This weekend we were making snowflakes out of paper. My kids love to do this activity and so do I! When I opened up one of the snowflakes I noticed I had made a cross in the center. As I sat there and admired it’s beauty, I couldn’t believe what a powerful meaning this craft held. Most of us have probably experienced times when we’ve felt like our life is like a snowstorm. Whether it be a major or minor storm, where do we turn? Christ is like the Eye of a storm, a Calmness in the center, just like my snowflake. If we rely upon Him, He will be in the center, protecting us when everything else is chaos.
It was like God was speaking to me with this craft, because the night before I had attended a presentation by Dr. Philip Mamalakis who wrote, “Parenting Toward the Kingdom.” If you have not read his book I HIGHLY recommend it! Dr. Mamalakis talked about the three youths in the fire from Daniel 3. A ruler wanted everyone to worship an idol or else they’d be thrown into a fire. Three men refused to worship it because they believed in God. They said that God would be with them in the fire and they had nothing to fear. After the men were bound and thrown into the fire, the king looked down into the furnace and saw FOUR men. He said, “Look! I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (NKJV, v. 25). The ruler was astonished. He allowed the men to come out, and he believed in God.
This is a beautiful example of our lives as parents. Our kids do things and sometimes we may feel like we are in the middle of a snowstorm (or fire). Dr. Mamalakis said that we should be like Christ and join our children in the fire. No, this does not mean you should join in a tantrum when they do! 🙂 It means communicating with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). With prayer and practicing being calm (not reacting with anger, but calmly responding to behavior) we are joining our kids in the fire. We have the opportunity to model the behavior we hope they will have when they’re adults.
When the youth were in the fire, Christ joined them and did not put the fire out. What changed was that the fire no longer affected them. Our kids will continue to misbehave, because they are learning about the world. How can we not let it affect us so that we respond instead of react with frustration? Dr Mamalakis said to stop, breathe and pray before doing or saying anything. Once you feel calm you are better able to respond. I think it is also helpful to think ahead and come up with a plan for when your child does something they do often. Figure out the words to say when you are actually calm. Rehearse it in your mind so it’s easier to have a loving response.
It all sounds great but you might be thinking, “Does this mean I let my kids do whatever he or she wants?” Short answer: no. Dr. Mamalakis says that our goal is to be “strict on the behavior but lenient with their feelings.” This means that they still receive a consequence if they make a mistake. We have to be consistent and firm with our rules. Being lenient with their feelings is communicating that we acknowledge their feelings or struggle, but because we want them to learn and grow, the behavior still needs a consequence. When we do this, we are showing our children that we love them no matter what, even though the behavior they chose is not okay. Isn’t this the example of love that Christ has set for us on the cross? That while the thief made many poor choices, Christ still forgave him and showed him love.
What will you do this week to remind yourself to focus on Christ during your child’s misbehaviors (“snowstorms”)? I have an idea!! You could make a snowflake cross like I did and hang it up!
Make Your Own Snowflake Cross
I loved this visual so much that I wanted to show you how you can make some snowflakes of your own that have the cross in the center. This is a wonderful activity to work on together with your kids and discuss how you can make Christ the focus of your life at home, school or wherever you go.
First, you will need a square piece of paper. If you do not have one don’t worry! It’s easy to make. Fold a rectangle piece of paper into a triangle. I take the bottom right corner up the top of the paper. You will line up the right side of the paper with the top of the paper. Make sure the sides line up perfectly and lightly crease.
You will get this shape. See the rectangle where I wrote, “Cut off?” This area we are going to discard.
You could cut it with scissors but I like to tear it, because I can never cut it straight enough! 🙂 I like to fold the rectangle up, crease a few times and then fold it back and crease a few more times. If you make a nice crease, it should rip off easily.
Open it up. It should be a square.
Take the corner with the star on it and fold it up to the top left to make a triangle. Crease it.
You will fold it again. I drew a star and a dot on my triangles to help you see how I’m folding the paper. Take the star at the bottom of my triangle and fold it up so that the star and dot touch each other. Make one more fold like you just did. You should have made 3 folds – #1 turn the square into a triangle #2 fold the triangle #3 fold the triangle again. This is important, because if you have too many or not enough folds, it will not make a cross.
Now for the FUN part!! Let’s start with making the cross. Make sure the folded side (side with the crease) is on the left. You will go close to the bottom and make a cut up. And another cut straight across. I have colored the area in red that you need to cut out. If you are doing this craft with children, you may want to color in the areas you want them to cut out like I did.
Unfold the snowflake and see if it made a cross. Now fold the snowflake back up so you can make some more cuts.
I put some dashes on the snowflake to designate the area underneath as a no cut zone. Until you’ve practiced making the cross a few times, do not cut below here or it might mess up the shape of the cross. I cut out a section in between the two top corners of the triangle. I do this to make the longer and shorter arms of the snowflake.
Now you can make triangle cuts along the arms.
Open up the snowflake for the big reveal….
Isn’t it gorgeous?! Try making different sizes and all types of designs. If you make these, please post a pic to my Facebook page. I would LOVE to see your beautiful creation! Pray as you make the cuts that God will guide you and your family through the snowstorms of life.