This Little Light of Mine…
…is REALLY True?!?!
Pretty much every child who grows up in a Christian/Catholic home has learned the song “This Little Light of Mine” and, with child like faith, they sing it joyfully and believe in it whole heartedly, never questioning it’s actual ‘truth’. What if I told you that it was ACTUALLY true? Yep, scientifically proven and 100% true!!!
I attended the NCCYM (National Catholic Conference for Youth Ministry) in November and one of the Keynote Speakers was Vallimar Jansen. Part of her speech/performance addressed this very thing. She sang “This Little Light of Mine”, had us join her, and then proceeded to tell us how it had actually been scientifically proven. As I sat listening to her in a conference room of 4000 other Youth Ministers and Youth Workers, I knew that this was a Youth Group Topic I wanted to tackle. I jotted down a few thoughts and discussion quesitons as she spoke and finally presented the meeting to the kidz at our meeting this past Sunday night.
~This little light inside all of us
~God is our light and we are his little lights in the world
~How are you a light
~When are you not a light
~Who is a light in your life
~How do you find the light if you’re in darkness
It was a great meeting – Here is how it panned out….
WHAT YOU’LL NEED-
– Enough Light Bulbs for every teen in attendance (I purchased 10 for $3. boxes at a dollar store. REMEMBER- Dollar Store Light Bulbs are not ‘safe’ for use due to not meeting govt codes etc. But, they work for ice breaker and youth group activities just fine!)
– Two Wine Glasses (make sure the lips are small enough to hold a lightbulb steady without falling through…see pictures below)
– A Container of Table Salt with the metal pour spout, not from a salt shaker
– Paper Plates
– 1 Dozen Raw Eggs (Do not use hard boiled, it will not work)
– Pens/Permanent Markers
– Printed out papers with a single broken light bulb picture on it
HOW I RAN THE MEETING-
1) I started with a basic ice breaker. Each teen had a chance to try to balance a light bulb in their FLAT palm for 30 seconds with their fingers together. (make sure palm is totally flat or they must start over) If they were able to do this, have them then spread their fingers open into “Jazz Hands” and see if they can continue to balance the lightbulb. (See above picture)
2) Place a wine glass on a paper plate and place 1 light bulb inside it so that it is centered and standing upright in the glass. (I set up two glasses, each in it’s own plate) MAKE SURE you have this on a flat surface and in an area where if an egg falls outside of the plate, you can easily clean it up.
3) Instruct each teen volunteer to balance an egg on top of the lightbulb using only salt. (You might have to demonstrate for them first) If they succeed with the first one, have them attempt a second while the first egg continues to balance on the first bulb. If you really want to make it interesting, have them attempt it in one minute or less.
***LEADER TIPS– I did not tell the kidz before, but it’s good to know in case none of them succeed.
The eggs have raw liquid yolks and whites inside. Although the egg might appear ‘still’ when you are trying to balance it, the liquid inside might still be moving around which will hinder your balance. It helps to put a small ‘hill’ of salt on the bulb. The egg will stand quicker with this than if you have a few grains only evenly spread out.
4) I told a couple ‘light bulb’ jokes which I found online. (ie. How many Roman Catholics does it take to change a lightbulb? NONE- We’re Catholic, we use candles!!!) Ha, ha!
5) I had the kidz sing “This Little Light of Mine” (as many verses as they could remember) and we discussed if they’d ever thought about the lyrics, or if they just sang along and never gave thought to the meaning of it.
6) THE PROOF!!! I had chosen a teen in the group who is in to science and could also present this correctly. She researched (with my help) and presented the scientific proof. Google to find articles and research on “Human Biophotonics” or “Study of light being emitted by living humans” or “Bioluminescence”. Basically, we have 1/1000th of a photon inside of us. Only visible on a special kind of xray (I am NOT a science geek so this is a rough description). I had one of my teen’s present this in her HS Chemistry Lab Coat. We called her “Jammin’ Jen The Science Friend” ala- Bill Nye the Science Guy. We then discussed the SCIENCE of this and came to the conclusion that as Christian/Catholics, this little spark inside of us was our spirit.
7) I showed the kidz a video “Touch This Light” by HOUSE OF HEROES. After the video, I asked them to all share something from the video they remembered seeing/hearing. (ie. lost in a sea of gray, tangled in the wires, I can see you there reaching out from a ring of fire, I want to touch this light, the video was shot in black and white, etc.)
8) We continued the discussion with these (and more) questions and all the kidz shared ideas and stories openly. Some of my thoughts were….
– There are different kinds of light bulbs, 1500 watt. Some are dim. Some are ‘regular’. Some are ‘green’. Some burn out quickly, some last forever without needing to be changed, etc. BUT…They ALL have a spark!
– When we can’t see what we’re doing, when it get’s TOO dark, what do we do? TURN ON A LIGHT! When someone can’t see in the dark, we hold a flashlight for them, right? Iphone people are always excited to use their flashlight app. It’s a handy thing to have. So, is being a light for others a ‘neat’ or ‘handy’ thing?
-If Jesus is the light of the world, is he the sun? If we are ‘his’ lights, maybe we are his flashlights in this world?
– I read several bible verses which talk about how Jesus is the Light of the World (many to choose from)
-How are YOU a light?
-When are you NOT a light?
-When are the times when you extinguish your light (either knowingly or not knowingly)?
-How do others see your light? When do they see it?
-When have you seen a light in other people?
9) I then gave each teen a paper with a picture of a broken lightbulb on it. I gave each a marker and asked them to write around the broken lightbulb times in their lives when they were in ‘darkness’. Times when they were not a light for others, or times when the needed to find a light for themselves. I gave them a few minutes to do this and then they shared some of their answers. They took the papers home.
10) I then gave each teen a light bulb. ( I purchased 40, boxes of 10 for $3. at the dollar store) I gave each teen a sharpee marker and asked them to write on the light bulb examples of things/times in their life when they have been living by the light, seen the light in others, were a light for Jesus in this world, or when they saw Jesus’ light in their lives. We shared some of these answers and they took the light bulbs home as well.
11) As a final prayer intention song, I used “Go Light Your World” by Kathy Trocolli
HOW IT WENT-
The kidz loved it and were very willing to share stories of when they either were the light or when someone else was a light for them. It goes without saying that the Balancing of the Egg ON the Light Bulb was a hilarious activity!!!THEY LOVED THE FLASHLIGHT IDEA!!! That they are God’s ‘Flashlights’ in this world!!! They also really loved “Touch This Light” by House of Heroes and I linked the video to our youth group facebook page for them when I uploaded the pictures. (I try to always take pictures during the ice breaker games so they can see them online).
I did notice this morning that one of the kidz had changed his status this morning before school to “Carry Your Candle, Go Light Your World!!!” Now if that isn’t a sure sign that he got something out of the meeting, I don’t know what is!!!
IF YOU ATTEMPT A SIMILAR MEETING, PUT A TWIST ON ANY IDEAS ABOVE, OR HAVE NEW IDEAS PLEASE COMMENT AND LET US KNOW!!!
GO BE THE LIGHT!!! (:
Have a Blessed Day!