Doing the right thing with puppets is important because everything that you do with a puppet, children will watch, learn, and imitate. Children are drawn to the puppets and the puppets can be very influential.
There’s an unwritten law of magnetism between puppets and children”an automatic friendship. Although children are quick to turn off adults who are trying to correct and instruct them, they eagerly open their ears and their hearts to these animated friends.
Children watching the puppet show will often mirror the puppets moods and actions. When the puppets are sad, the kids are sad too. When the puppets are happy and joyful, so are the kids. As children watch a puppet show, they are so in tune with it that the puppets in the show become a model for them to follow.
This can be good or bad. If the puppets in the show behave by speaking rude and sarcastically, such as name calling, the young children will imitate that action in their own lives. When conducting a puppet ministry, be sure that the puppets are not doing anything that you don’t want the children to imitate. Words aren’t the only thing to be careful about. Puppets hitting each other or using violence can also carry over to the actions of the children.
Let puppets show children how to behave in a courteous, pleasant manner. Show the children how to be friendly and helpful. Use appropriate grammar and a vocabulary they will understand. Also, keep in mind the location in which you are performing. Be sure not to offend your audience with the puppet’s behavior or language. Remember, what is accepted in one region or country may be offensive in another.
Not only will children imitate a puppet’s behavior but they will also respond easily to whatever it asks them to do. For this reason, it is best not to use puppets to give an invitation to salvation or Christian commitment. At such times, the children’s response needs to be prompted by the Holy Spirit, not a puppet.
With all these guidelines regarding proper behavior, it would be easy to allow puppets to become cold, stiff, and unrealistic. To avoid this, take time to watch children playing at a park, a playground, a school or at home. See how natural they are. Let your puppets imitate them! Be natural and relaxed, but stay within the boundaries of good conduct.
Children seem to learn more quickly from puppets than just about any other medium. Let’s be faithful in using these tools carefully to bring about Christ -pleasing behavior from our listeners. Lord, using puppets is a great thrill but an even greater responsibility. Help me use them in a way that produces a good model for children to follow”one that honors You.
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