In the last couple of posts, I have talked about Word Pictures and how effective they can be. Now, let’s look at some word pictures at work in real life. I will start with my own word picture I put together and used on my preschool class that I teach.
I have a couple of students that tend to be pushing physical boundaries mostly without intention to hurt but nevertheless, pushing into someone’s boundary. Talking about boundaries to preschoolers was definitely not going to work. So, after learning about the steps in putting together your own word picture, I decided that this situation called for one. One little boy was pushing, pulling and grabbing one particular friend in the class that was starting to get mad when he pushed into his boundary. Here’s the story I told them:
A Story about a Bubble
There was a little bubble named Blue. He started at a new school and was loving playing with his new friends. But one day as he was playing, a friend came up from behind him and grabbed him. When this friend invaded his space without any thought to how Blue felt, he popped. The little bubble burst. He was mad and hurt because his space around him was invaded and his bubble was broke.
Blue pushed him back and ran. The next day Blue was playing on the playground when this same friend grabbed his arm pulling on him. His bubble burst again because his space around him had been invaded. Everyday Blue’s space kept being invaded and he would burst. He tried pushing the friend away. He tried yelling “stop it”. He even tried biting him and hitting him back but the friend kept invading Blue’s space, breaking his bubble and making him mad.
Blue began to avoid playing with this friend. He would run away from him if he got too close. The friend wasn’t the kind of friend Blue wanted. He didn’t want a friend who would keep invading his space, popping his bubble and making him mad. He would rather play with the other bubbles who were gentle, not wild; who were thoughtful and kind and could control themselves and stay out of his space. He wanted friends who wouldn’t break his bubble.
We are like Blue. We are like a bubble. We each have this invisible space around us and when others push or grab us or even try to give us a hug when we weren’t asked it can make our bubbles pop and make us mad.
God is kind and he wants us to grow and become kind like him. Does God want us breaking others bubbles? No. Does God want us to use our anger and invade the other bubble’s space? No. God wants each of us to learn to not burst bubbles and how to handle our anger if someone bursts our bubble. God also knows we can’t do it on our own and so he gave us the Holy Spirit.
When you choose to believe that Jesus died for your sins and saved you from being separated from God forever; when you choose him; he sends the Holy Spirit to live in you. He lives in us to help us be kind, to help us have self-control, to help us be gentle and a whole lot more.
Are you a bubble who needs God’s help to go from wild to gentle; to from out-of-control to thoughtful and in control? Or are you a bubble who gets angry and pushes back? Are you the bubble that needs God’s help to control your anger, to use gentle words and to seek extra help from an adult if you need it?
Think about what kind of bubble do you want to be and seek God to help you be that kind of bubble; that kind of friend.
An Experiment with Bubbles
All of the kids were engaged with the story including the two particular kids this was targeting. Now, it was time to do an experiment to see if they got it. I told them I was going to blow some bubbles but they would need to have self-control, patience and gentleness. They would need to sit on the carpet in their spots and not reach to try to grab the bubbles, nor stand up. This would take self-control and patience to wait for the bubbles to come near. Lastly, I had them practice gentleness and had them simply hold out there hands palms up, waiting for the bubbles to come to them. Doing all of these things would keep everyone’s bubble from getting popped. We pray first and proceeded with the experiment. They did amazing! They got it and understood so much more about boundaries.
The next day at parent/teacher conferences, this story and activity came up with the parents of the child with the boundary issues. They said, his brother came up behind him and gave him a big bear hug and he proclaimed to him, “You popped my bubble!”. In the days since, this child has been respecting boundaries so much more and has only needed a “remember the bubble story” reminder.
A Couple Other Word Pictures Examples
From Walking in Freedom by Neil T. Anderson & Rich Miller is a word picture that speaks of gaining our freedom in Christ and keeping it. “One victim of incredible atrocities shared this illustration: “It’s like being forced to play a game with an ugly stranger in my own home. I kept losing and wanted to quit, but the ugly stranger wouldn’t let me. Finally I called the police (a higher authority), and they came and escorted the stranger out. He knocked on the door trying to regain entry, but this time I recognized his voice and didn’t let him in.”
In the book titled Under Cover by John Bevere, he is explaining how if believers live by the cultural mind-set towards authority, they will “be at best ineffective and at worst positioned for danger. He goes on to say, “Our provision as well as protection could be blocked or even cut off as we disconnect ourselves from the Source of true life. It could be likened to playing baseball in life while God is directing a football championship. We could compare it to attempting the use of an electric appliance without plugging it into the power source.
We can find word pictures over and over again in books of all kinds. They truly can be very effective at getting your point across and letting it really sink in. In writing a book, you have the advantage of planning and re-working the wording to be just right. It’s all intention and effort.
If we want to communicate something to someone effectively, it will take that same intention and effort a writer uses along with inspiration and guidance from the one who can help us with all things, our Lord God.
Having trouble in your communication with your spouse, boss, employee, friend, son or daughter or maybe the neighbor next door? Communication isn’t going to magically come upon you, it has to be cultivated and guided by the Holy Spirit. He will help you build up that communication tool belt with the knowledge and skills needed, along with the wisdom and character to use them. Seek what you need now.