Monday, April 9, 2018

Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control

Today begins a series of PBT posts featuring books that are about 1 of the 9 Fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We need an abundance of these in our world today! 
Picture Book: Katie Loves the Kittens
Author & Illustrator: John Himmelman
Summary: Katie is thrilled when Sara Ann brings home 3 new kittens. 
You can tell because of her happy howl 
which doesn’t go over so well with the kittens. 
Sara Ann strongly suggests that Katie stay away until the kittens get used to Katie’s enthusiasm. 
Katie is very sad. 
But Katie wants to play with those kittens so much! Later she sees Sara Ann playing with the trio. 
She tries to control herself, but... 
chaos ensues and Sara Ann reprimands her again. 
Katie misses the kittens terribly when they sleep in Sara Ann’s room that night.  
She must see them so she goes outside, 
finds the window, and looks in. 
Katie really wants to smell those sweet kittens,  
but they are too far away. Here she goes!
Sara Ann thinks Katie doesn’t like the kittens. 
Katie is very, very sad. 
The next morning, Katie finds 3 bowls of breakfast! Yum! Yum! Yum!
When Sara Ann finds her,  
Katie realizes she has done wrong.
She goes to her bed and stays there all day, very sad. Eventually she falls asleep. When she wakes…
the kittens are snuggled in with Katie! 
She wants to howl. She wants to jump. She wants to chase! But Katie doesn't. The kittens love her!
Sara Ann adds to the joy with some praise.
The story ends with more joy and not much self-control from anyone!
Hanna’s Comments: Think this book is just for kids? Imagine reading it to group of adults and then tiptoeing into issues of self-control regarding screen time, junk food, sports, and other adult obsessions. Explore why these issues are about faith and devotion to God. Consider why God is pleased when we demonstrate self-control. Your children will relate to this book, but your adults might find the conversation more meaningful if handled sensitively. You may want to begin with a confession about one of your own self-control struggles. That will leave the humor behind and steer the conversation to a level of seriousness ripe for vulnerability. 
There's a sequel that has Katie once again struggling with her self-control when a neighbor dog "invades" her home. 
By the way, if you're a student of the Enneagram (big fan here!), Katie is definitely a 7 (so am I)!
Original Publisher & Date: Henry Holt, 2008
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet, video, audiobook
Scripture Connections: In addition to The Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, A person with no self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls (Proverbs 25:28); For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7); Supplement your faith with virtue, your virtue with knowledge, your knowledge with self-control… (2 Peter 1:5-7)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of any age folks in your faith family and consider how self-control relates to our devotion to God.