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Hangman vs. Build-a-Man

by Tonja Taylor  
1/14/2020 / Education

Jude 1:20 says, "But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit;"

"Okay, class, you can have the last 10 minutes for Free Friday, as a blessing, because you've been really good for me this week," I told my sweet fourth graders. "You've done your work and stayed quiet, overall, and I haven't had to write anyone up. Good job."

"Yay!" some said, and then I heard, "Mrs. Taylor, can we play Hangman on the board?"

I've never liked that name, although the game is fun, especially when drawn on the board for the class. So as I thought about it a few seconds, I believe the LORD gave me an inspiration to make it more positive.

"Yes, you can," I said, "but let's rename it. 'Hangman' is a negative term, because that means people die. I don't like that. Let's be postive; let's call it 'Build-a-Man' okay? God says for us to build each other."

As any good Christian teacher can, I took advantage of opportunities to sow seeds about the LORD. 

"Yeah!" said one student. "I like that!" 

I smiled. "Great! Tory, come on up and we'll let you start." 

Tory smiled and came up. He took a marker started to draw the frame for the 'hangman' on the whiteboard, but I stopped him. "Sweetie, we are building a man, right? Just draw something for him to stand on."

Tory erased what he started and drew a box. 

I nodded. "Just right! Good," I said. 

He thought of a word and drew the blanks for each letter, then started calling on students. 

Every time they guessed correctly, he added another part of the man. His word was not guessed, so he actually built the entire man--and even added hair, and glasses, and a belt. It was humorous. 

Finally, someone guessed the word. 

"All right, class, good job," I said. "Now, don't you like 'Build-a-Man' better?"

Most of them nodded or said, "Yeah!" and I smiled, knowing God had worked. It may seem a small thing, but to me, it was a move toward greater spiritual and emotional health for my students; another victory--turning darkness into light, changing death into life! 

From then on, the kids remembered to play "Build-a-Man" and, I believe, have enjoyed it even more!


Tonja K. Taylor is the author of many works, including THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCESS PEARL, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! series. She and her husband Clayton minister the Word through teaching, preaching, and the arts, through River Rain (Creative Arts) Ministries (You Tube, God Tube), their church, and beyond.

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