Transition and major life change can be hard on families, especially children. So, often as adults we persevere through life's challenging events accepting them as a part of our lot. Yes, we may question God, swear at the obstacle, murmur and complain, but somehow we overcome and pull through. Human will is amazingly creative and resilient!
Children go through those obstacles too! As adults and parents we often set the example for our children of how to act and endure those life challenges. As gate keepers of our children's innocence we must be careful to set a good example, filter what we expose them to, and still remain transparent and sensitive to what our children are feeling in those hard times of change. However, transitions are oftentimes necessary, and gates to new opportunities.
Recently, a church I was attending changed leadership. When we arrived at the church a few years prior, the church was a vibrant, family-oriented , close knit body of believers, led by an experienced elder, who served as senior pastor. However, the transition caused a great falling away and divide among adults. As adults left, with their children, children were separated from friends that they had spent their whole lives with. The church gates were wide open and there seemed to be a mass exodus.
In efforts to bring comfort to and keep unity among the church members, the leadership focused on community and building relationships. I decided to carry this theme into our kids classroom as well. As a teacher, I'm always looking for hands-on-activities to help my students engage in the learning process. I settled on creating a community classroom quilt after reading a post by Kristen Duke of Capturing Joy.
One Sunday I had each student illustrate on fabric squares what they believed their gift to the world is. I worked on the header of the quilt adding in the elements of community emphasized by the pastor. Here is the header:
I chose two different rainbow patterned quilting cotton fabrics to frame the fabric squares and make the bottom of the quilt sandwich. Here is the bottom layer:
I decided to make it a three by three squares tapestry quilt. Here's how it turned out after piecing together everything:
I presented our Gate Kids Community Quilt to the pastor's wife, a photographer and fiercely creative person, as a gift from the class. It served as a commemoration of the church's transition into The Gate, "a place where people will go to, grow in, and become healed."
I think this activity really helped the kids with understanding their own ability to adapt with change. I also believe this activity helped the kids to feel validated because they were affirmed as gifts in the world, who each have a purpose.
What other themes do you think would make a great classroom or community quilt?
In response to the gate writing prompt.