We have been really excited for a few weeks now about starting the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. I’ve been reading like crazy, and the ideas are so beautiful! Children are especially open to religious instruction from the ages of 3-6. They are trusting. The parable of the Good Shepherd is very appealing in content and symbolism to children. There is just so much here that appeals to me. Materials are gathered to act out the parable. A blessed candle is lit and the gospel account of the parable is read aloud. Questions are asked prompting responses, but never suggesting anything. The child draws from the parable and activity whatever that particular child needs. It’s different for each child. This was challenging. Must let go! Must not control! After my direction of the parable, the materials were put away in our home Atrium, and were made available for later access. The kids were encouraged to take them out and re-enact the parable as it was taught. My job – stay out of the way! That doesn’t mean I can’t take pictures right??
I was so curious to see how Sparkly in particular would act out the parable. What I found was so neat to watch. Again, it was challenging to NOT interfere. I kept wanting to say “No Sparkly, the wolf was never in the sheepfold in our parable.” But I didn’t. Later, I thought that the wolf (who represents danger and Satan in the parable) certainly has infiltrated the sheepfold (the church.) Just as in Sparkly’s re-enactment, the Good Shepherd continues to protect us from danger, thanks be to God. Amazing how the child interprets!
The good shepherd calls His sheep by name and leads them out of the sheepfold. I didn’t give the sheep a name, nor does the parable in the gospel, it simply says that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and that he knows his sheep and calls them all by name. Sparkly had the Good Shepherd calling our names – Sweet Pea, Matthew (in heaven,) Sparkly, Grace (in heaven,) Peanut – as the good shepherd led them out of the sheepfold. I was amazed. Look at our pathetic little pond of water there on the right. I had to get another piece of felt to enlarge it.
Here is the wolf confronting our homeward bound group. As I mentioned before, Sparkly wanted the wolf to sneak into the sheepfold. The good shepherd kicked the wolf out under the slats in the fence. Later on in the day after taking these pictures, Sparkly showed me how he had balanced his favorite lamb on the good shepherd’s shoulders. He was so proud! He said the little lamb was afraid of the wolf, so he climbed up on the good shepherd’s shoulders to be safe! Then he went on to balance 3 more lambs on top of the statue of the good shepherd for protection. Good stuff!