Friday, May 5, 2017

It = Vocation or Calling

Picture Book: You Can Do It!
Author: Tony Dungy
Illustrator: Amy June Bates
Summary: Linden, is in a lot of pain, tooth pain. 
When he quacks in pain, his teacher warns that she will be calling his parents. Apparently, Linden has a history of entertaining his class with noises. 
In his defense, Linden explains about his tooth pain and then adds, “I just like to make people smile.”  His brother Tony likes to play football.  
Besides the toothache, Linden is troubled by something else. He shares with his family that he doesn’t know what his “it” is. He explains that Tony and his other classmates know “what they dream about or what they want to be.” 
Then Linden recites what his parents tell their children, “Whatever it is that you want to do, you can do it. Trust God and dream big!”
At dinner, older brother Tom prays, asking God to “please help Linden find his it.” 
Linden’s dad takes him to his science lab on the way to the dentist and explains that science is his it, but he hadn’t yet discovered it when he was Linden’s age. He assures Linden that he has plenty of time and to “just keep having faith.” 
At the dentist, Linden is fascinated by all the dentist’s instruments and methods. After the procedure, Linden asks the dentist lots of questions.
Later at Show & Tell, Linden explains to his classmates that being a dentist is his it because “When you make people feel good, they smile.” 
Hanna’s Comments: This story is full of loving family members who talk of God in a very natural way and encourage Linden. 
The children in your family of faith would benefit from experiencing such a story. The fact that this story comes from an NFL coach and former player may mean they will be especially attentive to the kind and faithful manner of Tom Dungy, the author, whose faith is very much a part of his vocation as a football coach. 
The book ends with a grateful letter from Tony Dungy, explaining that Linden did become a dentist and declaring his gratefulness for parents who encouraged their children to dream and pray to God about those dreams. 
Vocation (or having a calling) is a concept that children can begin learning about it elementary school. Many people have early experiences and inclinations that lead them toward a meaningful and God-ordained vocation that contributes to a better world. Remember the story of Samuel being called from his bed? Explain this kind of discernment and communicate your lofty and hopeful expectations that they too will serve God well according to God's gifts in them. God can use us all, no matter what we choose for work.
Original Publisher & Date: Little Simon, 2008
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet, Audio CD 
Scripture Connections: God calls Samuel from his bed (1 Samuel 3); For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11); Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them (Romans 12:6a); …walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience (Ephesians 4: 1-2)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book in a lesson to children in your faith family when talking about gifts, vocation/calling, or loving encouragement. You might want to show them a short Youtube video of Tony Dungy. There are several.