Have you ever talked to a baby who is just learning words? You say a word, and she repeats you, over and over again. Although adults often get tired of repeating themselves, children thrive with repetition. Of course, this is true when children are learning to speak, but it continues as they learn more complicated things like Bible stories.
This past Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday. I was reminded of what happened at our house a few years ago following this special day. Our daughter, Julia, was about 4. This is how the story of Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem (and the repetition of that story) impacted her.
Palm Sunday is a special, celebratory day commemorates Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem. So, in church we introduced a new song to our Preschoolers. It is sung by Yancy and Friends and is entitled “Hosanna Rock.” Preschoolers love the catchy song and continue to sing it long after the song is over. I heard our daughter, Julia, singing the song one day and asked if she knew what Hosanna meant. She did not, so I used a teachable moment to explain Jesus’s Triumphal Entry and explained that the people shouted “Hosanna” to say that they thought Jesus was the one to save them.
For the next few weeks, we talked about Hosanna and shared the story a few times. We talked about the palm branches used to greet Jesus and even pointed out palm trees we saw in our community. Julia even “taught” me the story a few times!
One day I was trimming bushes and had branches lying in the grass. Our daughter grabbed some branches and laid them on the sidewalk in front of our home. Then she began to wave her pretend palm branch and act out the story! Check out the video at the link below:
As you can imagine, Palm Sunday was a great success at church, and the Preschoolers continue to enjoy the “Hosanna” song. They eagerly raise their voices each Sunday.
Weeks later, our daughter asked our older son how to spell “Hosanna.” She didn’t ask how to write “Barbie” or even a special friend’s name. Hosanna was on her mind, and Hosanna was what she wrote.
Repetition is good! It is a natural part of teaching and of learning. So, read that Bible story one more time. Allow your child to pray a similar prayer until she is brave enough to add another prayer to her repertoire. Explain things about God to your children again and again. For when we repeat, they learn.