NOTE: This lesson deals with death. If anyone in your class has been touched by this subject recently, you will know best how to handle this sensitive issue.
As students join your group today, ask volunteers to share why they are glad they are alive today. If possible, answer this question as a large group. Come up with a reason yourself about why you are glad you are alive today. Share that answer with the large group to start and, if possible, call on other adult staff members or adult volunteers to share their answers as well.
Death is always headlining the news in one form or another. Whether it’s a pandemic, a shooting, or a helicopter crash—we can’t escape it. Death is inevitable but being thankful for each day is one way we can keep our focus positive rather than becoming depressed or fearful.
Tell your class that if anyone is grappling with a recent death in the family or struggling with a terminally sick loved one, friend, grandparent, parent, or relative to be sure to meet with you after class so you can pray and talk together. Assure them that they don’t have to face this alone.
In January, the world was shocked to hear about the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter. Kobe was an NBA all-star who spent his time after retiring from basketball mentoring young people and storytelling through books and short films.
Share the following video with your students [3:19]:
Kobe Bryant death: Tributes pour in amid chopper crash investigation
Although everyone emphasized and expressed grief over Kobe Bryant as the most recognizable victim of the crash, all of the nine victims who died were mourned. Three 13-year-old girls were among those who died: Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli, and Payton Chester.
- Why does it seem so sad and shocking when someone that young dies? (Answers will vary but will probably include that they didn’t have a chance to really live yet. The grief their family and friends are experiencing is overwhelming since death was so unexpected.)
Kobe and the other people onboard were on their way to a charity event working with underprivileged children when the crash occurred. They weren’t death-defying thrill seekers or people who threw caution to the wind.
- What questions do people usually express in situations like this? (Allow students to voice questions without trying to find answers to them. Some may express why good people have to die while evil people often don’t or why the three girls had to die so young.)
- After watching this video, why do you think it is important for all of us to be ready to die? (Answers might include that we never know when something like this might happen. We may not all live until we are old, etc.)
Today’s lesson isn’t meant to scare you or to make you upset. Death, however, is inevitable for everyone who lives. Unless Jesus’ return to earth precedes our death, all of us in this group will die someday. But death is not the end! In fact, it’s just the beginning…
Mothers, daughters, fathers, coaches: Here are the 9 killed in the Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash