In my role as the preschool Bible Story Lady at my church, I found myself presented with the daunting task of explaining the Trinity to 4-year-olds.
Now, many adults – make that most adults – find the concept of the three-in-one nature of the Almighty Creator of the Universe difficult to grasp. So imagine trying to bring it down to the level of a little person who can’t yet blow her own nose.
I thought and prayed and thought and prayed during the week prior to the lesson … what on EARTH could I possibly use to convey this basic but super important Truth about the essence of God?
The answer hit me like a bolt of lightning. In fact, I was holding it in my hand (more like dangling it by one leg) when I was cleaning up after a visit by my sweet grand. This is it!
Buster. The doll.
Am I a genius or what?
So the following Sunday, I first showed the tykes Buster as you see him in the above picture. I asked, “What do you see?”
They replied astutely, “A doll.”
“Oh,” I said, “you think you only see one thing? Nope – you’re really seeing three things rolled into one.” And I proceeded to remove Buster’s overalls and shirt.
Holding up Buster au natural, I taught with all the spiritual depth of Martin Luther, “God is three in one too – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Nakey Buster here is like God the Father.” Displaying the other two items in turn, I added, “The shirt is like God the Son (Jesus), and the pants are like God the Holy Spirit.” I paused momentarily to dress Buster – a dramatic cliff-hanger, if you will, to heighten the audience’s anticipation, for they were indeed waiting with bated breath …
“When you put them all together, they’re no longer three separate things, but now they’re one. Three-in-one. A Trinity. Like our Creator.”
A dozen confused little faces stared up at me.
Umm. Okay. Apparently my brilliant sermon didn’t take. So I undressed and redressed Buster again, reiterating the same three-in-one message with gusto.
Then, when my audience of miniature Bible scholars finally looked a wee bit less puzzled, I decided to make sure the take-away was taken away.
“So who can tell me one of the three parts of God?” I asked expectantly.
A hand shot up. I smiled. With all the confidence in the world, the tiny freckled boy with a huge cowlick answered, “God the shirt.”
Okay, BFF … stop snickering and tell me what you would’ve done.
Crystaleen Joy Grace says
I had someone explain it to me years ago using an egg. You have the shell,yolk,and egg white which are all different, but together are one.
Sounds like a fine idea to me. As long as I can restrain from eating the egg before class! (I’ve been super into hard boiled eggs lately as part of my effort to lose 15 lbs – Wt. Watchers lets you eat as many eggs as you like.)
Patti Jo Moore says
Oh, this is precious!!
I love how you (and Buster) presented this to the children, and I could just imagine those little faces.
I think you definitely planted some seeds in those wee minds!
Thanks, Patti Jo – your words of encouragement are ever so sweet to me!
Martha Smith says
You did a great job! I would have a really hard time coming up with an explanation that wee ones could grasp. One day the little fellow/girl will put it all together and will know the symbolism of God the shirt!
One can only hope, Martha. Being the preschool Bible Story Lady is an invisible job; the kids won’t remember you because they’re so young and their parents don’t even have a clue what your role is in building the spiritual foundation of their child. I’ve learned to accept my invisibility and just be thankful that Papa God has allowed me to play a part in their growth, be it underground.
Lillian Ashe Photography says
We always did it with Trefoil Girl Scout cookies . . . Each lobe being a part of the whole . . . God the father, God the son and God the holy spirit! The best part was when they got to eat the cookie! LOL Of course, they acted like they didn’t understand so that they could have another cookie! LOL
Yes!!! Anytime I get to eat my props is a HUGE plus! I vote for cookie trinity next time. Thanks, Lillian!
Bobbie Sue O'Brian says
I don’t know if this logic works, but take for example- Barbara B. – she is a mother, a wife, and a friend. “Who” she is at the time depends on whom she is with and how that other person relates with/to her. That’s 3 all rolled up into one! Plus, she is an aunt, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother!
Makes great sense, Bobbie Sue! It’s just that my mind doesn’t always deal in great sense!
Patricia Cook says
You have a mom/dad, so you are a son.
You are in my class so you are a student.
You have a brother, sister, cousin, so you are a sibling. You are 1 person with multiple parts. God is too. He is our Father, He is The Son of God and Holy Spirit.
Excellent point, Patricia. Would you be MY Bible Story Lady? Hugs!
Oh, Debora, that sounds like something that would happen in my world! LOL
When I was teaching Sunday school, trying to explain the Trinity to my preschool or grade school age kids was always a challenge. I finally thought of explaining it by telling them to think about their own father. He was their dad; he was their mother’s husband; and he was a worker at his job. That’s 3 different people, yet he was still just 1 person. That seemed to help them to understand a little better.
Oooh, Debbie, that’s brilliant! Probably why I didn’t think of it (but I will next time – thanks!)