Prior to class, purchase a variety of small wrapped candies; the more options the better! Before your preteens arrive, lay the candies out on a platter or a table, etc. where they can easily be viewed, but cover them up so that students cannot see them when they enter the classroom.
Begin the lesson by having your students divide into pairs. Each pair should choose one person to go stand in a designated place in the classroom (ensure that these initial volunteers are far enough away from their partners that they cannot communicate with their partner). Uncover the display of candy, and build excitement by showing the various kinds; assure your students that everyone is going to get a piece to enjoy.
Explain to the initial volunteers that they must choose a piece of candy for their partner, but they cannot talk with their partner before making their choice. They simply have to make the best choice possible. Have each of the initial partners make their choice, and instruct them to go back to their partner and give them the candy. Students receiving the candy should not eat it.
Once the first group of students has made their choices and are sitting with their partners, tell the second group of students that before they select a piece of candy for their partner, they should talk with their partner to find out what kind of candy to get. Have the second group of students make their choices based on the instruction they received from their partners and bring the candy back to their partner. Instruct all students not to eat it their candy yet.
Raise your hand if you are happy with the candy that was chosen for you. (Allow students to respond.) If you are unhappy with the candy you were given, raise your hand. (Allow students to respond.)
- Why is everyone who received their candy second happy with what was chosen for them? (Because their partners knew exactly which candy to choose for them.)
- Some of you who received your candy first are unhappy. Why? (Answers may vary, but might include: my partner didn’t know which candy to choose; I didn’t get to tell my partner which candy I like best.)
- What changed after the first group of students chose their candy? (The second group knew exactly what to pick because they were able to talk with their partner. The first group didn’t get to talk with their partner and just had to make their best guess.)
Being able to talk with your partner and get advice on which candy to pick seemed to be beneficial for some of you. Before you had to make your decision, you were able to get insight and direction to be sure that you made a wise choice.
If feasible, allow unhappy students to trade in their candy for something they’d prefer; invite students to enjoy their candy while you continue the lesson.
We make decisions all day long. Before you arrived at Sunday school this morning, you had already made a number of decisions—what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, what to bring with you to church, whether to wear a coat, which door to use to enter the building, where to sit when you arrived in the classroom. We make countless decisions all day long!
Many of the decisions we make are simple and are made quickly to allow us to move through our day; we are faced with a choice, and we can decide without needing to spend a lot of time in thought. We make a lot of our decisions on our own without needing to rely on others to help us figure out which choice to make.
There are also situations that we encounter that either benefit from or require advice or help from others. Some of those situations can be simple, like with our candy choice this morning—in order to get the right candy for your partner, many of you needed your partner to tell you which candy to choose.
But we can also encounter situations or decisions that are much more challenging than which candy to choose or what to wear. We can face situations that are uncertain, challenges that seem too hard to get through, or difficulties that are scary. It’s in those moments that we find ourselves seeking help from others.
While He was on earth, Jesus faced situations in which He had to make choices that would impact His ministry. Let’s look at what He did to work through a challenging situation.