Almost every day children will hear about situations of conflict and violence that cause separation and distrust around the world. Some of them may have witnessed divisions in their own families, or the communities around them. And they will have experienced disagreements, fights, and arguments with siblings and classmates.
At this stage in their development (age 9 – 11), it is important for the children to start thinking about how to find peaceful solutions to difficult problems. The story of Joseph and his brothers invites them to imagine what could happen if we reached out with God’s love to bring healing and reconciliation. Reaching out can be risky, and it could be that some children have reached out to others and been rebuffed. They will find it harder to think positively about doing this again. Still, the story reminds us that reconciliation is possible even in the hardest of circumstances.
Children in this age group tend to be optimistic and hopeful. They believe anything can happen if people try hard enough. Encourage this God-given gift of faith and give them the space to dream big dreams and imagine what might happen if we all reached out the way Joseph did. Pray that the children will become excited by the possibilities of what could happen when we reach out with God’s love.