By Mary Lou Rosien
For most of the country it was a long, cold winter. Baltimore and D.C. were buried under snow, same with Philly and parts of New York. The southern states had ice storms, wind storms, and even snow storms too. Brrrrr. Now we look forward to hot summer days and ice cold lemonade. Just think of all those sour lemons waiting to be transformed into something sweet and refreshing! Pondering this gave me a great idea for our students.
When we are going through difficult times, it is often hard to imagine why the Lord would allow us to suffer. Perhaps we can demonstrate this best by making lemonade with our students.
The Lord takes us and allows us to be squeezed from something bitter and not necessarily very appealing, into a new creation. He makes us a sweeter, kinder, better version of ourselves. He takes one, odd, small, bitter ingredient…us. He squeezes all that He can out of us. During that process we may feel ugly, unfulfilled, maybe we even experience some pain or fear. Then, He mixes that with a healthy dose of His love and mercy to sweeten us. He combines us with an abundant amount of His will, so that there will be enough to go around and finally, we are ready to pour out and share with the world. The Lord is the Master at taking lemons and making them into lemonade!
To begin explaining this to our students we can hand out lemons to them. Have the kids describe the negatives and positives attributes of the lemons. Next, have them think about some positive and negative things they may feel about themselves.
Begin the squeezing process. Have the students identify a tough time they have experienced and what they learned or a time when overcame something because they had to struggle through it.
Sweeten the juice with sugar and discuss the ways the Lord helped them when they struggled. Did He send them a special friend? Did they have the support of a parent? Did going to church or receiving a sacrament strengthen them?
Next add the water. Perhaps you could discuss the story of the loaves and the fishes. Let the students make the connection about how God can multiply good and cannot be outdone in generosity.
The last step, of course, is to enjoy the juice. It has been my experience that when we approach a multisensory approach to a subject, the lesson remains with the student longer. I’m sure my fifth grade social studies teacher would be surprised to learn that I still remember all about the Eskimos, what they ate, how they travelled, etc. because my teacher had a party for us and used food to demonstrate these things. Although when he used olives for fish eyes, I was never quite able to look at an olive the same way again!
Enjoy the newly warm days of spring and ponder the Lord’s goodness the next time you have a cool glass of lemonade. God bless!
Mary Lou Rosien is the author of Managing Stress with the Help of your Catholic Faith (OSV Publishing). Write to her at email@example.com.
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