Help your child realize: God loves me so much... he gave me my body.
Topics for discussion: healthy choices, persistence
A note for parents: The book of Daniel opens up many learning opportunities for your children. No doubt they’ve heard about the Fiery Furnace and Daniel in the Lion’s Den. This story shows young people doing the right thing and serving their Lord to the best of their ability. This week all of our activities are based on healthy living and being persistent in mind, body, and soul. You and your children are trying to find a new normal, just like Isreal when they were taken into captivity in Babylon. One thing that should never change, except to get stronger, is your prayer life. This week also has a focus on being a prayer leader.
Say to your child: “Daniel was a prayer leader (Daniel 9). We see many prayer leaders in the Bible. They don’t sit and worry when things go wrong, they PRAY about it. You can read about prayer leaders, but you can also be one! I want you to grow to trust and fear God before worrying and trying to force things to go your way.”
I will also come full circle because by asking your child to be a prayer leader, you will also be spurred on to be a prayer leader. This is more than praying before meals and before bed, it is helping your child get into that constant dialogue with God. We don’t have all the answers, but simply saying “I’m not sure, let’s pray about it.” and finding solutions together helps you focus your eyes heavenward. Putting God first in this way will help you to find peace in quarantine and long after.
Bible Reference: Daniel 1:8-21
A long time ago, God’s people the Israelites were taken to a place called Babylon. God warned them again and again that if they didn’t obey Him he wouldn’t protect them from their enemies. God’s enemy in this story is called King Nebuchadnezzar, who was king of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar took most of Isreal to be his servants in Babylon. Four of these prisoners were named Danial, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were good boys who loved God. They obeyed God’s laws. They worshipped God and prayed. They were also careful to obey all of God’s rules about which foods they could eat and which foods they could not eat. Now they were prisoners! They had to leave their parents and go live far away in the city of Babylon.
King Nebuchadnezzar chose the strongest and healthiest young prisoners to be his special servants. The four boys were chosen and began training right away. They had to learn how to live like the Babylonians. Their names were changed to Babylonian names – Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They learned science and maths and all about the stars. While the boys were learning, the king put an official in charge of them. He told the official to give the young men the best food in Babylon.
The official was afraid that the king would get upset if he found out, but he liked the boys and wanted to help them. They always worked hard and tried their best. Daniel had an idea. He told the official to perform a test. Daniel and his friends would only eat vegetables and drink water for ten days. At the end of ten days, the official could judge to see if they were as healthy as all of the other young men at the palace.
Daniel and the other three boys ate only healthy vegetables and drank only water for ten days. At the end of ten days, the official noticed that these four boys were healthier than all of the rest of the young men at the palace. From then on he allowed them to eat the food that God allowed. They did not have to eat the king’s food.
At the end of the study time, all of the young men were brought before the king so he could test them with questions. The king decided that Daniel and his friends were the best of all the young men in the palace. They were wise and intelligent. They were ten times better than all the magicians and wise men in the entire kingdom.
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego became wise men of the king’s court. They always loved God and tried to obey his laws. Even though they were prisoners God blessed them and took care of them.
Ask your child to tell the story back to you. As you continue to ask questions and discuss details you can use a couple paper plates as visuals. On the backside of the plate, draw the four young men in our story. On the back of another plate draw some other young men (the ones who didn't eat vegetables). Ask your child to tell you what is different about them. Some examples: they are from different places, Daniel and his friends believe in God, and at the end of the ten days Daniel and his friends were stronger. Turn the plates over and ask your child to draw/glue pictures of healthy foods on Daniel's plate and unhealthy foods on the other plate. Introduce terms like "sometimes foods" and "everyday foods."
Weekly Challenge: Make a menu together and then work together to cook it.
No doubt that your children have been becoming more responsible as they spend more time at home. They have more chores to keep them busy and they feel important helping out! Ask your child what items you should include on your menu for the day and help them realize the difference between "sometimes foods" and "everyday foods." They will cherish this time learning to cook new things with you and will use these healthy habits into their adult lives.