Year 2: January 26, 2020
The Princess and the Fog by Lloyd Jones
(Written for ages 5-7)
Forget me Not by Ellie Terry
(Written for ages 10 and up)
Comment: The story of Jesus encountering the “Gerasene Demoniac” grants us an opportunity to talk with children about mental health issues. You might suggest to kids that some people are hurting on ways we can see on the outside (a cut, bruise, or symptoms of sickness). Other people are hurting on the inside, and we can’t always see those signs (a heart condition, cancer, or mental illness). It’s important to humanize the man Jesus encounters, shifting the focus from his possession to his personhood. This story can be scary; the man can be presented as a monster. Instead, we can highlight how Jesus encounters this man as a person, seeing past the scars and the yelling. It is difficult to find nooks for young children that focus on mental illnesses similar to what this man is experiencing, but Jones’ book offers a depiction of how depression affects people, making them act in ways that are frightening or unexpected. Terry’s book, for older children, focuses on a middle-schooler with Tourette’s syndrome who moves to a new school. The author uses her personal experience with this diagnosis to bring fresh insight into the experience. This book will help older children to recognize the humanity of individuals struggling with mental illness. We can talk with children about how Jesus May have had to overcome some fear to encounter this man so closely, and how God calls us to put aside our fears in order to help others.
Thanks to Joshua Andrzejewski, Union Presbyterian Seminary alumnus and chaplain for the pediatric and women’s health units in the VCU Medical Center, for writing the Year 2 Narrative Lectionary Links.