by Kimber Bailey Scott
Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have for you," announces the Lord. "I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come."
God keeps us safe and even when we're in trouble, He has His own plans for us so we should not be afraid.
Hebrews 13:6 & Psalm 118:6 The Lord helps me. I will not be afraid. What can a mere man do to me?
WHEN YOU GET TO THE AIRPORT
- Grab one of those airline baggage tags and give each of your children one. Let's pretend like it's your ticket to get on the plane. Tell them when going through security, they have to show their ticket to them. Usually the security officers are more than happy to pretend along and "sign" their ticket. The tags are great because they can put it around their wrist.
BEFORE YOU GET ON THE PLANE
- Get to the airport early and after checking in and going through security, walk the airport. This will tire them out and make you very happy on the airplane. Talk about the airplanes. Watch them take off and land. Say the memory verse.
- Get a drink and have a "coffee break." Talk about where you've been and where you're going and why. Say the memory verse.
WHEN YOU BOARD & DURING TAKE OFF
- Right before boarding, talk about the plans you've had and the plans you do have today. Say the memory verse again several times with them and/or sing the song. There are several. Ryan & I know a children's song with the Jeremiah 29:11 verse but I couldn't find that version online. Another kid's version is by The Wonder Kids (100 Bible Verses Every Kid Can Sing and Know) in Itunes or on their website.
- Sit at the back of the plane by a window to be able to see the back of the wings. Some kids like to watch the flaps move when taking off and landing. Talk about how the engineers made plans and designed to build this plane likewise how God made and designed each one of us. How the airline people and the government have rules and plans to keep the airplanes and us safe likewise God keeps us safe too.
- If you see another plane coming before take off, ask them where they think those people have been. Where do you think they are going? The answers could be immediate time or broader. Canaan said that they aren't home and aren't going to work. I asked where to then. He said, "Hawaii!" Do you think we're a little excited about going to Hawaii in two months?! God knows where we've been and where we're going. He'll guide us and help us to get there if we let Him.
- Pray out loud, thanking God for allowing us to have had a great time where we were and now getting to our destination - home or other. Ask God to keep you safe and healthy on the airplane and in the car. Allow them to talk to God if they desire to and encourage them gently if they do not.
- Watch the scenery during take off. Talk about - and make it fun - how God keeps us safe in the sky and through the clouds.
DURING THE FLIGHT
- If you walked enough in the airport (usually at least 45 minutes) before boarding, a newborn to six year old will probably be asleep within 10 minutes of take off. You maybe too :)
- If not, pull out their kid's scissors (yes, security will allow for children's scissors as long as they're rounded.), a sheet of paper (OR the back of the magazine could do), a glue stick and the airline magazine in the seat pocket. Allow them to cut and paste to make a collage of: a happy family going on vacation or at home, what heaven on earth looks like to them, all about airplanes, free form hearts and other shapes (you may have to help), etc.
- Allow them to listen to Faith Comes by Hearing Kidz audio Bible BibleStick (like an ipod)
- Give them an action figure to play with and keep safe during the flight.
- Minister together to someone sitting close to you.
- Just for fun - The fasten seat belt sign has flashed and the plane is about to begin its descent to your destination. You’ll need an empty plastic water bottle. Before the plane descends, open it and then cap the bottle tightly. Place the bottle somewhere the kids can see it. Rub your temples and stare at the bottle as the plane descends. The bottle will be crushed by the time the wheels hit the runway. Stop staring and shake your head as if coming out of a trance. TRICK: What’s going on is that when you sealed the bottle at the high altitude, the pressure on the inside of the bottle was equal to that outside the bottle. But when you moved from high in the atmosphere, where the outside pressure is not as strong, to the bottom of the atmosphere, where the pressure is very strong, the bottle was crushed.
WHEN YOU LAND
- Pray together out loud. DO NOT be afraid. Your kids need to see you pray (with respect - not loud like the Pharisees) in public...and not just when there's food.They need to know that God is #1 in your life and in turn in theirs. Thank Him for the safe trip, for the pilots, etc.
- Talk about where you're going now and the plans you have this week. Say the memory verse again. What plans do you think God might have for us? Talk about being flexible because our plans aren't always God's plans.
You may think that talking about being flexible because our plans aren't always God's plans is too heavy for a 3 year old or other ages but I assure you it's not. The more you talk like this with your kids and not freak out when things don't go as you planned, the more peace you and your children will have when plans change unexpectedly and expectations aren't met.This has been a great lesson even for me and can be for you too! I truly like everything to go the way I've planned and organized for it to go. BUT God's taught me to rely on Him and to still be relaxed and have a good time -- to roll with it happily. Although God's still teaching me to be better with this, each time I travel with the kids, it makes for a much better trip for everyone and yourself when you're calm, able to be flexible and not be high strung even when your baby is crying, the flight's delayed, the plane's a/c is broken, they won't serve snack/drinks because of the turbulence, someone else's kid next to you keeps touching you with their feet, etc. Yes, all of that's happened to Canaan & I and much more. Not only will you enjoy yourself more, but your kid's will too. Also your kids are watching you. They are learning and picking up everything you do because they'll remember more what you do than all the millions of words you say. Be patient and flexible when God allows your plans to change. Also you never know whose watching you and you may be ministering to them by your actions even if you never speak to them. Plant those wonderful seeds in others and in especially in your own children!