Inside: Help kids become more resilient when facing challenges. This article features the picture book Perfect Square and printables in three fun formats, perfect for helping kids learn encouraging scriptures and prayers. Click here to go right to the printable Bible verse resources.
Our pastor recently used a phrase that resonated with my husband and me: stubborn hope. Maybe I connected with it because I needed hope so desperately that morning. Or maybe–because I am practiced at being stubborn–I liked the idea of putting that trait to good use.
The idea of “stubborn hope” helps my heart stand up a little straighter as I remember how relying on God–his promises and his character–can make us more resilient in the face of trouble.
While our aching hearts wait, even before the confusion clears, hope sustains us.
Perfect Square – A Story of Stubborn Hope
“Stubborn hope” also reminded me of the picture book Perfect Square by Michael Hall. Our authors here at Our Everyday Parables have been reading the book with our kids and asking them to share their wisdom. Resilience and hope are themes many of them picked up on. (For links to all the posts, scroll down or click here.)
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With vibrant colors and simple text, Perfect Square shows the resilient way a “perfect square” responds to being torn and crumpled and poked. The square finds beauty and purpose in each situation by remaking itself into beautiful places and things.
Help Kids Become More Resilient with the book Perfect Square
Perfect Square is a wonderful way to talk with kids about a variety of challenges:
- Facing change with a resilient spirit
- Being honest about our feelings without letting them define us
- Turning a seemingly negative situation into something good
- Dealing with disappointment or discouragement in productive ways
- And lots more
The Kids’ Reflections on Perfect Square
When I shared Perfect Square with my two kids, they each picked up on different aspects. One was drawn to the variety of outcomes in the story, and one was drawn to the many feelings.
G (age 10) centered on the many different items the square becomes. He loved the transformation, saying, “You can make yourself into who you want to be.”
My first-born thinks about the future a lot and too often carries the weight of the world. I love that he got a vivid picture of how:
- When plans are unmade or even destroyed, we are not stuck.
- We don’t have to be defined by our troubles.
- Though hard times may make it impossible to go back to the way we were, with God’s help, we can find new ways to move forward and find meaning.
C (age 6) focused on the variety of emotions he felt as the story unfolded. He said, “It’s okay to feel all different kinds of feelings.” And boy, are we experiencing lots of strong emotions these days!
It was encouraging to me to hear that particular takeaway because it echoes what we have tried to teach him.
- It is okay to feel your feelings.
- God cares about your feelings.
- Feelings are little pay-attention signals.
- Your feelings do not define you.
- You can choose what you do with your feelings.
- Like clouds passing over a mountain, feelings will pass.
The book does not directly talk about the square’s feelings, but C put himself in the square’s shoes and felt happiness when the square was happy and sadness when the square was sad. Other emotions you could discuss with Perfect Square are confusion, loss, purpose, joy, peace, and determination.
The Kids Teach Us Again
I was able to refer to my boys’ insights later in the week when we were struggling and our resilient, hopeful spirits were all worn out. The three of us had experienced a really trying day with technology and homework. That may sound pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, but in the moment, pain is pain. And it was real. First, tears and frustration. Then later, deep breaths and hugs. And then much, much later, a moment of reflection.
Showing them the garden page where the square is torn to pieces, I asked if they had felt kind of “torn up” by technology today. “Yes!”
“Well, guess what?” I said. “Earlier this week, you guys taught me some important lessons from the Perfect Square book. Maybe your ideas can help us as we reflect on this day.
“Remember when C said, ‘It’s okay to feel all the feelings’? We felt lots of feelings, right? Sadness, anger, probably fear that we might not be able to finish our work, frustration. I felt it, too.
“It was okay that we felt all those emotions, but we didn’t let our feelings define us or stop us. We kept going.
“And then G taught us we don’t have to stay all torn up. We can become something new. When we remember God cares and we lean on his goodness, he grows us like a beautiful garden–even more beautiful than the lovely garden in this book.”
I love that I was able to share how their insights were still impacting me, even days later.
More Word Pictures for Raising Resilient Kids
The garden is not the only beautiful scene in the book that can be a word picture illustrating God’s care. Each of the images–the fountain, the bridge, the river, and more–can help kids better understand how God is with us in our struggles, giving us hope and helping us grow stronger and more resilient in Him.
In the Bible and in life, word pictures have a way of making the unseen both more tangible and more beautiful. With that in mind, we’ve created some resources that connect word pictures with Bible verses to encourage your kids to practice “stubborn hope” as they rely on God.
Get Resources for Raising More Resilient Kids
If you want to connect biblical teaching on resilience with the everyday situations your kids are facing, check out these free resources. We’ve got you covered with three fun, easy-to-use formats, perfect for home or on-the-go.
Both printables use familiar places and things–fountain, garden, park, bridge, river, mountain, window–as word pictures and connect them with scripture to:
- Give kids a fresh view of God’s care and
- Remind kids God can help us grow wiser, stronger, and more connected in difficult times.
The images used are similar to those found in Perfect Square, but the Bible verse printables are designed to stand alone–no picture book needed.
1. Bible Verse Cards
These Bible verse cards are great for posting on the fridge or mirror, sticking inside a backpack or lunchbox, memorizing in the car, or reading together at mealtime.
2. Bible Verse Tear-Off Sheets
The Bible verse tear-off sheets are a fun way to let kids take the initiative to carry encouragement they need wherever they go.
3. Bible Verse Bookmarks
For one more fun format, just cut off the bottom portion of the tear-off sheet, and voila! Bible verse bookmarks for another fun way to remember God’s love!
Get the Bible Verse Printables
With or without the book, these resources can help kids become more resilient and learn to face challenges with hope and courage.
More from this series
- Resilience and the Perfect Square picture book: a 10-year-old’s reflections
- Three very different sibling views on Perfect Square
- Picture books aren’t just for little kids
- Help kids find God in any book