Family Time in The Laurelwood: Lessons in Repentance-Sorry Doesn’t Cut It

A note to grownups: Welcome to family time in the Laurelwood!  I am so glad you are here to join EE Otter and his gang of friends as they learn about living life according to God’s Word thanks to Opaah, Mama and some other Laurelwood folk.  Each Sunday there will be a new post that will include a short adventure with EE and friends, bible verses to read and memorize, and a variety of fun activities and crafts that you can use with your family to reinforce the values and truths of God’s amazing Word!  I hope that you will join us on this adventure.  Oh, and on Thursdays, you and I, we’ll have some grown up time in my Thursdays Thoughts because even we need a bit of respite to refresh and challenge us too!  Thank you for visiting here in the Laurelwood!  We are so blessed to have you and your family join us.

(EE Otter and all characters affiliated with this series are  a copyright of Laura Taylor)

This week EE and Random will share with you some of the adventure they had when they learned what repentance really means and how much God loves them and everyone else too!

Story Time:  Sorry Doesn’t  Cut It!  

“Sahhwee, EE!” Lily exclaimed when she accidentally dropped her big brother’s karate trophy on the floor.  “Lil, you aren’t supposed to be in my room without asking.  This is the third time this week you sneaked in here and picked up my trophies.”

“Well I is sahhwee” she said tearfully, “it was a accident.”

“Well, sorry doesn’t cut it, Lily.” Random Raccoon said, trying to sound very mature.

“OOOhhh, I didn’t cut nuffin, Wandom! ”

“He means that saying sorry doesn’t really matter if you don’t stop doing the thing you keep saying you’re sorry for doing.”  EE explained wiping away her tears.

“Boy, did me and your brother learn that one the hard way! Remember EE?”

Walking over to his bedroom window, EE moved the curtain aside and looked out towards the clearing beside the Otter family den.  “We sure did”, he said remembering.

The weather forecast for a deep snow had EE and Random so excited it was hard for them to fall asleep.  There had been little snow that winter and they had been making plans to build the greatest snow fort the Laurelwood had even seen!  It was especially exciting because it was Winter break and Random was spending the next four days with the Otter family.

As the sun peeked it’s way through EE’s bedroom window, Random jumped up, ran to the window and exclaimed, “Whoo-Hoo!  Our prayers were answered!  Look, EE!  Look!  There’s at least three feet of fluffy, white snow and it’s still falling.  C’mon, man, wake UP!”

The boys worked for hours clearing the spot for the fort and forming “snow” bricks.  They only stopped when Mama insisted that they come in for some lunch.  After lunch they were finally ready to begin building the first layer of walls for their grand snow fort.  They worked diligently until the sun began to fade.  All of the walls were almost three feet high.

“Tomorrow we can finish the walls and then we can ask Opaah if we can use that old tarp he has to make the roof!”

The boys excitedly shared all of their building plans with Mama, Opaah, and Lily that night at supper.  Opaah told them he was proud of all of their hard work.  The boys were so tired that evening that they fell asleep in front of the fire in the family room.

The next morning they were up before the sun and raced outside to begin working on their masterpiece.  “What in the world?” EE said startled.  Random stood next to him without saying a word, mouth hanging open.  One side of the snow fort had been knocked over and there were boot prints on the ground leading to Opaah’s workshop.

Racing to the workshop the boys found Opaah busy working on a new table for Mrs. Mole.  “Opaah, did you see what happened to our snow fort?  Someone knocked the wall in!”

“Sorry lads,” Opaah said, “I did it.  I was carrying this wood and I wasn’t watching where I was going.  I am really sorry!  Can I help you re-build it?”

“That’s okay, sir,” Random replied, “we can do it ourselves.”

The boys were disappointed, but it was just an accident and Opaah was sorry about it.  They rebuilt the wall in no time and finished the final layer on the remaining three walls just as night was falling.  Tomorrow would be the grand finale!  They would put the top on it and then invite the rest of the gang to come and play.

As they washed up for supper, Opaah came in from his workshop.  “Listen, lads, I need to apologize again about your fort.”

“It’s okay, Opahh.  It was just an accident.”

“Except, I’m not apologizing for this morning again.  I need to say sorry for what just happened.”

“What just happened?” Random asked

“Well, I must not have been watching very carefully on my way inside, it is kind of dark.  I walked right into your snow fort.  I knocked down the same wall.  I’m really sorry!”

“Opaah! You didn’t! We have been working on that for two days.  You said you would be more careful.  Oh, no!”

“We’re never going to finish it before Winter break is done. We’ll never get the best snow fort EVER built in time!” Random moaned.

“EE, your grandfather said he was sorry.  You boys will just have to work on it again tomorrow.”  Mama chided.

The next morning the boys headed to the fort full of discouragement.  “I know Opaah said he was sorry and all, EE, but that’s two times.  If he was sorry don’t ya think he’d have been more careful the second time?”

“I don’t know, Random.  It isn’t like Opaah to be careless.”

He knew our fort was there and he had plenty of room to get around it, even with those long boards.”

On top of the pile of smashed snow bricks was a wooden sign post stuck into the snow.  It said: Come into my workshop before you begin re-building

Opaah was busy at work when the boys entered.  “Welcome, lads!  Come sit here at the workbench and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa with me.”  He was awfully jolly for a guy who wrecked a snow fort not once but twice.  “You lads, look like you’ve lost your best friend!” he said as he poured piping hot cocoa into three mugs. “You know I said that I was sorry, boys.  What else can I do?”

Swallowing hard, EE respectfully replied, “Maybe you could be more careful, Opaah.  Next time I mean.”

“Yeah, like tonight on your way inside,” Random said, “or you could help us rebuild it.

“Hmmmm, so my saying sorry doesn’t quite cut it, does it? Sounds like you lads would like me to change what I’m doing so that my actions reflect my words.”

“That would be somethin'” Random said slurping the hot cocoa

Looking thoughtfully at his grandfather, EE said, “I have a feeling this isn’t about snow forts, Opaah.  It’s about Polly Possum.”

“Polly Possum? What’s that peck-uh-lur girl got to do with Opaah wrecking our snow fort?”

“It’s ‘peculiar’, Random!  And that’s just it, we said we were sorry for the way we treated her but we didn’t change anything.”

“Well it’s not like we were mean to her!”

“Well it’s not like we were nice to her either, Random!  We said sorry but nothing changed. Right, Opaah?”

“Right, son.  Saying sorry doesn’t cut it if we don’t change our attitude and then follow that by changing our actions.  God’s Word calls that repentance. It begins by changing the way we think.  For instance Random, you told Polly you were sorry.  You did that work at Mr. Badger’s in order to learn your lesson, but you still think of Polly as peculiar.  Since you haven’t changed the way you think and haven’t changed the way you act you aren’t truly repentant. You aren’t truly sorry by God’s standards. The Bible tells us that  godly sorrow brings repentance and that leads to salvation. It’s a change in the mind, heart, and actions, boys.  And God’s promise is that He is faithful and just to forgive our sins when we confess them and choose repentance.  Now let me show you something really special…..” Opaah said with a twinkle in his eye.  “I think you lads are going to love this!”…….

Oooohh. I fink I get it.  If I was weally sahwee I wouldn’t fink it was okay to come in your woom and play with your twophies as long as I didn’t get caught!”

“Something like that Lil” EE smiled giving her a brotherly hug.

Tilling Time

These are just some discussion starters you can use with your famigood. Tilling time can happen anywhere: in the SUV on the way to the next game or practice; in the car on the way to school; at the dinner table; before bed.  These are the moments you begin tilling the soil of your child’s heart.

One of the Greek words used in the New Testament for repentance is “metanoeo” and Strong’s  Concordance defines it as “change my mind, change the inner man (particularly with reference to acceptance of the will of God)

  • Has there ever been a time somebody said they were sorry for something that they had done, but they kept on doing that same thing?
    • How did you feel?
    • Do you think that they were truly sorry?  Why or why not
  • Sometimes saying “sorry” is more of a habit.  We might feel badly about something that we did, but we don’t really assume responsibility for it.
    • Is there an example of this in EE’s story: Sorry Doesn’t Cut It?
  • Let’s talk about a time when you might have said you were sorry but didn’t really mean it.
    • parents can share a time they may have gone through something similar.
  • How did Opaah’s knocking the snow fort down teach EE and Random about repentance?
  • We must remember that we cannot earn God’s favor by our good deeds.  We can’t work to earn God’s love nor be bad enough to lose his love.  However, to have a relationship with God through Christ, we must have an attitude of repentance.

Digging In

This is the place where we begin to dig into God’s word planting it into the soil of our children’s heart. There are many bible verses that can be used.  These are just a few dealing with repentance and salvation through Christ.

(Scripture here is taken from NIV)

  • Luke 5:32 “Jesus answered them saying, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
  • Acts 17: 30 “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people, everywhere to repent.”
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 “It is by grace you are saved, through faith,  and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works so that no one can boast.”
  • 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Growing Out

Here is the place where we use a little fun and laughter to water the garden of our child’s heart, and our hearts too!  These are some practical tips and ideas you might be able to use or adapt to your family’s lifestyle.

  • Scavenger Hunt: Choose one bible verse and write each word out on a large piece of paper.  Hide the pieces of paper in various locations along with a clue for them to find the next piece of the verse.  Attach a clue on the final piece of the puzzle that will lead them to a special treat that they can have once they put all of the pieces together to form the verse.  Enjoy the treat as you talk with them about what the verse means for their lives.
    • Here are some variations:
      • Get extended family or neighbors in on the action!  Perhaps Nana or an Aunt can text or call with a clue to lead the kids to the next piece of the puzzle.  Maybe the children have to deliver a note of encouragement to a neighbor (who is in on the action!) who will hand them the next piece of the verse and clue.  BE CREATIVE!
    • Find some fun and peculiar (pek-a-lur) facts about Opossums to share around the dinner table.  God’s creations are amazing!  Even the creatures we think of as weird or a nuisance can teach us fascinating things about the world God created and how creative our God is:
      • Here are a few about Opossum’s:
        • They have a protein in their blood that makes them immune to poisonous snake bites
        • They are the only marsupial found in the United States and Canada
        • One of their natural defenses is to “play Possum” that is they play dead.
    • “Play Possum” tag: (this can be adapted for older children.  Just use a little creativity) played like the game Red Light, Green Light
      • The person who is “IT” is the tagger and stands with their backs to the “possums” who are lined up a good distance behind the tagger
      •  The tagger yells “Possums on the move” and the possums begin making their way toward home base (where “IT” is standing)
      • The tagger (IT) yells: “Possums play dead” and the possums must freeze while “IT” turns around.
      • If a possum moves he/she must go back to the start line.
    • Edible Possum Habitat: Opossums are very adaptable and can use almost anything as a home.  Lay out several snack items: pretzel sticks, raisins, peanut butter or icing, fruit or candy pieces.  Give the kids 15 minutes to create an edible Opossum home. Then enjoy—Yum!
    • Possum Stew: don’t panic, possum is NOT one of the ingredients! Find a  new stew or soup, or even a casserole, recipe (or with the help of your budding chef’s, create your own)  Let the whole family pitch in and help make some Possum Stew for dinner!

Time is a very precious resource and I am so glad you have gifted us here in the Laurelwood with your visit!  Hopefully you and your family will enjoy some of the things you find here.  Most importantly we pray that your visit here has given you encouragement and drawn you closer to the amazing Creator God and His Son, Jesus Christ!