Family Guide: April 19

Family Guide: April 19

Note for parents

Today’s sermon topic is depression – not exactly an easy one to walk kids through. But because children (at a rate of 1 in 10) also struggle with depression, this is not just an adult topic. We wanted to make you aware of…

  • … a brief mention of suicidal thoughts in today’s sermon (although the words “suicide” or “kill yourself” are purposefully not used). Allen will address those who are considering self-harm after the Marion Conover video, in the beginning of the sermon. 
  • 1 Kings 19 gives a very frank account of Elijah’s bout with depression, loneliness and fear. If you or your child are struggling with depression, this sermon is not to be used as a replacement for professional counseling. Please let us know if we can help recommend or refer you to a licensed therapist for you, your child or your family.


Below are some great articles that will help you talk to your kids about depression and even suicide.

Just for fun

See if you can answer these questions while you participate in online services

  • What was your favorite song Corey and the worship team sang today? Why was it your favorite? 
  • What’s the first Bible verse the minister says?

After the sermon

  • Allen said in his message that he was having a hard time working from home during this stay at home order. What are some things that you have found difficult during this time? 
  • In the message, we talked about two places where Elijah went when he was depressed, can you remember them? (the wilderness and the cave)
  • What does HALT stand for? (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)
  • What kind of decisions do you make when you are one or more of those things? (bad, destructive, impulse… Maybe have then give examples of bad choices they have made when they were one of these)

Allen said “God is just as present in your struggle as He is in your success.” God does not leave us even when we feel like we are alone. He is with is us in the good and the bad.

Later this week 

An idea from Allen:

Something my family started a couple years back was a fun, interactive tool called the Engine Plate. It’s a simple craft that will have a lasting impact on your family’s ability to talk about their feelings and faith. I would encourage this for families with young children but also encourage the whole family to participate (we even have an engine plate for the dog!). This Engine Plate will be helpful with all of the topics in this sermon series. 

Here’s how it works 

Step One: Make the Engine Plate.

  • Gather supplies: paper plates, markers, brads, and black construction paper.
    • For younger kids, you might help them draw outlines and let them color and cut (with supervision). 
  • Make your Engine Plates. This can be really fun and you can get as creative as you like. I’ve added a picture of mine. 

Step Two: Explain the Colors and Emotions.

Pick a time your child is calm, rested and fed to explain to them about how engine plates work. Tell them that your body is like an engine.

    • You are feeling super super HYPER, out of control.
    • You might be ANGRY. You might feel so mad like you could punch something or like you might explode. Your fists might feel tight, all the muscles in your body might feel tight.
    • You might be Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
    • You are starting to lose control of your body and actions. 
    • You are starting to feel hungry, angry, lonely or tired. 
    • You feel just right. You feel calm, relaxed, ready to learn and able to concentrate.
    • Your tummy is fed, you have gotten the right amount of sleep, and you have had ample time to play.
    • The muscles in your body feel loose and relaxed and you feel happy
  • BLUE: SAD/TIRED (Maybe even Depressed)
    • You may be feeling tired.
    • You may be feeling lonely, sad, or worried.
    • You may be hungry and feel so weak that you feel like laying down.

We put a list of things that calm us down on the back of our plates. Deep breaths, saying a memorized prayer or bible verse, hugs, a snack or a bath are common things that are used in our household.

Step Three: Keep the Plates Accessible. Use Them Regularly.

Keep engine plates in the areas of your home that you are in most often, maybe on the refrigerator or on the kitchen table. Throughout the day, take your child to their engine plate and ask them to examine where they think their engine might be at. We ask our 5 year old daily, “Hey buddy, how’s your engine?”

What does this have to do with Jesus?!

I know what some of you are thinking: Isn’t this church? Isn’t my child supposed to be learning about Jesus here!? If you have ever been in a room full of dysregulated children (RED), you know there is no teaching them about anything…especially Jesus! 

Our spiritual growth is tied to our physical and mental growth. Being able to talk about our feelings openly helps us have real conversations, whether spiritual or otherwise. This Engine Plate tool is just that, a tool. It helps us, in a fun way, to get to the source of what is causing out behaviors. It helps us pinpoint how we are feeling and why.  Additionally, this gives us words (red, yellow, green, blue) to feelings or emotions that we might not have vocalized. 

When we come to Jesus, He wants all of us: our heart (passions), soul (spirit), mind (thoughts) and strength (physical actions). If one or more of these are out of whack, we can’t give Jesus everything. I hope this tool can help your family understand the emotions you are feeling, and start talking about how Jesus redeems and loves us no matter what color our engine is. 

Remember Philippians 4:8 – 

“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

That may even be the perfect verse to jot on the back of all of our engine plates!