The Good Samaritan
Summary of Lesson Activities:
In this workshop the learners will compare the story of the good Samaritan to the Dr. Seuss book, Horton Hears a Who.
- Learn that God wants us to be Merciful.
- With our older children, we will also compare HORTON to JESUS, both of whom sought to save a world.
- At the end of the lesson with older children, we will also consider an additional way of looking at this Parable. Instead of just making it a parable about "being merciful and helping others", students will consider if it is WE who are the ones beaten by the roadside, and Jesus (the despised Samaritan) who saves us, and calls us to be like him.
- Illustrated Bible of your choice.
- Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss
- Pictures of Horton, The Good Samaritan, and various super-heroes.
- Read the Bible passage.
- Read over the background material included in your teacher packet as you review the lesson plan.
- Become familiar with the Bible story and the book Horton Hears a Who!
- Gather the materials.
Opening - Welcome and introductions:
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week—some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs if there are new students or visitors.
Dig - Main Content and Reflection:
1. Have the students sit where you would like them to during the reading of the story from the Bible.
2. Read the Parable first using an illustrated Bible book.
3. Hold a very short discussion asking the kids "What they think the point of the story is about," "How each character felt and acted in the story," and "why they think Jesus told this story."
4. Read Horton Hears a Who! Tell them ahead of time that you will be asking them to compare and contrast the Suess story with Jesus' story.
Write the words SAME and DIFFERENT in large letters on the board, then start reading.
Younger students will need this adapted a bit with leading questions. Some younger students may not be familiar with how to "compare and contrast" the two stories.
You can prime the pump with simple questions such as, : Who are the main characters? And "What is the Danger in the story?" Then you can further drill down comparing the lead characters (Samaritan, Horton), Who is in need, what is their need, and why aren't their needs being met. Tape pictures of Horton and Good Sam to your lists. This will help all and especially younger children.
Depending on your class, you may want to stop half way through the Horton story to begin comparing/contrasting. (Note: Draw symbols and pictures for non-readers on the board instead of words).
How were the "Who's" like the beaten man? (Both needed to be heard and helped!)
How were Horton and the Samaritan unlikely heroes? (An elephant! and a despised Samaritan).
As you say things like "the despised Samaritan," remember to explain why Samaritans weren't liked by the Jews. (Consult your Bible background notes.)
After comparing and contrasting, go to the board and write down student responses to the following questions:
Pretend you are a “Who” or someone trying to help a “Who” at your school or in your neighborhood. Who would be the Whos? ....One might be that they are the people that are not popular.
Who would be the Wickershams and Kangaroos? One answer might be that they are the people who are not nice to them or tease them.
Why do you think Horton did what he did?
Why do you think the Samaritan did what he did?
Now let's make a big imaginary leap: How is Horton's RESCUE of the Who's like Jesus coming to earth to save us from our sins?
With older children in particular, you should introduce the concept of "Messiahs" in literature and movies. A Messiah is one who comes to save the people. They are super-heroes. Have the students name a few "Messiah" movies. Then note that many messianic characters in the movies have obvious flaws. Some, like Iron Man for example, started out bad. Some, like Superman, make mistakes. How is Jesus different?
A man came to Jesus because he wanted to know what he needed to DO in order to have eternal life. Jesus told him that he needed to BE merciful.
Is mercy a thing that you DO, or is it way of looking at the world? ...A way of putting others before yourself?
Jesus taught us that you become merciful when you realize God has been merciful to you.
Sometime later, maybe that man realized HE HIMSELF was the beaten man in the story --left for dead and left unsaved by others, and that it was JESUS who was the despised Samaritan (rejected by the Jews) who had come to save him, and take care of him. That would mean JESUS is our neighbor! And we are called to "go and do likewise" ....BE LIKE CHRIST to the world.
Close the class with a prayer of your own, or use the following:
Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to teach us how we should live. Help us to be good neighbors to all. Amen.
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Ask the children to answer the following:
Who is my neighbor?
- Dr. Seuss. Horton Hears a Who! New York: Random House, 1954, renewed 1982.
A lesson posted by Jan Marshall from: Brenthaven Church,
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.
Note: This lesson was modified during our 2013 renovation. All three of our lesson reviewers liked the idea of comparing the two stories and suggested some improvements which we've incorporated above.