Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Pumpkin Patch Parable: A Wonderful Resource for Faith Formation in Young Children

When I began this series on Training Happy Hearts: A Call to Faith Formation for Young Children, I promised to share ideas and resources for guiding the young children in our lives towards God.  This week in our home, one resource we have turned to again and again during snuggly read aloud times is The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs

Many years ago, before marriage and children, I ran across a copy of this book at a Christian book store and fell in love with it immediately.  I was captured by its bright, engaging illustrations, enjoyable storyline and underlying message of how God works in each of us.  So, I bought it.

Although I have read the book every year since, I still find it moves me.  Just like Jesus’ parables in the Bible, the parable told about the farmer and the pumpkin in The Pumpkin Patch Parable is a simple one, but holds deep meaning.  It is a story that can be understood on many levels, and as I have been sharing it with my children this week, I have appreciated how it speaks to them and me at the same time in different ways. 

Yes, I even admit that although The Pumpkin Patch Parable is a cheerful story, there have been times in the past week when this sappy mama has caught myself with tears brimming at the corner of my eyes as I read the book to my children.  On those days when cuddle time on the couch has come after moments of less-than-stellar Mommy moments, as I have read about the Farmer choosing a pumpkin, removing all its yucky parts and making it shine anew, I have felt tearfully grateful – and convicted. 

My kids?  They just enjoy the story as we read the book by following the large-font story about the farmer and the pumpkin.  They also sometimes make connections about the Farmer and Our Heavenly Father and the pumpkin and us as we occasionally flip through the book page by page, reading and discussing the finer print Bible verses that accompany each illustration.   

Always, The Pumpkin Patch Parable is a hit with my children and me.  It is definitely a book that I will replace should my current copy get to worn to keep re-reading every year and it is the book that encouraged me to purchase the rest of Liz Curtis Higgs’ Parable Series, which have become favorites in our household, too.

In fact, the other day, as my son and I were talking about gutting pumpkins he asked me about “that other story” like the one we’ve been reading about the pumpkin.  “The one with the girl and the seed.”  He was recalling the Parable of the Lily, a favorite spring/Easter story of ours.

If you’ve never checked out the Parable Series, I encourage you to do so.  They truly are delightful, faith-inspired read-alouds for young children, with messages for caregivers, too.   Reading them has certainly become a our home!

What other faith-based holiday books do you enjoy with the young children in your life?  
Have any brought a tear to your eye?

As always, please share your thoughts and questions in the comments and stop back next Sunday to join us for more thoughts, tips and resource ideas on Training Happy Hearts: A Call to Faith Formation for Young Children.  Also, as always, if you'd like to guest post here one Sunday with a way you help the young children in your life to know and love God , you'd be most welcome to.  Just ask!

Disclosure: If you click on an Amazon links at Training Happy Hearts and make a purchase of any item, I may receive a small percentage of your purchase prince to help defray the cost of training my children up.  Our family thanks you if you choose to help support us in this way!


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