We've been learning about wisdom this year in Sunday School. Today we started with James. The lesson was short; it was just an introduction to the book. As such, I decided to plan an activity to reinforce what we have been learning.
I brought 8 small boxes with me, hid 2 of them in the room, and scattered the other 6 around the room, in the open. I told them that they had to find the boxes that I had hidden. Once they found a box, they had to bring it back to the table without opening it. Then I sent them off to find the hidden boxes.
The first 6 boxes were quickly snatched up and brought back to the table, leaving 3 people still searching (I didn't know how many students there would be). One of them got close to the box and asked if he was looking in the right place; I told him yes and he soon found the box. At the same time, I was reminding them that we were learning about wisdom, and asking what they should do if they can't find wisdom. One of the quicker students started yelling that they should ask where the box was hidden. One of the remaining searchers asked, "Can you tell me where the box it?" to which I replied, "Yes. Yes I can." I suggested that he try working on his questioning and he looked perplexed. The other student asked if I would please tell her where the box was hidden, so I pointed her in the right direction. Finally, all the boxes were found and I let them open the boxes.
The 6 boxes that weren't hidden held random stuff that I found around my apartment. The other 2 had a note that told them to ask me for a prize (which they did).
Our discussion: First, to gain wisdom, you need to listen carefully. They were supposed to look for the hidden boxes (I emphasized that three times when giving the directions), not the ones that were out in the open. Also, just grabbing whatever passes for wisdom won't necessarily bring wisdom; rather, it might just be garbage. You need to seek wisdom like you seek a jewel. Finally, you need to be willing to ask for help if you can't find the wisdom you seek, but you need to ask someone who has the wisdom you need (asking the other teacher wouldn't have helped, since she didn't hide the boxes).
We also found some meaning in the stuff I put in the first 6 boxes (although that had been random stuff). One student got a coupon, which looks useful, but was expired: examine "wisdom" carefully. One received a notice about the cleaning of the underground parking lot at my building, which was not useful for him: some wisdom might not be necessary for you, but is good for other people. Another student got the nutritional facts from a package, but not the name of the stuff in the package: some wisdom needs context before it's useful. In all, it was a good discussion.
In the end, they each got a chocolate coin for learning something. The two students who found the hidden boxes, and the one who was still looking at the end, were allowed to pick something out of the prize box (it's just little stuff mostly for the younger students, but they like it too). There was a bit of "that's not fair" but when I asked why not, they had no answer!
It was a good lesson.