Devotions for Teachers - Can You Tame Your Tongue?
Scripture: James 3:7, 8; Phil. 4:8
Interactive Chapel Presentation: A Puppet Experience
Level: Designed for Primary Chapel, but intermediate classes asked to sit in on this because they wanted to see a puppet show. (Cool note: it even gave one teacher a springboard to discuss a classroom issue just brought to his attention that day by a parent).
-microphone (at least one), puppet theatre (tape script to front of theatre)
-2 puppets, at least one with a mouth that opens & has “arms”
-piece of red felt, approx. 4”x8”(cut in shape of tongue), taped to stick/ruler & maneuvered as a puppet
-smaller piece of red felt with tape, ready to put in Cleo’s mouth when offstage
-box or can of something that makes noise when you shake it
- butterfly net or strainer, held by Cleo
Background: Pepper is very practical & has common sense. Cleo is unclear on the concept.
Play opens with Cleo on stage moving around with a net, looking left, right, up, & down. Cleo goes off; “Tongue” comes on, moving around looking left, right, up & down. Tongue goes off. Suddenly, they both pop up in opposite corners, looking away from each other, but backing towards each other. As they collide, Cleo turns & tries to catch Tongue in the net. They battle for a few seconds, then Tongue excapes offstage. Enter Pepper.
Pepper: Hi--what’s up?
Cleo: (gestures with net, but can’t speak without tongue)
Pepper: You’re trying to catch something?
Cleo: Ah hah hah ah ah ha haha (mouth open; gestures with head)
Pepper: What’s wrong with your mouth? Wait--something is missing…..
Cleo: Ah hah hah ah ah ha haha (mouth open; gestures with head)
Pepper: Aha--your tongue is missing! Oh-oh—that’s not good. You can’t just have a loose tongue running around anywhere!
Cleo: Ah hah hah ah ah ha haha (waves net)
Pepper: You’re trying to catch your tongue? Well, that’s good. But why did you take it out in the first place?
Cleo: Ah hah hah ah ah ha haha (pretends to lie down & roll over)
Pepper: You’re trying to make it— roll over? Wait...you’re trying to teach it some tricks? OOOhhhhh—you’re trying to tame it. What were you going to do—put it in a cage or something? (laughs)
Cleo: Ah hah hah ah ah ha haha (jumps & nods)
Pepper: Seriously. You’re trying to tame your tongue. I don’t think that is possible. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s impossible. I heard one of the classes at this school reading a verse about the tongue. It was James 3: 7 & 8, and it said that people can tame all kinds of animals, but no one can tame a tongue. I’m pretty sure that means puppets, too. Well, you’d better go catch it and at least stick it back in your mouth. Hey--I think I just saw it run by! Good luck with that—I’m staying away from a wild tongue! Those things are NOT safe! You’d better hurry, though. This is a school, and if it’s still outside at recess, all those kids out there will grab it and kick it onto the roof, and then you’ll never get it back!
(Cleo goes backstage; “commotion” noise [shake box]; Poppy stays on stage, covers ears. Enter Cleo with smaller tongue taped into mouth)
Pepper: Wow—that was a terrible commotion. At least your tongue is back in your mouth. What were you thinking, anyway?
Cleo: Sorry about the noise—a cat almost got my tongue back there, and we made a big mess fighting over it. My tongue is always saying mean things and getting me into trouble, so I thought I could teach it to not say certain words. It’s smaller than a dog, so it should be able to do that. But now you say I can’t tame it—so what can I do?
Pepper: Well, let me tell you a little bit about that tongue of yours. It actually has a group of muscles working inside of it, and they are some of the strongest muscles in the body. It’s pretty much working all the time, even when we sleep. It pushes saliva down the throat so we don’t choke. It does a lot of other very important jobs, too.
Cleo: Wow—I didn’t know that tongues were so strong. I see now that I can’t do it on my own. I need help.
Pepper: Exactly! I’m glad that you’re starting to understand…
Cleo: (interrupting) I should send it to obedience school!
Pepper: No—that’s not going to help. But, you can help your tongue by following some rules and helping your mind inside your brain. Your mind and brain are actually in charge of your tongue. It helps you talk, and you tell it what to say.
Cleo: How—I thought you said I couldn’t tame it.
Pepper: OK—wait a minute. Have you seen the rules in some of the classes here?
Cleo: Well, no…
Pepper: The kids here at (name school) have rules to follow. Some of those rules are Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Respectful…
Cleo: (interrupting)…So I have to do those?
Pepper: Just let me finish. All of the kids here have trouble with their tongues. So do the adults. In fact, all of us need to control our tongues every day.
Cleo: How do those kids tame their tongues? Cause I’m not seeing any cages to keep their tongues in, and I don’t see any tongues running down the hall.
Pepper: Nobody needs a cage. By following their teachers’ rules, they learn to control their tongues.
Cleo: Where do the teachers get the rules? Do they just make them up?
Pepper: No…they get them from God’s Word. Phil.4:8 says to think about these things: things that are true, noble—or respectful, right, pure, lovely—those are things to keep in our minds. When we get ready to talk, we should decide if what we are saying matches up with those. What kind of things do you say?
Cleo: Well, there’s this lion puppet whose mouth doesn’t open like mine. I say, “Hey—you can’t be a puppet if your mouth doesn’t open!”
Pepper: So, is that true?
Cleo: No. There are all kinds of puppets—some of them have open mouths, and some don’t.
Pepper: What else?
Cleo: Well, there is this pink pig puppet that I like to yell at and say “That’s just dumb to be pink—who wants a pink puppet!”
Pepper: Is that respectful or kind?
Cleo: No, but she gets to be pink, and I’m just boring (name puppet colour), so I wanted to make her feel bad.
Pepper: Is that all?
Cleo: Well, there is this one small puppet. It tries to hang around me and my friends, but I don’t want it to. So I tell it that we are in a puppet club, and you have to be a certain size to get it.
Pepper: Is that true?
Cleo: No—I just didn’t want to play with that puppet right then. Anyway, we’re not supposed to have clubs. I heard one of the teachers here say that.
Pepper: Well, it sounds like you have some practicing to do, but you won’t have to go to obedience school to do it. You can stay right here at (name of school).
Cleo: Yea!! Hey—thanks for talking to me.
Pepper: No problem. Just be careful with your tongue. It can be very dangerous. Follow those rules, and think about those verses before you open your mouth.
Cleo: OK. I’d better go clean up the mess I made when I was trying to catch my tongue. Goodbye!