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Those Juniors, Part 36: Windows

by Eric B. Hare

Last week: Without the correct steps, a teacher may miss a vital opportunity of applying the lesson to his students, and thus not fulfill the extent of the good he may do for the children in his care. God wants us to be “better men (and women).”

Of Jesus’ teaching we read, “Without a parable spake He not unto them,”1 and the reason is very evident. In His congregations were those who had eyes but did not see; and who had ears but did not hear. The ears of some were stopped with ignorance; the ears of others were stopped with bigotry. Jesus said, “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”2

The inference is clear, whether their ears were closed from ignorance or by bigotry. The story was the most likely form of discourse to bring enlightenment to their hearts.

Illustrations are like windows in a house. They are not the house, but they let in the light so that we can see the beauty of the house. Illustrations are like the scaffolding used to build a cathedral. The scaffolding is not the cathedral, but by it the workmen are enabled to lift stone upon stone, block upon block, till at last you can take the scaffolding away, and the cathedral stands forever grand and glorious.

In the same way illustrations help to build truth that shall stand forever.

Illustrations That Appeal to the Eye
We have heard it said that a child remembers ten per cent of what he hears, fifty per cent of what he sees, seventy per cent of what he says, and ninety per cent of what he does. However accurate these figures may be, we can all tell from personal experience that we remember far more of what we see and do than of what we hear. Therefore, there is a very real place in the equipment of the junior worker for illustrations that appeal to the eye and the hand—curios, pictures, flash cards, maps, charts, the sand tray, blackboard work, chalk talks, flannel-graph, and object lessons of all kinds. Just watch my boys and girls as I begin to put something on the board. They are quiet; I have their spontaneous attention. But watch their little bodies as they twist and turn to get a better view. What a rest it gives them as they innocently stretch their little arms and legs without the least confusion.

Watch the same reaction as I extract nicotine from a cigarette or cook an egg in whisky. It rests them; it rests me. It so painlessly demands their attention. But, best of all, it illustrates, and they remember. Maybe the newest of these eye-appeal devices is the flannel-graph. It is built on the fact that fuzzy surfaces adhere to each other. A slightly reclining background, as large as a blackboard, is covered with outing flannel, then figures of people, trees, animals, and houses are cut from magazines or Picture Rolls, and outing flannel is pasted to the back of them. Then as the characters and the scenery come into the story, they are placed into position, and there they stay. Thus the whole lesson comes to life and lives in a picture made while the children watch. More elaborate backgrounds and figures already grouped for the lesson may be obtained from several flannel-graph agents.3

Illustrations That Appeal to the Hand
Many of the objects that appeal to the eye can also be used to appeal to the hand. For younger pupils scrap- books and color sets keep little fingers busy and interested for a few minutes. In classes of older students the objects can be placed in the sand tray by the pupils themselves, or each one can be given a flannel-graph character and be permitted to place it in the group at just the right time in the story. In each case the interest appeal is doubled. Projects such as maps and models can be made by pupils at home and brought to Sabbath school.

To this class also belongs an endless variety of demonstrations in which the children take part. To illustrate serving the Lord with all your heart and soul and strength and mind, can you imagine anything more vivid and thrilling than to call for a little boy, measure his biceps with a tape measure to see how much strength he has, then have him measure yours? Then measure around his head to see how much mind he has, and let him measure yours.

Some time ago I walked into a junior tent at camp meeting where three hundred juniors sat breathless and spellbound. The lesson was on influence. The leader had a bicycle wheel with the axle protruding on each side so it could be held firmly with the hands. On the floor was a small platform that could revolve on ball bearings. A boy was called up, placed on the platform, and the bicycle wheel put in his hands. The leader set the wheel in motion with a few smart shoves, then told the boy to turn the wheel to a horizontal position. It was very, very difficult to do, but as the wheel began to recline, the boy began to go around on the revolving base. “Turn the wheel upright again,” said the leader, and the boy stopped revolving. “Turn it to the horizontal in the other direction this time,” said the leader, and the boy revolved in the opposite direction. Another boy and another tried it. The lesson was drawn and applied, and every one of those three hundred breathless juniors will remember that lesson for a long, long time. But the boys who took part will remember it as long as they live.

Illustrations That Appeal to the Ear
This group of illustrations includes the songs and finger plays of the little folks, analogies, parables, and stories. Their great advantage over the eye-and-hand groups is that they require no equipment—there is no apparatus to carry around. Parables and stories both owe their value as illustrations to the spiritual application that can be drawn from them. A study of their derivation possibly throws some light on their essential difference. “Parable” comes from the Latin words para (beside) and ballein (to throw). “Story” comes from the Latin historia (history). A parable is a story, but one that is so common, so general, that we do not need to know the name and date. The sower who went forth to sow was one of thousands who were doing the same thing everywhere. A story is the experience of one certain individual, and it requires a name and a place to give it authenticity. There was only one Private First Class Doss. And there is only one story of the Bible-reading hero of Okinawa.

Filing Stories. Since stories are histories, we strongly recommend the practice of filing them away after clipping them or making notes on them. There are several kinds of files; some teachers have files as complex as a library card file system. Other teachers have the “fish pool” variety—a box where all clippings are put, and where you may spend hours looking for what you want. But a very simple file, combining the good points of both, can be made with ordinary Manila letter files, arranged alphabetically according to themes. Here is a suggestive list to start with; others can be added, as you need them: Angel, Bible, Book, Christ, Christmas, Cradle Roll, Duty, Faithfulness, Friendship, God’s Providences, Home, Health, Juniors, Kindness, Kindergarten, Love, Mother, Missions, New Year’s, Obedience, Prayer, Sacrifice, Service, Success, Temperance, Thanksgiving, Work, Youth.

To make this file, as you read The Youth’s Instructor, Review and Herald, or Our Little Friend, and find a story that interests you, you write beside it the most prominent theme and the name and date of the paper; then cut it out and file it away. If you find a good illustration in a book, make an outline of the story, giving the theme, name of the story, the book, author, and page; then file this information as you would a clipping. Here is a sample of a story outline prepared for filing:

The Apron String
The Christ, the Church, the Child, Carey Bonner, page 161. Mother—little boy—very busy—tied string around his waist, and on to apron string. When he tumbled down, mother pulled him up by apron string. Grew till he could see out of window. Tried to go out; apron string stopped him. “How strong is mother’s apron string.”—Grew —one day door open—boy walked right out— string broke. “How weak is mother’s apron string.” Out into world—up—up. One day stood on side of precipice—dizzy—fell—caught— looked up—mother’s apron string caught on a bush. Pulled himself back to safety. “How strong is mother’s apron string.”
It is a beautiful story, but it could be lost and forgotten without a filed outline.

(Next week: “Story-Telling Stratagem, Part 1.”)

1. Matt. 13:34.
2. Matt. 13:13.
3. Story-O-Graph, Box 145, Pasadena, California. David C. Cook Publishing Co., Elgin, Illinois.

Copyright © 1973 by Eric B. Hare. Used by permission

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