BRINGING THE BIBLE CLOSER TO CHILDREN’S HEARTS
A new season of SAT-7 KIDS’ program Bedtime Stories is in the works with stories written by beloved My School teacher Grace Al Najjar. Grace shares how she hopes to bring the parables of Jesus closer to viewers’ hearts, to comfort children in these difficult times, grow their knowledge of Scripture, and develop their characters.
“The special ingredient of this series of Bedtime Stories is that it goes deeper,” shares Grace Al Najjar, writer of the new stories. “It helps to meet children’s spiritual needs and support their social and emotional development – by teaching them about values; about how Jesus wants us to welcome Him in our hearts and allow Him to shape our characters.”
Just like a child’s bedtime routine, the structure of the revamped Bedtime Stories is simple. In each episode, the Presenter shares a New Testament story, accompanied by a child sitting with her on set. Together, they discuss the story and focus on one main value to take away.
“The aim is to make the stories that Jesus told when He was on earth more applicable for children,” explains Grace. “We want to take them on a journey to the past, to when Jesus taught His disciples using analogies and parables, and we want to help children apply these lessons in practical ways. By simplifying the stories, making them fun and less abstract, we can bring the Bible closer to children’s hearts.”
For example, a classic telling of the Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Builders leads into an explanation of what Jesus means by “wise”, “foolish”, “rock”, and “sand”. Then, the Presenter discusses how the story applies to what children are experiencing today, such as fear created by the pandemic, and how when we build our life on the Rock – on Jesus Christ – we know we will be sustained even through difficult times.
The Presenter then shows children how to give their fears to God by writing them down on pieces of paper and putting them in a jar. “This is a psychology-based method that helps children surrender their worries and not think about them again, knowing that they are in God’s hands,” says Grace. “Any little fear can be placed in the jar: fear of insects, the dark, etcetera.” The Presenter also helps children mindfully identify and label their feelings, explaining that fear, for example, can be felt as discomfort or “butterflies” in the stomach and that this is not a cause for shame.
One driver behind the relaunch of Bedtime Stories is the need to help children who are struggling with anxiety and disrupted sleep due to the many stresses this year has brought. Following the Beirut blast 4 August, 2020, a UNICEF report stated 50 per cent of children showed severe signs of trauma, with symptoms such as anxiety, withdrawal, nightmares and difficulty sleeping. “The program also helps parents to share Bible stories with their children in the evening and apply the practical tips – like putting your fears in a jar – before bedtime to put their children’s worries at ease,” says Grace.
In the broader spectrum, Bedtime Stories is part of SAT-7’s strategy to help children know and learn to trust God and His promises, giving them hope and helping them have a healthy mindset, a strong character and resilience to endure life’s difficulties.
“I want to thank you for the stories you share and for sending three Arabic books to my daughter. She was very happy to receive your gift. We are reading them together.” – a mother to Bedtime Stories with Rita
Bedtime Stories with Rita was originally presented by Rita El-Mounayer and broadcasting on SAT-7 KIDS since 2008. Rita El-Mounayer is now SAT-7 CEO and the new series Bedtime Stories will have a new presenter. Grace Al Najjar is one of SAT-7 ACADEMY’s My School teachers. My School, SAT-7’s on-air primary education program has been broadcasting since 2015.
Grace asks SAT-7 supporters to pray for her and for the new program.
“I pray that I can be faithful to the Word of God while I write these stories, and that God will reach these children through them,” shares Grace. “Everything is changing, and there have been so many crises, but I want children to know that God is the same and His promises never change. I pray that SAT-7 will help them experience this peace.”