Friday, February 12, 2010

A Whole New Perspective

A few weeks ago, our Children's Minister gave me a totally new perspective on a well-loved children's song. Watch the Cedarmont Kids sing this (just the first verse is all you need; I didn't even know there was a second verse!).


In the conversation I mentioned, we were talking about how much we teach behavior modification rather than heart transformation to kids. They have a laundry list of things we tell them God wants them to DO: Obey your parents. Be kind. Share. And then when they're older it's: Read your Bible. Have a quiet time. Go to church. The result is we raise "good" little legalistic Pharisees. (Obviously she wasn't suggesting we never teach those things, just that we need to emphasize how much God loves them and wants a relationship.)

But I digress just a tad. She then brought up the song Zaccheus. We've all sung it and done the hand motions! And what do we do when it gets to the part And he said, Zaccheus, you come down! ?!? We point and shake our finger at Zaccheus! She said, "I don't think Jesus shook his finger at him!" She then made a beckoning motion with her hand. "Why do we want kids to think God is shaking his finger at them to get them to pray or read the Bible, etc."

It really resonated with me, as I've always joked I'm a "recovering Pharisee". And since my dad was a rather stern disciplinarian, it was easy for me to transfer that to my view of God.

That was an eye-opener for me! If I ever find myself teaching preschoolers and children that song, I'm going to use a beckoning motion!

(And you know what's funy? When I was searching on You Tube for the song, I saw a lot of 2-year olds whose parents taped them singing the song. Lots of times they couldn't do the hand motions. Until they got to Zaccheus! You come down! - shaking their pointed finger was the one motion they all did!)

Anyone else game for a Zaccheus revolution?

(See how inviting Jesus looks in this picture?!)


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13 comments:

lagirl/Sweet Tea said...

I've sang that song all my life and never thought about the finger shaking part, but you're totally right. Love the photo of Jesus with the people. I always enjoy a painting that depicts him "smiling". . .I signed on to follow your Blog, so I'll be back.

Let'sMakeADifference said...

Great post! I'm going to share it with my children today!

Sandy@ Jesus and Dark Chocolate said...

That is such a a good point about that song. Always liked shaking my finger in a fun kind of way when teaching it. However, you have given me a whole new revelation about it. :) I agree we often don't teach kids about heart transformation like we should. Good post!

SusanD said...

What great insight! When I get the opportunity, I'm def going to teach it as if the Lord is beckoning rather than admonishing. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, SusanD

Barbara H. said...

I had never thought about that before, either, but what a difference that one hand motion would make in the perception of how the Lord beckoned Zaccheus.

sara said...

we all know that song and I have never thought about that...but it is very true! won't sing it the same again!

Mary Lou said...

I will never sing that song that way again and I've known it far longer than most of you posting is my guess. I am 62 and I have never heard that second verse and never thought anything about shaking my finger at him as bad, I do NOW. I am going to teach the new version to my eight year old granddaughter. Thanks for sharing this and the truly eye/heart opening. Blessings on your ministry.

Stacey at Living by Faith said...

Oh, wow! I have never thought about that. Thanks for the reminder that it is more of a heart issue with my children than just behavior modification. Very powerful!

quilly said...

My grandmother taught me that Jesus wanted a relationship with me. There was very little legalistic stuff in our house. Not that there were no rules, but there was little condemnation. Hooray.

That has transferred over to the way I teach both Christianity and general ed. It is all about community and connection.

Despite saying that, I still think I taught the traditional hand motions to Zaccheus without even thinking what they might teach!

CeeCee said...

Wow, sad how we condition our kids to perform out of fear rather than love. I'm in for the Zaccheus movement!

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

haha..never thought of it but i think i learned the finger wagging version too..

bp said...

Oh, oh, oh! This is SO good, I've never thought of that. Thanks for sharing. I shared it with my husband and he agreed.

Beverlydru said...

I'm game! A "recovering pharisee"... wow. I think we all need to recover together.