Family faith-sharing tip:
If appropriate, share with your family the story of someone you know whose life and relationships were badly hurt by their addictions, or who overcame their addictions with God’s help.
- 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 5:17
- As Christians it’s important to grow positive, healthful habits and not bad habits that hurt us and other people.
- Ball of thin yarn (wool) for each person (it must be possible to break 2 to 3 threads with your bare hands)
- Pencils, paper, and marker pens (felt pens)
- Twenty-inch (45 cm) twig in a sturdy jar filled with small stones
- Green posterboard
- Hole punch
What you do:
- Talk together about addictions. What addictions can your children list? Smoking, overeating, drinking alcohol, gambling, drugs, TV and computer game usage, nail biting, eating sweets, etc.
- Imagine together about how addictions might begin. Take out the ball of yarn or thread and tell them that an addiction is like a ball of yarn.
- Have them hold one end of the yarn and then wrap the yarn around their arms and body. See if they can break it. One strand isn’t too hard.
- Now wrap two threads. Can they break them? Then three. See what happens.
- Then wrap the thread firmly, but not tightly, around them 10 times, and see if they can break it. If not, carry on till you have wrapped them 20 times.
- Now they are really tied up. Their arms can’t move. What can they do? Not a lot. The yarn is too strong when there are so many strands together. They can’t do what they want anymore; the addiction is too powerful. It’s too difficult to break the yarn in their own strength. They will need help.
- Discuss what kind of help a person with an addiction might need.
- How could your children break the restraints of their yarn? You could unravel it for them, or they could unwrap themselves with some help from you. Or God could work a miracle (like cutting through all the yarn with scissors). You can cut the yarn if you don’t need it, or wind it back into a ball.
- How did it feel to be tied up and not able to do what they wanted? Scary, frustrating, sad, imprisoned, etc. Point out that this is what it feels like to have an addiction.
- If your children are old enough, have them think of an activity that they think they could not do without—TV, computer games, sweets, etc. Then have them take a sheet of paper and divide it into four squares. At the top of the sheet (centered) write: “My addiction is . . .”
- At the top of each of the four quadrants, write one of the following:
- “My addiction stops me from . . .”
- “The effect my addiction has on other people is . . .”
- “Three things I could do to help break my addiction . . .”
- “Three things other people could do to support me in breaking my addiction. . .”
- At the bottom of the sheet (centered) write: “One good habit I would like to develop . . .”
- Discuss what each person wrote and how you can support one another in breaking your unhelpful habits and starting new ones. Pray for each other, if appropriate, and promise to help each other.
- Make a healing prayer tree. Stand a branch with twigs, about 20 inches (45 cm) high in a sturdy jar. Fill the jar with small stones to keep it from falling over.
- Cut leaf shapes from green posterboard and punch a hole in one end.
- On each leaf write the name of someone who needs healing and a short sentence prayer about their needs.
- Use yarn to tie the leaves to the tree.
- Keep praying for the people you’ve named. When someone is healed, stick a bright paper flower on their leaf. If a person dies, then stick a white flower on their leaf because when Jesus raises them from the dead they will be completely healed and well again!
- If there’s no space for a twig tree, make a poster of a tree and stick the leaves on the picture.