Pixar produces some excellent short films that are aesthetically brilliant and also intellectually compelling, all without using words. The combination makes for excellent KidMin material!
The following video shows the story of an infant sandpiper, appropriately named Piper, who has to learn to overcome her fear of the ocean to find food for herself. The makers of the short film summarize it this way: “This is an anecdote about vanquishing and beating your own fears.”
The 6-minute video can easily be purchased through YouTube Movies for $1.99. Below, you can see a short preview of the brilliantly-crafted story.
There are lessons to be gleaned for children and adults alike. Consider Piper’s mother, who had to take a step back while her offspring learned to overcome her fears and provide for herself. And everyone can relate to the need to overcome fear. God also thought this was an important lesson for us to learn, evidenced by the fact that the Bible instructs us not to fear or be anxious or be worried 365 times—one reference for each day of the year.
This video has so many good lessons to pull that you can build an entire Sunday school lesson out of it. We’ve listed some ideas below—we hope they’re helpful!
What happened to Piper the first time she tried to go get food for herself? How did that make her feel?
Have you ever had a problem like Piper, where you tried something new and it didn’t go so well and so you avoided it? Can anyone give an example of something like that? (It’s a good idea to give a real-life example from your own life to help the kids see how to answer the question.)
Sometimes we get knocked over by our fears and we allow them to stop us from doing things. What kinds of fears do you have? What do your fears keep you from doing?
Explain the word overcome to the kids. The dictionary defines it as “to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat.” This is what Piper did to her fear of the ocean—she defeated it. In the same way, Jesus wants to help us overcome our own fears.
Did Jesus say anything about fear? Let’s read Luke 12:7:
“Yes, God even knows how many hairs you have on your head. Don’t be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows.”
Who knows what a sparrow is? (Suggested answer: a sparrow is a bird—kind of like Piper from the video!)
Do you think God cares for Piper? Jesus said that you and I are worth more than birds like Piper. If God helped Piper overcome her fear of the ocean, do you think he could help you overcome a fear you have? What fear would you like to pray about?
Have your kids draw a picture of a fear they would like to pray about. Then write out Luke 12:7 below their picture (you can do this beforehand, too, and just hand out pre-filled papers when it’s time to color). Include another line at the bottom that says “Jesus, please help me to overcome _______________”. Help the kids write the fear they would like help overcoming.
Ask parents to spend time this week praying with their kids about the fear they wrote on their papers.
As the kids come back next week, ask them to share any stories of victory they experienced while working to overcome fear.