A Sign That You Care

Scripture: 2 Samuel 6-9 and I Chronicles 13-17 Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn God expects us to obey His commands exactly as they are given. As Uzzah learned, disobeying God can result in consequences.
  • Students will learn that just like God did not want David to build the Temple, but still blessed him, God may not allow us to do something we want to do for Him. It doesn’t mean God loves someone more than us or that He will not bless us.
  • Students will learn that God expects us to keep our godly promises.
  • Students will learn people who have special needs should be treated with the same love we show to everyone else.
  • Students will learn some specific ways to show love to people with certain special needs.
  • Students will learn the sign language for the song “Jesus Loves Me” so that they can communicate to someone who cannot hear well.

Guiding Question: How can we treat people who have special needs with the same love King David showed to Mephibosheth?

Materials:Jesus Loves Me ASL sheets, ASL Jesus Loves Me Video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kljvGJPuGFM)

Procedure: Review the story of the Ark returning to Jerusalem and David helping Mephibosheth. Explain to students that in many places in the world – even today –people with disabilities are treated very badly. They may have to live on the street as beggars and are often bullied by people in their towns. Ask them why they think David was so kind to Mephibosheth. For older students, you may also want to inform them when a king from a new family began ruling a kingdom in that time period, he would often find and kill all of the relatives of the old king’s family. This mean King David was especially loving to not only allow Mephibosheth to live, but make him as if he were one of David’s own sons. Explain that even in the US many people ignore people with special needs or treat them badly in other ways. Tell students people who are deaf or hearing impaired can’t always read lips accurately and love it when people know some ASL. Teach students the signs for the song Jesus Loves Me. (You may want to show the video to help.) Have them practice several times until they can do it fairly well. You may want to teach them some other simple signs. (http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/m/momdad.htm)

Here are some other tips you can share with students:
• Remember God loves us all equally and expects us to love each other the same way. Those with disabilities are no better or worse than those who don’t have an obvious disability.
• Always ask the person if they want or need your help. Never just grab them or their things and start doing something without their permission.
• If you are curious about their disability, ask permission to ask them specific questions about what they can or can’t do. Try to ask questions in a way that doesn’t hurt their feelings.
• Don’t assume that just because a person is blind, deaf or has some sort of physical issue (like a wheelchair), that they are also not intelligent. Even if they can’t communicate clearly, they may be even more intelligent than you are.
• Remember, even if someone does have a disability that makes it difficult for them to learn, remember or understand – they still have feelings and should be treated kindly.
• Some people have disabilities we cannot see. If you see someone struggling, ask if you can help. They may just be having a bad day, but would still like your help.
• Describe people with disabilities the same way you would describe your other friends. It is not necessary to add a label like “autistic” and it can hurt their feelings if they hear you.
• Remember, just because a person may have difficulty in understanding what you are saying to them, it does not necessarily mean they are hearing impaired. Ask if they need you to speak more loudly – don’t just start shouting.
• When speaking with someone who has a disability, look them in the eye. Don’t just look and speak to their helper or family member.

Note: Younger children may also need to be reassured they cannot “catch” a disability from another person like they can catch a cold.

Additional Questions:

  • What are some possible challenges that people who cannot hear would have? (Blind? Unable to walk?)

Supplemental Activity: If time allows, you may want to teach students some other tips for helping people with various special needs. They can also practice leading a person who is blind properly. Discuss how to lead from the side or slightly behind the blind person. Let the blind person determine grip and orientation. Hold forearm. Narrate what is around and the direction you’re going as you walk. Consider possible obstacles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XcaCxRWe2M