Perhaps you read my post on Bringing Children to Church, and the difficulty of helping these little (ahem) saints-in-the-making to engage in the Mass, at their level, and without un-engaging everyone around them!
These Church Bags have been the brainstorm of several years now, and they are bursting with “reverent” fun, responsibility, and cashing in on the psychological association of sweets and memory (no judging here).
When Grandma brought us her yearly stash of freebies from the senior club, I set aside these two lunch bags for greater aspirations than the landfill.
First, I painted over the front pockets with sponsor logos, using acrylic paint.
I then have to give myself some creativity kudos for the clever idea of using one of the boys’ little toy trucks for tire tracks.
I painted the front rubber tires of the truck and rolled it along the painted pocket of the bag.
I then used type font stamps to add the boys names to the bags.
Finally, I added “Follows Jesus” in between the tire tracks. Get it? “Follows,” as in following in someone’s tracks! Come on 🙂
What’s inside, you ask? Well, allow me to give you a taste of what’s in our Church Bags:
- Blank notebook and writing utensil (entertaining, quiet, simple)
- Book (preferably one with a Bible story or biblical theme)
- Patron Saint (don’t leave home without them – Saintly Silver)
- Saint trading cards (it’s a real thing)
- Something SWEET! Okay, so here is the psychology on the “something sweet.” There are clearly strong connections between taste and memory. In fact, some countries even gauge the sweetness of the coffee served, depending on the occasion or event (wedding vs funeral). I would be remiss not to say that I still get excited for doughnut Sunday. In fact, after hearing the story of a priest, who fondly recalled his dad taking them out for doughnuts every “well-behaved” Sunday, the wheels started churning. I decided to add a sweet treat to the bag. HOWEVER, this treat may only be consumed when we get back from communion, and if behavior warrants! So, yes, they do know it’s there for 45 mins of the hour, and yes, they do need to practice the self control not to eat it before then. Cruel, you say? Well, just think about it in light of Communion. When we are in the state of grace, we are welcomed to participate in the heavenly banquet of the lamb, consuming the sweetness of the sacrifice. Likewise, there is no mistake in the timing of when my kids can partake in their own sweet treat. (Here’s hoping this connection between taste and memory never leaves them!)
Final Point – These bags ONLY come out for church. The things inside are special and may only be used for the time that we are at Mass.
Think about it: what items would you include in church bags for your young children?
Copyright 2015 Kimberly Cook.
All photos copyright 2015 Kimberly Cook. All rights reserved.