was good cause that’s when Jesus opened the gates of Heaven for us all and that’s really good.” The only thing left to do was to remind them that no matter how awful that part of the story is, there is an unbelievably happy ending to the story and we celebrate it three days later on Easter Sunday. You can bet that every year since that day, I have included their words as a part of the Good Friday lesson. I am forever changed when I become the student and they become the teachers.
I have to borrow another story that just fits with the Good Friday story. This beautiful lesson came from two Kindergarten students earlier this year as Mrs. Sedlecky was talking about the amazing love of Jesus. One little boy raised his hand and said, “Mrs. Sedlecky, I’ve got something sad to tell you.” She looked at him and told him she was ready to hear his sad story so he looked at her again and said, “You know that Jesus guy you were talking about, yeah, a couple years ago he died.” I can only imagine what was going through her mind as she formulated her response but she too was saved by the wisdom of a child when another little boy said, “It’s ok, Jesus died, but he died because he loves us.” The first little boy looked in amazement and said, “No kidding?” It just goes to show you, even the most complex mysteries of our faith can be seen new when you look through the eyes of a child.
Jesus encouraged us all to have the faith of a child, so on this Good Friday read the story and look at it through the eyes of a child until you can clearly see how much you are loved and sought after by the Savior who died for you.
A Seed To Plant: Read Isaiah Chapter 53 slowly and prayerfully through the eyes of a child and then drop to your knees in complete gratitude and thanksgiving for the events of the day and for the happy ending to the story.
Copyright 2014 Sheri Wohlfert
About the Author
Sheri is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker and teacher. She uses her great sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Her roots are in Kansas but her home is in Michigan. The mission of her ministry is to encourage others to look at the simple ways we can all find God doing amazing things smack dab in the middle of the laundry, ball games, farm chores and the hundred other things we manage to cram into a day. Sheri also writes at JoyfulWords.org.