Five things Friday roundup: things important to my first grader

— Tatiana Syrikova /

When I was thinking about what five things were worth noticing this week, I was somewhat at a loss.  These days are busy dawn to dusk, working, volunteering, and caring for home and family.  Many times it feels difficult to think about much beyond what needs to be done.  On the way home from elementary school, I asked my first grader what she thinks are five things worth paying attention to today.

This is her list in her order (with my thoughts on each one):

1. God

Last month I talked about the book God’s Holy Darkness by Sharei Green.  This month the picture book that nurtures both my faith and my child’s is God, Right Here by Kara Lawler.  This beautiful picture book illustrates the glory of God found in nature through the changes seasons.  The wonders of creation remind us that God is always with us, right here. 

2. The Bible

At a recent WDC (Western District Conference) Resource Commission meeting, one of the pastors was talking about the energy his congregation is experiencing around children and youth faith formation.  It started with some parents who wanted their children to not only form their beliefs, but to know why they believe what they believe.  This led to a congregational exploration of what they believe and why they believe it, but also a recognition of the need to return to the Bible.  The Bible is our foundation for belief and where the answers, or the “why,” can be found.  How can we all spend more time reading, studying, and talking about our God of the Bible and how we faithfully follow Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit?

3. Nature

Studies show time spent in nature has positive benefits on both physical and mental health.  But when my daughter listed “nature,” she was thinking specifically of the amazing way plants convert the carbon dioxide we exhale into fresh oxygen for us to breathe.  It reminds me both the evidence of God’s glory in the plan of nature, as well as the 2001 recording of the praise song “Breathe” written by Marie Barnett and recorded by Michael W. Smith.  When God’s holy presence lives in us, THIS is the air we breathe.

4. Caring for Nature

I’d heard of Mennonite Creation Care Network, so I decided to spend some time learning about who they are and what they do. Their Every Creature Singing curriculum as well as the MCCN Greener Congregation Scoresheet are only some of the valuable resources on their site.  Check them out.

5. Caring for Others

Our congregation is in the middle of a 3-session, mixed-age adult series of Sunday school classes on mental health.  Both resource persons from the local Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) and those from within our congregation are providing information, education, Q & A sessions, and more to more broadly explore how we can better care for one another and recognize when it is time to tap professional resources in our community.  It is fitting to explore this area of care and healing within the faith community and to recognize that the local CCBHC began as the third psychiatric hospital in the United States planned and built by Mennonite Mental Health Services. It was a response to the experience of pacifists who served as orderlies in 62 state mental hospitals during World War II and felt called to improve the care of those with mental health problems in the United States.

Jennie Wintermote

Jennie Wintermote splits her day-time hours between the Western District Conference Resource Library in North Newton, Kansas and Anabaptist World. Read More

Anabaptist World

Anabaptist World Inc. (AW) is an independent journalistic ministry serving the global Anabaptist movement. We seek to inform, inspire and Read More

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