Sunday, 25 August 2019

In this school, we will giggle!

Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash

I heard a great interview on Focus on the Family with a creative and joyful blogger, author and speaker, Courtney DeFeo, who has written “In This House, We Will Giggle”. (Yes - you can buy it at Koorong – and today there were two copies at the Woolloongabba store!)

The interview got me thinking about our schools and classes and I thought we might be able to use this book and some of its ideas in Chapel. I am thinking of younger students – but you could definitely make this work with older students.
Courtney has written a book with 12 chapters and each chapter is based on a VIRTUE! Those of you who know me, know my passion for Character Education – so I loved the idea of this book.
In the introduction to this delightful book, it reads, “According to Oxford Dictionaries online, a virtue is a ‘quality considered morally good or desirable in a person’. So our goal is to teach our children a core set of traits that we value most and desire to see them live out daily ... such as love, generosity, service, and responsibility.” The idea is that the hearts of children will reflect the character of Christ.
              January – Joy
              February – Love
              March – Forgiveness
              May – Patience
June – Perseverance
July – Respect
August – Responsibility
September – Service
October – Humility
November – Gratitude
              December – Generosity
There are plenty of ideas that might work better in the home or the classroom – but there are also some great ideas for Chapel. One is the “Catch Phrases”.
Joy is a choice every day.
Jesus Christ is the source of my joy.
I have delight in my soul because I am a child of God.
Let’s praise Him in all things, even when things don’t go our way.
Great friends do not steal you joy: they celebrate others (even when life doesn’t go our way).
Image by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

One idea that Courtney talked about in the interview was the difference between joy and happiness. Great topic to discuss! The Bible says little about happiness but a lot about joy!
Do we confuse joy with happiness? Here is an article that might help. 
“Joy should be a constant companion. If someone tells you they are always happy, be skeptical. Because everyone faces unpleasant situations in life. But inner joy is a quality that is not dependent on outward circumstances. So we are told to, “Be joyful always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
 Joy is not defined by circumstances. If someone told you, “Be happy, no matter what happens,” would you agree? And yet the Bible instructs us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
 Joy is dictated by our faith and trust in God. Another passage, also written by the apostle Paul, who was no stranger to adversity, declares joy a byproduct of growing faith in God. “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God… we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope…” (Romans 5:2-5).”

What is the difference between Joy and Happiness?

Here is the Jelly Telly take on Joy!

The story of Paul and Silas – the difference between joy and happiness!

If you are looking for a framework – this  very practical yet creative book, "In this House We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love and Laughter a Daily Part of Your Family Life"  could be a way to link religious education and Chapel. It could also be a way to develop a common literacy across your school. Some of the ideas are really more for families – but all the Chaplains and teachers I know are brilliant at adapting resources to suit their own context.
I also love Courtney’s cards – which I think would be perfect to have in your classroom or your office – or a set for every teacher! I saw them online at Proverbs 31 Ministries and they do ship to Australia. I think these would be a fabulous resource for your school.

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