This broken chair sat on my back deck for weeks, but it finally inspired this recent family night lesson:
Preparation: I typed up a list of our different family roles and responsibilities such as “This person goes to work every day” or “This person obeys her mom.” (Click here for a printable pdf.) I had Croft cut the roles into strips and she placed then in a bowl (because it was her turn to help with the lesson). Then when the other kiddos got home from school, they made 3 bags: a mom, a dad, and a kid.
Attention Getter: I brought in the chair and asked my kids, “What is wrong with this chair? Would you feel safe sitting in this chair?” (Of course Crew was willing to take a fall.) It was obvious the chair was broken and wouldn’t hold anyone up.
Objective: I told the kids that tonight we were going to talk about how this chair is like a family.
Lesson: I explained that each leg of the chair is important and has a job to do. Each leg has to be strong and sturdy for the chair to be safe. When just one leg doesn’t work, the chair isn’t safe to sit in. That is like a family– each person is like a leg to a chair– we should be a strong leg and do our part so that our family feels safe and works at its best.
I asked the kids to listen for our different roles as I read a few quotes. (Insert tangent here. I had to explain roles vs. rolls to Crew. He just couldn’t see past the bread so I started calling them family jobs.) Then I read from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World“.
“By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”
I also read Exodus 20: 12 “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”
I emphasized that mothers, fathers and children have primary responsibilities and each needs to be a strong leg.
Activity: We passed around the bowl and pulled one role strip out at a time. The person read the responsibility and then determined if the job was dad’s, mom’s, or the kid’s. Once they decided, they put it in the corresponding puppet/sack.
Since not every task is cut and dry, many of the jobs such as “This person snuggles with me ” or “This person helps us with homework” provided for good discussion of the line “Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” We stressed that everyone can help everyone else out with their jobs, but there are primary responsibilities.
I just ended with sharing that I know a family functions at its best when each person is doing his/her part– when each person in the family is a strong leg.
Adaptations: Now I get that you probably don’t have a broken chair on hand (although I still do if you want to borrow it). So instead balance a sheet of paper on 3 plastic cups. Then knock one cup over and see what happens to the sheet of paper. You can draw the same analogy.
And I also get that not every family has a mom and a dad. In fact, my family makeup with a dad and stay at home mom is now in the minority in the U.S. But this lesson can be adapted to fit any family. Just type up roles that work for your family and if you are a single parent only make 2 sacks. The principle still applies- be a strong leg in whatever family you are in.