So DS has been struggling greatly with finding good friends and understanding why it's important. On the way home he was asking me why we were trying a new church and couldn't go back to the old one. The short answer of that without pointing fingers is, churches with unsupervised, undirected Sunday School are a problem.
So when we got home, I took a big bowl of water we tinted blue with food coloring.
Then I took a little clear cup (the top of another bottle) and put 1 drop of red food coloring inside. I told him the blue water was "friends" who didn't have good behavior and weren't nice.
I floated the cup on top and said, "Okay - so if you just see them around and bump into them once in awhile, they don't really affect you, right?" and he said yes.
I said, "Okay, but the more you know them, the deeper in the water you go" and I kept pushing it down until the water spilled into the cup and turned the cup's liquid purple but not far enough for it to leak the red out and I said, "So, what happened to you?"
He said, "They turned me purple."
I said, "Right, they affected who YOU are by their actions."
Then I poured out the purple and said, "Do you see any red in the water? Did you change them or did they just change you?" and he said it hadn't changed.
So I rinsed out the cup and put in a few drops of yellow food coloring and a bit of water so it looked yellow instead of orange and I floated it again and said, "Okay - now let's pretend that the blue water is your good Christian friends with good manners and who are kind to you."
I started to push it down talking about him being friends with them and kept pushing until the cup was at the bottom and had overflowed with first them turning him green and then him turning them green. I explained how they helped him and he helped them to become better because they enhanced each other instead of turning each other murky. He got all excited and got the point that by surrounding himself with good friends he's helping them and they're helping him.
but that wasn't the best part...
The BEST was the accidental lesson afterward!!!
So I poured the green water into the tub because J3 was going to take a shower.
and turned on the shower and he looked in and said, "The water is turning the green clear."
I said, "Okay - so think of the water like Jesus washing the sins away" and went back to what I was doing totally oblivous and shut the shower curtain while I got him ready to get cleaned up.
I'm heading out of the bathroom and he pulls the curtain aside to get in the tub and says, "Mom!!!! LOOK!!!! JESUS WINS!!!!"