Friday, May 7, 2010

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 6): Looking Back at St. Joseph the Worker's Day

Saint Study!
 I never learned much (or at least don’t remember learning much) about the saints when I was a child.  So, learning about them with Luke and Nina is as enriching for me as it is for them – maybe even more so, as I make so many connections while I am researching, brainstorming, planning and preparing Saint Study activities for us.  Truly, I think it’s so cool how God uses my desire to train up my children in the way they should go to remind me of the way I should go as well.

Despite how cool I think it is that God uses my desire to help my children learn to make me learn as well, sometimes I don’t follow his lead.  I get detoured..  For example, I had soooo many ideas for exploring St. Joseph the Worker’s day with the kids this year, but ended up failing to prepare some and opting to ignore others on the feast day itself, enjoying an early Mother’s Day outing instead.

 St. Joseph Matching Cards
Thankfully, we got back on track with some St. Joseph the Worker ideas this past Sunday.  Since I had found some wonderful St. Joseph matching cards at Shower of Roses, we had lots of fun playing “Who can find the ~?”  Basically, we laid half of the cards out on the floor and the other matching half of cards was held by the Caller on the couch.  The Caller either showed the Players a card or described it, having the Players find its match.   
With Luke and Nina taking turns as the Caller, as well as teaming up as Caller with Mommy as Player, we definitely spent more time playing the game than I did printing, contact papering and cutting the cards – always a boon!  And, along with providing giggles while playing, the game offered fine arts exposure, matching skills practice, visual discrimination, talk of St. Joseph’s life and descriptive language use.   
And, since the kids chose to play between the soft, furry blanketed couch and the hard, smooth floor all at once, there was plenty of tactile stimulation while moving between the two surfaces and also some great joint and muscle use – with throwing matches up to the couch, crawling about the floor looking for matches, bouncing excitedly on the couch cushions, etc.  So, it was a blessing to see how easily Sensory Diet stuff can be when Mommy simply wears her SPD-tinted glasses and follows the kids’ lead.  Great game!

Paper Dolls
We also enjoyed coloring St. Joseph paper dolls by Paper Dali, or I should say Luke and I did.  Nina was more interested in sharpening pencils and playing Matching Cards with her dollies than she was in coloring.   
 But, Luke colored away, talking about “St. Jofess” (how I will miss when he finally learns to say the name correctly!), asking about the saint’s tools, sketching in trees so St. Joseph could be “in the shade”, not getting a tan like Mommy’s, drawing on a halo just “like the real Jofess”, etc.  100% engaged, Luke not only colored his own paper doll, but asked to add a sun on my sheet, since I had colored a working tan on my St. Joseph and set up Nina’s coloring area to try to entice her to come join us.  Then, he was thrilled when Nina said she didn’t want to color, even after his efforts to make her coloring place inviting, and for Luke to color hers for her.   he dove right into it!  How our boys loves to color...

 Not that Joseph!
When Daddy, who had been mowing the lawn, came into the kitchen and saw Luke’s colorful St. Joseph dolls, he asked if it was “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.”  To my surprise, Luke told him “No, Daddy.  That’s the other Jofess.  He didn’t have tools. This is Mary’s Jofess.”  How great did it feel to witness that our boy, who just that morning was “bored’ at church, acting out like crazy and (Yikes!) saying he didn’t like Jesus, so readily begin to explain his knowledge of saints and Bible folk.  Sometimes, I need that sort of encouragement to know the kids are internalizing our faith, despite their Mass protests.  Yay!

St. Joseph, St. Joseph
 After drawing, we sang the "St. Joseph" song from the Sing Bible Prayer Songs CD & Songbook by Carol Ann  Fisher.  Then, Luke, who had not behaved during the songs at Mass that morning and has been protesting most of our Bible song CD’s, requested the "Naaman" song and “Sittin' on Top of the Rainbow” – one of the kids’ favorites.  (Whoo hoo!)  This made Nina, the recent Cantor, break out into “Glory the God in the Highest!”  Yes, for the past couple weeks, Nina has been taken by the image of cantors singing at Mass and often randomly raises her arms cantor-style when playing and sings (shouts) out, “Glory to God in the highest”.  How we love her spontaneous – albeit too loud to be melodious – praise!

Hammering and Kicking
Finally, we rounded out our St. Joseph the Worker celebration and observation with some Melissa and Doug toolkit and Imaginarium Construction Worker play (in lieu of the outdoor “real” hammering activities I had planned, for although the kids love being outside and doing real hammering, Luke was excited to see the dramatic play construction outfit in a box I was sorting through earlier in the weekend and neither child wanted to go back out in the unseasonable heat after being out in it much of the morning.) 

We followed hammering with story time on the couch, sharing a great read with lovely illustrations, quality narrative and even some historical notes for Mommy and for the kids’ later learning – Patricia A. Pingry’s Joseph’s Story.  While we were reading, Baby seemed to say, “I love storytime as much as my siblings!”  Indeed, he nearly kicked the book off my belly, where it rested while I read.  This led to excitement as Luke and Nina talked their little brother into kicking again and again, feeling for his kicks. As I look back at that moment, I cannot help but to take delight in knowing that, like Joseph, we are obeying God.  By welcoming new life into our family, we are listening and loving as Joseph, Mary and all the saints teach us, too.

Next year. Baby will likely be hammering away on St. Joseph the Worker’s day along with Luke and Nina... and maybe I will get to a few more of those activities I had thought we might do this year!  Until then, we’d love to hear what you and yours do to celebrate Joseph or any of the saints for that matter.  Please leave a comment and links to share your ideas.  Thanks!

And, if you would like to read other folk’s Seven Quick Takes, please see the links at Conversion Diary, where a little bit of everything is sure to inspire you, make you laugh or cause you to nod with a, “Mmm, me too!”


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