Discipleship Activities for the Family

Family faith-sharing tip:

One of the best ways to witness to your family is by showing them that following Jesus makes you a better spouse or parent.

Focus:

  • Matthew 22:36-39
  • In God’s upside-down world, we’re usually happiest when we’re making others happy.

Gather together:

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Colored marker pens (felt pens)
  • Gift bags
  • Tissue or gift wrap
  • Sticky tape
  • An assortment of little treats suitable to cheer up someone you know—such as tissues, bottle of nice juice, humorous book, cookies or fruit, gift card, travel-sized toiletries, etc.

What you do:

  • When you’re doing something that brings joy to your children, tell them how happy it makes you feel when you make them happy.
  • Ask them to list or draw 6 to 10 times when they felt very happy recently.
  • Make a list of your own happy times too.
  • Look at what you have written or drawn and use different colored pens to circle the kinds of things that make you happy:
    • Red—making someone else happy
    • Blue—seeing something beautiful in nature
    • Yellow—playing or being entertained
    • Purple—being with people you love
    • Orange—achieving something special
    • Green—being creative
    • Brown—laughing at something funny
    • Black—any other reason
  • Look at the colored categories and talk about what makes each of you feel happy. Especially notice when people were happy because they were making someone else happy.
  • Help them notice the upside-down idea that we’re often happier when we’re making others happy than when we’re trying to find happiness on our own.
  • Work together to make some “happiness kits” for people who need cheering up. Let your children help by making cards, decorating gift bags, and choosing and wrapping special things to include in the bags.
  • Make sure they enjoy the experience and offer them tasty refreshments as they work.
  • If it’s appropriate, take your children with you when you give out the bags and encourage them to find other ways to bring joy to those you are visiting.
  • Invite your children to try the “happiness experiment” with you, where each of you does at least one thing a day to make someone else happier. Ask them to notice how they feel when they make others happy. Share your “happiness experiment” stories with each other.

Prayer/reflection activity:

  • Invite your family to describe some of the things in nature that make them smile and feel happy, such as: a beautiful sunset, a rainbow, watching baby animals, seeing the stars, climbing mountains, picking and eating delicious fruit, swimming in a lake, or playing in the snow.
  • Either take time to pray and thank God for the lovely things He’s made to make us happy, or just pause and feel thankful for them together.