Working with preschoolers is something I’ve done for the better part of my life. Living with a preschooler I’ve only done for just over five years. It’s so amazing to see him growing and learning, and I’m realizing that soon I won’t be living with a preschooler any longer. We’re glad and proud as his parents that he knows that God loves him, God made him, and Jesus wants to be his friend forever. And, as he transitions into his elementary-age years we want him to continue to carry the sense of wonder that has been fostered at church and home.
We do several fun things to keep our preschooler’s imagination stimulated. We move his stuffed bunny from place to place while he’s not looking and then watch him search. I dread the day when we reveal the bunny’s antics were really us. Another thing we do is visit unique places on vacation. On our last vacation at The Center for Puppetry Arts, I ran across this quote by Jon Stone who helped create Sesame Street, “Jim didn’t think in terms of boundaries at all the way the rest of us do.” He was speaking about Jim Henson. As I thought about the genius of all things Muppet, I remembered the countless hours I watched Big Bird and Fraggle Rock and laughed at Fozie and the two old guys (no one can remember their names). Never once did I think, hey there are some people walking around under those guys or in costumes. They were real to me. They taught me and entertained me (they still do if I’m honest). The day I realized they were just pieces of foam and cloth was hard because I think I understood I was growing up. What was really happening was that I was becoming aware of the boundaries.
Seeing the way the Muppets were dreamed about and learning about the imagination it took to develop them, it reignited the sense of wonder about friends from an imaginary street. It didn’t break down the boundaries, it just made me see them in a different light. It made me want to engage the next generation with the same type of wonder about a not-so-imaginary place. What are you doing in your home and at your church to re-envision the boundaries of the way we engage preschoolers? We do have boundaries of budget, time, and resources but when you look at them from the perspective of the great message we have, they seem to not matter as much. In fact, we really don’t have any when it comes to the God we serve—it’s all His anyway.
So, think differently about boundaries and I imagine you’ll see what Jesus meant when He said, “All things are possible with God.” I know you’ll engage the hearts of preschoolers who don’t think about the budget, time and resources that went into your large group. They just know that there’s a very real God that loves us. And a very real God that breathed life into flesh and bone. And a very real Jesus that wants to be my friend forever. And His boundaries are limitless.