Friday, December 29, 2017

PBT Redux #16 Squirrel's New Year's Resolution

Picture Book: Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution
Author: Pat Miller
Illustrator: Kathi Ember
Summary: Squirrel hears about making a New Year’s Resolution on the radio, but she doesn’t know what that means so she asks Bear. Bear explains that a resolution is “a promise you make to yourself to be better or to help others. When we begin a new year, we make a fresh start.” Squirrel is intrigued. As she visits with her friends throughout the morning, she hears of their resolutions and helps them in their endeavors. When her friends are gathered at the diner for lunch, Squirrel is frustrated because all her friends have made New Year’s resolutions, but she has not. After realizing how helpful Squirrel has been to her friends all day, Rabbit suggests that Squirrel has already begun a wonderful resolution: To help someone every day. Squirrel agrees and predicts that it is going to be a very happy year.
Hanna’s Comments: The concept of making resolutions can be very confusing for young children. This story will offer a faith community, private school classroom, or homeschool group an opportunity to explore making resolutions for the new year. You may want to expand the concept to making a promise to God as well as self. Explain how God hopes we will continually develop our godly inclinations and expand righteous behaviors, especially those that benefit others. In the United Methodist Church, we call this moving on to perfection as well as what other denominations call this process: developing holy habits, growing discipleship, and/or spiritual formation. 
If you are hoping for deeper spiritual formation this year, may I suggest The Academy for Spiritual Formation, an international ecumenical retreat program (2 year or 5 day) designed for spiritually hungry people (lay people or church staff). There are 3 general components: academic learning, spiritual disciplines, and meaningful community. PBT is the result of my 2 year Academy. For that experience, I am forever grateful!
Publisher & Date of Publication: Whitman Books, 2010
Age & Grade Appropriateness:  5 and up, K and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: The Lord is a shield to those who walk in integrity… Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path. (Proverbs 2:5); pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22); let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:4); whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him. (1 John 2:5).
Idea(s) for Application: 
Use this book to help children in your faith community understand the concept of resolutions and how they can encourage us to become more godly in our thoughts and behaviors. Be sure to offer suggestions of simple ways your children could do this throughout the new year. Follow up with encouragement as the year progresses including sharing how you are doing with your own resolution.

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