mainly music Blog

  • You’ve probably been to a mainly music session that focused on the message of Easter this week, maybe last week, and for some of you, the group might repeat the session after the Easter break.

    Maybe the message of Easter is spinning in your head and you’ve got a few questions.

    Recently I entered into a conversation with a gentleman who I literally bumped into – he was looking for a book to jump off the shelves in a retail store. I was buying one for my cousin from that section, and as the gentleman looked lost, I recommended the book I had read and was buying.

    As I was about to go out the door of the shop, he bumped into me again. This time to show me that my recommendation had been taken up and he had a copy of the leadership book I recommended. It was in this interaction that a discussion about the meaning of Easter took place. I’ll bring you into the discussion which occurred following my explanation of a couple of leadership learnings I had had after reading the book.

    Man: “I think moments like these are magic.”

    Me: “I don’t think of them as magic. I think of them as God moments.”

    Man: “Yes, I do too. Like God is everywhere, in everyone, you know, like in all things.”

    Me: “Well, the God I’m talking about is the One who I know through the life of Jesus.”

    Man: “Oh.” Pause. “Then can I ask you a question?”

    Me: “Sure you can.”

    Man: “I’ve heard Jesus dying on the cross for my sins is a free gift. How does that work?”

    Me: Picking up a Doc McStuffins puzzle box from the display next to where we stood!

    “If I wrap up this gift with nice paper and a beautiful bow and say to you, Here’s a gift for you. And you take it and put it on a shelf. You admire the paper. You admire the beautiful bow. But you never actually open it. Imagine that. Imagine never knowing that I’d given you a Doc McStuffins puzzle. Imagine never having the pleasure of making up that puzzle.
    Well, that’s like Jesus. He’s the free gift from God. Reading about Jesus’ life in the Bible and taking note of what He did and putting it in action helps us understand who God is.
    But if we never read the Bible and if we never pray and talk with God and if we never put His teachings into action and believe in God, we never get to open that gift. Just like the Doc McStuffins puzzle. It’ll sit on the shelf and we’ll never understand who God is and how much He loves us. We can read about Jesus’ life and what He taught in the New Testament section of the Bible.
    The great thing about the Christian faith as opposed to other faith systems is that God has given Jesus as His free gift whereas other faith systems require you to do life better and do actions that are deemed to be good so that you will be liked by that god.”

    Is that how you’ve understood this gift of Easter?
    Will you leave the free gift on the shelf or unwrap it and check out what Jesus did and taught and in doing so, find out who God is?

    If you’d like a copy of the New Testament, that this gentleman agreed he needed to read, talk to your mainly music leader – or send me an email with your address and I’ll arrange a copy for you – johood@mainlymusic.org.

    Jo Hood wrote this posting after her real encounter in a Whitcoulls store (this was not written for a blog – it’s not faux news – it actually happened, despite how random that sounds). One of her favourite New Zealand stores is Whitcoulls and she hasn’t found anything quite like anywhere else in the world.

  • The concept of “attachment” has found its way into much writing and talking about parenting, but what does it mean, and more importantly, how can parents help their child to develop a secure attachment?

    Attachment is the lasting emotional bond that a child forms with a specific person that provides safety, comfort, soothing, and pleasure. Almost all children will develop an attachment but the nature of attachment varies, depending largely upon the care-giving style of their parents. Children who are securely attached are more likely to be resilient under stress, have better relationships, and enter school ready to learn.

    Drawing on attachment research a group of American psychotherapists have developed a user-friendly graphic illustrating the different needs children have of their parents, named the Circle of Security (COS) (Cooper, Hoffman, Marvin & Powell, 1998). The hands represent the parent, and the circle represents the child moving away to explore and coming back when necessary.

    Interested in more? Download the full article including the graphic from The Brainwave Trust  - CLICK HERE

    To develop a secure attachment, children require their parents to fulfil two key roles. First, (on the top half of the circle) the parent’s role is to be a secure base from which the child can move away and explore their world. For a baby this may be subtle, looking away from mum as something catches their interest, for a toddler with new-found mobility, it may be more obvious! This is an important role as it is through exploration that a child’s learning occurs. Children are more likely to explore when they feel safe and look to their parents for cues that it is OK.

    Being emotionally available to our children is necessary, just being physically present is not enough and even very young children will spot the difference, as adults do. For example, imagine how different it feels to talk to your partner who is really ‘with’ you compared with when they are listening - while watching TV!

    It can be helpful to consider what lies behind our children’s approaches to us. For example, asking for help with a task like putting on their socks may be more about seeking emotional support than actually requiring our help. Recognising this helps parents to respond more effectively to their child’s needs.

    Maybe you have found sufficient help from this short portion of the article. We’d recommend you check it out completely by referring to the downloadable resource.

    Written by: Keryn O’Neill, MA PGCertEdPsych
    Brainwave Trust Senior Researcher
    Published in the newsletter of Brainwave Trust 2016. First published in June 2010.

    Used by permission in partnership with Brainwave Trust.

    For more information about the brain – www.brainwave.org.nz

  • Recovering from an Earthquake or anything that's given you a BIG fright

    1. Be Gentle on Yourself and lower your expectations of what you can achieve. During an event like this you use your adrenalin to get through. Just like a credit card where you use additional resources, the bill still needs to be paid. It is as things settle down you may feel very tired and struggle to concentrate. Nothing is wrong, your body just needs to pay back the emotional-physical debt it incurred. Rest more, take time out and do what replenishes you.

    2. Retrain your 'crisis' response. When you the face danger of an earthquake the 'crisis centre' of your brain remembers it and remains on high alert for anything that seems similar. 'Something similar' can then cause the same intense response. This is why a mild aftershock will feel like the big one. Notice your stress response; don't stress the stress. Take slow, deep breaths to calm your body. Reassure your brain like you might a young child, "Thanks, adrenal gland, I don't need the adrenalin, nothing is wrong." Consistently doing this will help in your emotional recovery

    3. Relax and find sleep again. When your body is stressed and you're on high alert it is difficult to relax and hard to sleep. This breathing technique can help move you from stressed to relaxed. It's 5-5-5-5. Sit or lie comfortably. Breathe in through your nose for the count of 5 (till your lungs are at full capacity), hold your breath for the count of 5, breathe out through your mouth slowly to the count of 5 (until fully exhaled). Do this 5 times.

    This helpful insight was written and published by Richard Black and the Strength to Strength team. For more helpful insights & tools head to www.strength2strength.co.nz
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  • Are you expecting too much from your toddler?

    Take a deep breath and read Miriam McCaleb's words of wisdom on how to parent a willfull two year old.

    What gives? What makes us think it's acceptable to label two year olds as "terrible"? "The terrible Twos" is a common phrase used to describe our divine children as they negotiate the rocky path of toddlerhood. Just when toddlers need their adults to be at our most compassionate, understanding and helpful, we turn on them with our language and expectations. Within their earshot, these groovy toddlers are described as "terrible".

    If i knew i was being described as a "Tragic Thirty-something" rapidly approaching my "Foul Forties", i would be highly likely to lay my most awful behaviour on you. Really, you wanna see terrible? I'll give you tragic! You aint seen foul like i can deliver it....

    We've certainly moved on from thinking it's okay to use such terms when describing gender, ethnicity or ability. So why is it socially acceptable for two year olds?

    Rise up, dear readers and join me in a campaign to say "NO!" to using this unfortunate moniker. Yes, friends, beware the power of the fulfilling prophecy.

    Bye bye baby, hello toddler

    Let's explore some of the developmental tasks of children as they near the age of two, and how we as adults need to adjust our expectations. After all, when we know what is going on for children during toddlerhood, we have no need to label their behaviour "terrible".

    Toddlerhood can emerge as a shock to many parents. You've adjusted to the needs of infancy, you have been brave and giving as you negotiated sleepless nights, sore boobs, and the constant aroma of baby vomit. But along with the challenges, you've enjoyed the rewards of parenting a baby: the admiring gazes of folks on the street, the convenience of the non-mobile infant (still in the same spot where you left him, 10 minutes later!) and the glorious baby grins and giggles. Seemingly all of a sudden, this portable and somewhat malleable baby is replaced by a toddler, determined to practise his newfound walking (running, and climbing) skills, a toddler with his own ideas about where to go next and what he would rather be doing, wearing or eating. This shift must be met with a shift in your skills, or conflict will arise.

    Dr Ron Lally, one the founders of the Program for Infant/Toddler Care, a research-based training organisation in California, talks about the tension that occurs when adults continue using the same skills that were successful in caring for a young baby when they're engaged with an older infant or toddler.

    He explains that the main development task of a very young infant is to experience security and that the ultimate caregiving style for a very young infant is modelled on a warm, bosomy grandmother. Calm, gentle, sensitive love delivered by an attuned and nurturing adult with tons of time to snuggle. Perfect!

    But as that little baby grows into a mobile infant, the envelope of the cost embrace becomes more of a part-time residence. The main developmental task of the mobile infant is exploration, and a child of this age (who has made the cognitive leap that "mummy ends and i begin") has a ton of work to do in figuring out how his body works. He must learn to roll, commando-crawl, rock on hands and knees, pick things up with a pincer grasp, stand up, walk and climb. Huge work!

    Step up, coach

    Now that the middle infant has started to walk, he is, by definition, a toddler. And toddlers have a whole new world to negotiate. They've mastered much of their physical work, and they're moving into a complex world of understanding relationships, emotions and identity. ("Me! Mine! I do it!") This learning is profound and important, and Dr Lally uses the analogy of a coach to describe the type of skill set that will serve a toddler well.

    The coach is encouraging, clear and patient. The coach recoginises that some skills will need to be practised over and again, without becoming frustrated. A skilled coach wont become angry or take it personally when they receive messages, "I need your help. No, go away! I can do this on my own! Actually, hey, i really do need your help!" recognising that the need for support ebbs and flows when negotiating new skills - sometimes within moments.

    No need to get mad about it - it's not naughtiness or willfullness, its just how it is. Sue Gerhardt repeats this language in her excellent book Why Love Matters. She talks about the role of a skilled adult as an "emotion coach". Our toddlers need us to identify what they seem to be experiencing, to weave it with some empathy, and to avoid judgment of their emotion.

    A threatening toddler storm in the supermarket checkout can be responded to with something like: "Oh, I Know! All of those chocolates look so interesting and it's hard when you can't have what you want, eh? Looks like you're mad about that! Oh well .... sorry, babe, no chocolate today."

    This is quite a different message to, "Stop being silly. You don't need chocolate. Stop it!"

    The limit is the same (I'm not buying a chocolate bar), but while the first response acknowledges that human desires and emotions are normal (and lets be honest, whose not tempted by the beautifully wrapped treats?), the second serves to add an unhelpful layer of shame to the mix (It's silly to feel like that). When we are honest with ourselves, we realise that it's entirely reasonable to feel discomfort when faced with the yearning for something desirable that we cannot have. New car, anyone? Coveting another pair of impractical shoes or beautiful handbag? Yes, it's hard when we can't have what we want.

    Local parent educator and university lecturer Nathan Mikaere-Wallis has another terrific analogy when talking about supporting children through this time. He talks about a child's need for an emotional apprenticeship. Just as the master mechanic wouldn't mock the junior for not yet knowing how to manage a blown carburetter, wise adults know we must share our experiences, to avoid abandoning children in the complex world of emotion.

    Recipe for brain development

    Exploring the work of Dr Bruce Perry, a Texas-based neuroscientist, author and child psychiatrist, gives us another lens through which to view this idea. Dr Perry developed what's known as the neuro-sequential model, a fantastic tool for understanding the way our brains develop. The neuro-sequential model demonstrates that toddlers are working with an incomplete brain. Their brains have a way to go before being totally organised. Is it any wonder they need our help?

    This model teaches us a hierarchical nature of brain growth and function. Dr Perry uses the analogy of a layer cake: The bottom layer must be firm and cooked so other layers can rest upon it.

    We now know that our brain uses a foundation of simple functions and later develops more complex functions. The first region of our brain to develop is the brain stem, focusing on survival functions, for example: breathing.

    Next, the neuro-sequential model teaches us that toddlers do huge work to develop control over their bodies, as they wire up a region known as their mid-brain. Then, the "layer" of the limbic system is developed, and this is the home of emotion.

    Anyone hanging out with toddlers will recognise that they often feel deep emotions, and they move from one to another for reasons that may seem illogical to adults. Most grown-ups have access to a region of the brain known as the cortex, which enables logic to override an emotional response. Research indicates we don't fully wire up our cortexes until we're in our mid-20s. So, to expect a two year old to "calm down" just because you say so is unreasonable.

    Toddlers have an emotional brain, but they don't yet have a logical brain. Robust cortical growth happens most readily when it rests upon a strong foundation. This can't happen when the "layers" of the "cake" that sit underneath have raw cake batter in the middle.

    It is arguable, then, that the best way to ensure a healthy wiring (and perfect bake time) for the limbic system is to engage emotionally with toddlers as they do the work of learning about feelings.

    Imagine your 20-month-old wants to wear the green T-shirt and it's wet on the washing line. He's disappointed, maybe sad. Perhaps a tantrum is looming. While it's great if you take the time to talk with him about the wet fabric and the fact that he'll get cold if he wears it now, he will not be able to hear your logical messages and explanations while he's in the midst of his emotional reaction.

    Instead, start with his emotion. "Oh, I can see your face looking really sad about that. Are you disappointed about the T-shirt being wet? Because you really love that T-shirt, don't you? But do you know what, honey? It's all wet! It was dirty, so I washed it, and now it has to get dry before you can wear it again."

    See - all those logical explanations are in there too, but we must begin by allowing, acknowledging and explaining the emotion. Over time, children become more skilled at recognising the emotions that pass like clouds across their consciousness ("Yes, I'm angry!"). Knowing what they are, as well as having been coached about how to manage them, is essential in learning to regulate them - to calm oneself down.

    Understanding tantrums

    Speaking of regulating emotions, let's take a moment to talk specifically about tantrums. Tantrums are usually a result of a child not having yet learned to deal with their powerful emotions in more of a socially acceptable way. They are not usually about naughtiness or manipulation - remember, these children don't yet have much of a logical brain, so they're not able to plan, plot or control their parents.

    Most tantrums are what author and child psychotherapist Margot Sunderland calls a "distress tantrum", and these children should be thought of as having the words "I need to be soothed" or "Help me to handle this" printed across their beings. These children need empathy, language to describe their feelings and perhaps some distraction.

    The minority of tantrums are described by Sunderland in The Science of Parenting, as "Little Nero" tantrums. A child having a Little Nero tantrum is usually older, there are no tears or stress chemicals in his brain and body. Only a minority of tantrums are about manipulation. This is the child who needs clear limits and a calm, firm parent.

    Which brings us to the final point. In order to be the sort of parent our children need us to be, we must strive for calm, warm, consistent parenting. This is very hard to do when we are stressed ourselves. Our buttons are pushed much more easily when we're tired, when we haven't learned to process our own emotions, or if we just need a snack.

    So just as you're practising kindness and acceptance of those toddlers (the Terrific, Tantalising Toddlerific Twos), practise a little kindness and acceptance of yourself, too.

    Miriam McCaleb has been working with children for 20 years. She reckons the coolest among them are toddlers. The last decade has seen Miriam concentrate on teaching the adults in children's lives (who are also cool) and in caring for her whanau (the best of the lot!).  She works with the Brainwave Trust, blogs at www.baby.geek.nz and this February delightedly welcomed a new baby. 

     Special thanks to OHbaby! magazine for providing us with the content of this piece.

    Republished with permission – www.ohbaby.co.nzweblogoohbaby

  • Conflict is common to all of us. The problem is we often struggle to handle it well. To be fair, we all know how to handle it badly, and we do so on a regular basis.  We can fall into the trap of getting aggressive or we can just try to avoid it all. At one level conflict is simply the disagreement of ideas; what makes it harder are the meaning and emotions we load it up with. Some people avoid conflict, saying they want to keep the peace, which isn’t actually true, they just want to avoid conflict. You often have to go through to conflict to get to real peace. To resolve conflict well, here are four steps to apply.

    1. Own your zone.
      One thing that all people in conflict have in common is they are very aware of what the other person is doing wrong. As they focus on this, the relationship stalls. Before addressing another person's behaviour first make sure you've tidied up your side of the fence. Own your emotions, your reactions, your interpretation, rather than blaming others for what you're feeling, assuming and the way you are behaving. It is easy to fall into a ‘reactive’ mindset rather than a ‘responsive’ one. People with a ‘reactive’ mindset do three things: [1] they blame the other person for how they feel; [2] they then justify any reaction they make; and [3] they wait for the other person to change, or at least apologise. People with a ‘responsive’ mindset however, do the opposite: [1] they take responsibility for how they feel; [2] they then take responsibility for how they react; and [3] they initiate to address the issue.
    1. Know your need.
      Often conflict is the clash between two people's solutions or preferences that seem mutually exclusive. However, if you peel back their preferences you discover what is actually important to a person; what they are valuing or needing. Usually what each person is valuing or needing is equally fine.  It is here that you can brainstorm together how both can be upheld – you become a team rather than competitors. Or you can negotiate as to what you require to be ok with accepting the other person’s preferences, or equally what would they require to be ok with accepting yours.
    1. Address the person.
      As obvious as that sounds, we will often talk to everyone else except the person we have the problem with; or we clam up and say nothing at all. Often people play the conversation through in their minds and conclude that saying something won't work. They never let the other person into the conversation. When we do this we stall ourselves. We need to play our part, which is to address the person, say what we need to say, and let their response be their responsibility.
    1. And finally, communicate constructively.
      Learn how to speak the truth in a respectful way. Some people are all ‘truth’ but there is no respect in the way they are speaking; they just let the person have it. Others are so focused on being loving and respectful that they never say what they really mean. When you speak, do so from a soft heart, speaking calmly, clearly, using “I” and focus on the behaviour rather than attacking the person. One helpful pattern to use is:

    I appreciate…
    I don't appreciate…
    I would appreciate...

    For example: “I appreciate that you have been working hard. What I am struggling with is the way you arrive late each night and I really need your support. What I would appreciate is if you could do whatever it takes to be here on time. That would mean a lot to me.”

    Resolving conflict well empowers your life and deepens your relationships. Why settle for anything less?

    Richard Black
    Strength to Strength
    www.strength2strength.co.nz

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  • Many of the songs and rhymes used in a mainly music session have more benefit than just 'a fun time'. When children use their right hand over the left side of their body and the left hand over the right side of their body, they are simulating nerves within the brain. Children in reading recovery groups often struggle with these concepts.

    Laterality is the term that refers to an important change in the brain that permits an 'internal awareness of the two sides of the body and their differences' (Newel Kephart). The brain is divided into two major hemispheres - the left and right hemisphere. Information comes to the brain from the body's sensory and motor systems, helping it to develop a 'picture' of the body - learning new tasks and learning what the body can do (that's why touch and movement are so important). The message pathways from the left side of the body cross over in the midbrain to the right side of the brain and the pathways from the right side of the body cross over to the left side of the brain.


    IMG_4941

    So what can you do at home?

    • Have some games where your child has to use their non-dominant hand to reach across their body to pick up an item.
    • With a book on their knee, encourage your child to turn the page with the opposite hand so they are using their hand across the central line of their body.
    • Ask your four year old or older child to hop on their non-dominant foot for ten hops.
    • Help your child use the monkey bars at the park.
    • Play marching around the house.
    • Reward your child for crawling from the living room to the bedroom - as a bit of a game - even though your child is now walking.
    • Have your child catch a ball in their non-dominant hand and throw it back.
    • Make a game of having your child reach for something on the opposite side of their body.

    Putting some time into your child's laterality is important for their on-going development, especially reading and writing. It's worth having a little bit of fun making this happen because your child will willingly get involved not realising their brain is growing and developing!

  • Have you looked at 'how' to speak love into your child using the love languages? While a child is young, it's good to love them through all five love languages so here's some practical ideas you could try this week.

    Time – take a moment to have a ‘date’ with your child. If you can, one parent with one child – at the park, go for a walk, make a craft; if you can’t, set aside a chunk of time to complete a project with your children.

    Act of service – does your child look after a job around the house? Maybe they feed the cat or dry the dishes. Why don’t you take their turn? Make sure you tell them WHY you’re doing this or it will go unrecognized!

    Physical touch – easy as! A rough and tumble on the floor. Read a book snuggled on the couch together.

    Words of encouragement – write a note to tell your child how much you love them and why. “I love the way you smile.” “I love you because just because you are my son – no other reason.” “I love the way you care for your sister.” Speak out what you see for little ones who can’t yet read.

    Gifts – children don’t have a ‘value’ for money. Something small – something big but cheap; children view the item’s value to them rather than what you paid for it.

    We’re grateful to Gary Chapman who wrote the book, 5 Love Languages, and recommend it to you as an essential parenting title.

  • Self-esteem. Parents are sometimes placed on a guilt trip. We measure ourselves. The critics say, the child's self esteem is all up to parents.

    It has been recorded that worry does not add a single moment to your lives. That wherever our treasure is, there our heart and thoughts will also be. And that each of us is more valuable to God than the birds of the air.

    How can we, as parents or influencers of these youngsters, present a bigger picture so they know we 'choose' them, that they are held in our hearts as 'loved'?

    Firstly, we can reduce the 'worry' factor. We can take stock of the atmosphere in our home, not talk about wrongdoings in their hearing, and stop ourselves from confiding our own fears to them.

    Secondly, we can encourage them in treasures beyond themselves - let's help them find a passion - dance, sport, art, literature. They don't have to be 'first' or 'best' - instead be satisfied with a job well done, a game well played.

    Finally, we can explore with them a picture beyond ourselves. If Gods finds us and our children more valuable than the birds, we can relax in that knowledge. Look at birds dressed so finely; they have detail far beyond our nakedness; they worry-not. Sure birds don't have schedules or iPhones, rent or mortgage, bills nor credit cards. Birds' lives are relatively care-free. But listen to their song - they sing as the sun rises, they sing as the sun sets, and whether its raining or sunny, they find something to be thankful for. Have you considered and 'i'm thankful' list !

    Start by doing  what is necessary. Then do what is possible. And suddenly you are doing the impossible.
    Francis of Assisi. 

  • Young children love to play. Sometimes they play undirected. Sometimes they need that one-on-one time with Dad, Mum or the adult in their life who is in charge. And through their play, learning takes place. That can be learning about life, about education, about spirituality, and about character. Here are three simple ideas for a day when you're dry on inspiration.

    Using an empty plastic container - like a milk container with a handle - poke holes in the base with a meat skewer, a knife or using hammer and nail. When you're outside, fill the bottle with water and let your child sprinkle the grass, the flowers, and if you're able, the concrete. Talk about what the water is doing for the grass and flowers. Ask your child to draw something on the concrete with their sprinkles - and have them talk to you about the artwork.

    Go for a walk in a park and talk about the many miracles of nature. The colour [the trees, the flowers], the shapes [long, short, wide, thin], how God cares for the birds. [watch them fly and eat], and the miracle of growth [can you find plants in various stages of growth]. Ask your child to stand next to a plant and photograph them. Let them see how tall they are next to a tall tree, a short bush, a little flower. Maybe you will have the time to stop and speak a prayer of thanks for all these delights.

    When you're indoors, sit with your child as they put together a drawing. Then mount it on an empty food box and cut it into pieces. You and your youngster can create a puzzle that is unique to them.

  • My nearly four-year-old is busy studying the latest flyer from one of the big stores, so conveniently deposited into our mailbox every other day. This is one is seasonally filled with chocolate eggs. Big ones, small ones, hallow ones, marshmallow ones, licensed ones featuring the latest cartoon star/movie star/pop star. She is dreaming, mouth almost watering. I am curious:

    Hey darling, can you tell me what Easter is really about?

    Ummm... Eggs?

    No, not really.

    Ummm... Chocolate?

    Nope.

    Ummm... Chocolate eggs?!

    No, not even chocolate eggs. Do you remember what happened at the first ever Easter?

    Ummm... Jesus was born?

    No, not quite. Jesus was born at Christmas time. He came into this world as a little baby, but he was actually God's son and God was sending him to this world because we needed a Saviour.

    Why did we need a saviour?

    Well, this world is pretty amazing and beautiful. But people do some dumb stuff sometimes. They hurt each other and that makes God really sad. They also forget about God and try to manage on their own. But God loves us so much, He doesn't want us to hurt each other, or ourselves, and He misses us if we just go of doing our own thing. So he came up with a plan. He would send his son Jesus to be with people on earth for a while, so they could learn more about God and the way God wants us to live. And then Jesus could take all the punishment for the wrong things people do, so us people - God's precious children, would not be separated from Him forever but could stay connected to God an one day live with Him in heaven for eternity.

    What's eternity?

    Forever and ever. But back to Easter. Jesus had been living on earth for about 33 years.

    Daddy is going to be 33 at his next birthday!

    Yep, Daddy is nearly 33. Jesus had been working as a carpenter...

    What's a carpenter?

    A carpenter is a builder.

    A builder like Daddy!

    Yes, a builder like Daddy. Jesus had been building, but also telling people amazing stories, and teaching them really helpful things about life, and making sick people better again, and performing miracles.

    Whats a miracle?

    A miracle is something so amazing that only God could have made it happen.

    Like me?

    Yep, you're a miracle. But back to Easter. People were hearing about Jesus and all the cool stuff he was doing. And some people knew he was a great leader and they wanted to follow him. But other people were afraid of Jesus. They were worried that Jesus might make trouble for the rulers, that Jesus would get people to fight against their rule and try and take over.

    But you said Jesus was only doing cool stuff?

    Yep, he was. he wasn't going to fight with anybody. He was doing what God has asked him to do - teach people about the Kingdom of God. But the really powerful rulers felt so threatened by Jesus that they go soldiers to arrest him, saying that Jesus had broken the laws of God. He hadn't broken any laws, but by now the priests had told lies about Jesus to the Governor. The Governor didn't want Jesus killed, but people were all getting really upset and out of control, so the Governor thought Jesus had to be punished and then hopefully people would calm down again.

    Did Jesus get time out?

    Well, sadly not. They did a really awful thing to Jesus. They nailed him to a big wooden cross, which is really, really bad for your body, and after a while Jesus couldn't breathe anymore, and he died. And we remember that day on Good Friday. We have Hot Cross Buns, and the crosses remind us what happened to Jesus that day.

    MM1259 EasterBunImages_1

    Good Friday? That cross thing doesn't sound very good.

    Well, something really good was about to happen. And the cross thing - well, that was very, very important, because it was part of God's plan for Jesus. So it was a holy thing to happen. And another word for "Holy" is "good".

    Did Jesus stay on the cross?

    No, his friends were allowed to come and take him down from the cross. They took his body and wrapped it up, and then they carried it to a tomb.

    You mean a room?

    No, a tomb... a tomb is like a cave in a rock, and in those days that's where they put people when they had died. And then a big rock was rolled in front of the tomb and a guard was there keeping and eye on things.

    Were his friends sad?

    Yes, they were really, really sad. And they comforted each other. And then on the third day, the Sunday, some of Jesus' friends, some ladies, went up to his tomb.

    To take Jesus some flowers?

    Something like that. But do you know what they found? Nothing, No Jesus! and the big huge heavy stone had been rolled away! They tomb was empty, and the guard had no idea what had happened. And then they saw a couple of angels who told them that Jesus was alive! He had come back to life, he had risen from the dead! We call that resurrection. That's why Easter Sunday is called Resurrection Sunday. The friends of Jesus were amazed, and rang back to their other friends to tell them the good news. It was hard to believe it was true, so Peter, another one of Jesus' friends came up to the tomb and all he could find were some of the bandages they had wrapped Jesus in before. Jesus was alive, and he visited with his friends and talked to them some more before going up to Heaven to be with God.

    Why did he go back to heaven?

    Well, his work on earth was done.

    His building work? Had he finished his house?

    Not his building work, but the job God had sent him to earth to complete - Jesus had to die as punishment for our sins - the things we do wrong. Because Jesus took the punishment for us, we don't have to be punished, we can be forgiven and still stay really close to God, even though we make mistakes and do the wrong things sometimes. But Gods plan was not Jesus dying on the cross, the most amazing part was that empty tomb. The empty tomb showed us God's amazing power - God is more powerful than death, so Jesus came back to life! God is the greatest, most powerful king and ruler EVER. And because of Jesus dying on Good Friday but then coming back to life on Resurrection Sunday, we too don't need to be afraid of dying - we can live forever with God. In fact, With God we don't need to be afraid of anything!

    So...why do we have Easter eggs?

    That's a good question. The hollow chocolate eggs, the ones with nothing inside, can remind us of that empty tomb...there was nothing inside the tomb because Jesus was alive!

    Does Jesus know the Easter bunny?

    He might do. Jesus is actually really into fun stuff, and people having a good time. The bible says he came so that we may have life, and life in abundance! That means a really fun, happy, full life! At Easter there is heaps of fun stuff around. Some things - like eggs and baby chickens represent new life, the new life we can all have because of what Jesus did. Other things are symbols of spring because in the Northern Hemisphere Easter Happens and springtime. It's not spring here in New Zealand though, it's actually Autumn, but that's ok - we can still think about Spring and all the new life that happens then when animals are born and chickens hatch out of eggs...

    So why does this Easter Egg here in the magazine have a picture of a Dora on it?

    That, my darling, i just can't really explain.

    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him". John 3:16-17

    Special thanks to Ohbaby! magazine for providing us with the content of this piece.

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Choose project:

Vulnerable Communities
Reaching Families
Morning Tea
Vulnerable Communities
Each gift you place this month will contribute towards beginning mainly music sessions in

- Women's prisons

- Refugee Centres

- School transition programs

A part of a initiative we lovingly call 'Vulnerable Communities'. To find out more head to our 'Vulnerable communities' page under the about tab.

Reaching Families
Each gift will lovingly support our mobile mainly music leaders who travel across the region to reach families in remote communities. Truly inspiring individuals.


$5 will provide a MOTHER'S DAY GIFT to mum's who may not a receive gift at all.


Morning Tea
a $10 donation will provide a morning tea for one of our mainly music school transition programs an extended arm of our Vulnerable Communities initiative.

Run in primary schools, this program exists to help children become accustom to their environment and develop early learning skills such as listening to instruction, participation in a group setting and prepares them as they move into the early years of formal education
Donation amount:

$