David C Cook COVID-19 Response

High School

In Dependence

Lesson 5 


Winter 2021-22


By: RLD Editorial Team 


January 02, 2022

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Lesson Focus:

Healthy growth includes independence and dependence.

Bible Basis:

Luke 2:42-52

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access

Summary & Links:

Students will consider how all living creatures grow and learn as we move on from our family of origin to greater independence.

Memory Verse:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of
knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and
discipline. Listen, my son, to your father’s
instruction and do not forsake
your mother’s teaching.
—Proverbs 1:7-8

Step 1:

Students will consider how all living creatures grow and learn as we move on from our family of origin to greater independence.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access

Over the years, BBC has produced a number of animal documentaries, offering us an incredible inside look at the natural world. When we get a glimpse into the lives of animal families, we may be surprised to find moments we can relate to. But, just like us, young animals have to rely on their parents for food and protection, and follow their lead to learn the necessary life skills for growing up and surviving independently. In the video we’re about to watch, we’ll see how this baby elephant depends on its mother and herd.  

Play the following video [3:49].
Curious Baby Elephant’s First Water Trip | The Long Walk Home | BBC Earth

  • How are the ways the young elephant grows and learns similar or different to your own development? (The young elephant must be guided by their parent and other adult elephants, as its eyes and legs and trunk develop. They rely on these adults for food and protection. They learn life skills by following the example of the herd and through practice. Our own journey from infancy to adulthood will take longer than the elephant’s, and we may be more likely to venture out on our own than stick nearby family forever.)
  • In what areas of life are you currently most dependent on the adults in your life? (Accept all reasonable answers. Most students will be financially dependent on their parents meaning their food, clothing, housing and other basic needs are provided by the parents. Students will also live according to their parents’ rules, and may also be dependent on their permission, transportation, etc.)
  • In what areas of life are you currently most independent? (Accept all reasonable answers. Answers might include managing their time; making major and minor decisions; the ability to drive, work, or even vote; being capable of making meals; cleaning up after themselves; etc.)
  • What are the challenges of navigating the mix of dependence and independence in this stage of life? (Accept all reasonable answers. Many high schoolers will crave more independence for their freedoms, but of course that also comes with responsibility. There may be a gratefulness for parents’ provision but tension living in their parents’ home while they are developing their own sense of self.) 

In life, we grow to become independent, but it is also healthy to have people in our lives we can depend on. In our faith, we move from following the faith of our family to choosing our faith for ourselves, but the Christian faith also involves a healthy reliance on God. Today we’ll learn more about this from Jesus’ example in His adolescent years.

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • Index cards
  • Pens/pencils

If your class is meeting online, invite students to bring pens/pencils with them to class.

  • Would those who know you describe you as dependable? Why or why not? (Answers will vary. Dependable students will be known by their parents, friends, and teachers as a reliable person whom they can trust to show up, take on responsibility, and follow through with commitments.)
  • Who are the most dependable people in your life—those you can always count on? What characteristics show you that they are dependable? (Answers will vary. Students will know that they can depend on friends and family members who show up; keep promises; stick with them in hard times; and may demonstrate wisdom, kindness, honesty, or patience.)

Even more dependable than our friends and family, God is with us always, loves us immensely, knows us completely, and can provide for our needs.  Even as we grow more independent as people and more mature in our faith, we can always rely on God. God can give us clearer vision, bigger hearts, and bolder steps. God invites us into His plan and goes with us along the way.

  • In what way do you currently need guidance or support (like a newborn elephant adjusting to its eyes and legs)? (Accept all reasonable answers, if students are willing to share. General concerns might relate to post-high-school plans, boundaries in relationships, knowing when and how to speak up, discernment regarding media consumed, how to have a “quiet time” with God, social pressures, anxiety, etc.) 
  • What would it look like to “depend on God” in the area you’ve just named? (Accept all reasonable answers. Depending on God may look like letting something go or starting something up. It may mean doing something hard or scary or being vulnerable or imperfect. It may involve prayer. In many situations, depending on God can mean bringing others in for their prayers, advice, encouragements, accountability, counseling, etc.)

These days we also depend on our phones for so much! A smartphone acts as a camera, a book, a calendar, a social connection, a game console, a TV, a notebook, a clock, and more. Today, if you have it with you, write yourself a note or a reminder on your phone. Based on the conversation we’ve just had, write down one way you will depend on God this week and one reason you know that God is dependable.

Make sure you see your note or reminder every day this week. If you don’t have a phone or don’t have one with you just now, write it on an index card and think about where you’ll post it so that you’ll see it every day. Whatever this new year brings, remember you won’t have to go it alone because you can depend on God.

Close in prayer.

Spread the word

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