Lessons for Life

The Childhood Spiritual Formation Toolbox is a production of Central United Methodist Church Traverse City, in conjunction with the Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church and the Northern Waters District.

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Lessons for Life Toolbox

Churches and families have an opportunity and responsibility to guide faith growth and make it relevant to life.  What can we learn from the people in the Bible about God? How does our faith impact our character? How can faith help us to cope when hard things come our way? This toolbox includes ideas, links, and resources for young people, grown ups who care for them, and congregations. You will find ways to help support faith development for kids with diverse needs and experiences.

For Grown-ups

Equipping You

Not sure where to start? 

  • Learn about trauma, consider your own trauma and how your experience impacts your parenting (resource from NCTSN)
  • Learn about how different ages reaction to a traumatic event (resource from NCTSN)
  • Make a list of “lessons from life” that you want to make sure to talk with your kids about. Take time to think about, resource, or talk with other trusted friends about.

Empowering You

Feeling overwhelmed? 

Encouraging You

You got this! You are enough!

parenting graphic
The Hopeful Family
Helping children with grief button
resources for parents

With Kids


Emotions of Life

Talk about emotions as a family – the fun ones and the hard ones. Use the playlists below as a guide.

Emotions Playlists

Conversations from Sesame Street

With special thanks to Brittany Sky McRay for creating these discussion starters for families

Sesame Street: Coming Together

Celebrate Diversity

Read Genesis 1:1-2:4

Practice the sign for “diversity

Sesame Street: Coming Together

Celebrate Unity with Gabrielle Union

discussion guide

Sesame Street: Coming Together

Showing Fairness with Brett Goldstein

Sesame Street: Coming Together

Good Neighbors are Compassionate

Sesame Street: Elmo’s World


Sesame Street

Mark Ruffalo: Empathy

Congregation Resources


  • Incorporate the joys and hard things of life in sermons, music, children’s messages, prayers, etc.
  • Read children’s books

Supporting Parents & Caregivers

  • Understand the needs and demands of parents and caregivers and ask what they need
  • Provide resources (people, books, articles, etc.) for parents and caregivers

Building Connections to Home

  • Provide a children’s library with books that families can borrow that address lessons of life.
  • Make relevant connections between Bible stories and life and provide resources for families at home.