Written by Mary Lindberg
When our kids were little, I used to wake them up early once in awhile with these words: “We’re going on a mystery trip!” I piled them into the car as quickly as I could. No time for tantrums, electronics, or doubts.
Once we were rolling I gave them one clue at a time, three in all. Sometimes the destination was a drive-through breakfast, sometimes a special playground or kid place. (Do what you can afford!) The destination was far less important than the trip itself.
On a mystery trip, the journey truly is part of the thrill. Kids love mysteries! Creativity is usually about figuring out what we don’t know. Voila…mysteries! You can practically hear the little wheels in your sons and daughters’ heads turning as they try to figure out where you will end up. They love it!
Go on a mystery trip again a month or so later. The second time you won’t even have to sell it as much. Each time your kids will join in more and more. You are building rituals, and those matter to kids. Years later, our daughters still talk about mystery trips.
Creativity also matters in the world of faith. Practicing creativity ties us to God, the creator. God is always creating, especially through us. And to live a life of faith, of trusting in God’s mysterious ways, it sure helps to be creative and exercise our imaginations.
There’s a verse in Ephesians 6:19 in which Paul asks for prayers to know how to share “the mystery of the Gospel.” I suspect that’s exactly why you are reading this blog. You want to somehow instill in your kids respect for holiness, curiosity about their spiritual selves, and the ability to create good with others. A mystery trip is one way to practice those things, kid style!
MARY LINDBERG is an ELCA pastor who lives in Seattle, Washington. She has written curriculum for Augsburg Fortress for many years, including Spark, Holy Moly, and Whirl. At one time Mary served as a children’s pastor; now she works as a chaplain for older adults. Mary and her husband have two grown daughters.