Lesson #10 - Optimism - Character-in

Christian Character Lesson Plans
Lesson #10 – Optimism
Ages 6-12
Optimism might seem to be a natural state, but it is not. The Bible urges it. This lesson helps 6-to-12-year-olds
learn the importance of optimism, using the next chapter in Mystery at Lake Cachuma and the story of Queen
Esther. The Optimism Game is part of this lesson, reinforcing and making it memorable.
Suggestion: Read through the lesson and prepare well before class time.
What you will need:
1 or more copies of Mystery at Lake Cachuma
1 copy of the thumbs-up picture on page 3
Pessimistic sentences on strips of paper. Use sentences that are age and interest appropriate.
What you will do:
Before lesson time, gather all materials needed for lesson and game.
Say: “Can you remember what the plant of the walking seed did? Have you ever seen that kind of
plant? We saw that, and we saw treasure when we read from this book last time. Today, we’re not
going to look at seeds, but we’re going to learn about a different kind of treasure. Twins Charlie and
Hailey haven’t solved all the mysteries of Lake Cachuma!”
Read, or have a good reader read Chapter Nine – “Of Blue Herons and Gold”
Close the book.
Say: “Buried treasure! A bundle of gold – and the twins exercised optimism.”
Ask: “Who knows what the character trait optimism means?”
Hold up the thumbs-up picture (page 3).
Say: “Optimism is a hopeful, thumbs-up character trait. When you exercise optimism, you learn
what the facts of a situation are, and then you act to put the best meaning on those facts and
move ahead, hoping for and expecting a good outcome.”
Say: “The twins knew there wasn’t much proof of buried treasure, but they knew the facts about the
strange visitors. They put the best meaning on those facts, and the best meaning was that there WAS
TREASURE!! The best possible meaning was that real treasure had been buried somewhere, and that
it was above water level. They hoped and expected that they would find it.”
Ask: “What actions did Hailey and Charlie take as they exercised optimism?”
Say: “Imagine being so hopeful of finding buried treasure that you put off your trip to Disneyland!”
Hold up the thumbs-up picture again.
Say: “Optimism gives a thumbs-up to things that many people would give thumbs-down. It’s a much
happier way to live than its sad brother, pessimism is. Pessimism always puts the worst meaning on
facts while optimism puts the best meaning on them. Pessimism expects things to go badly, but
optimism expects things to go well.”
Say: “You can make your life happier by exercising optimism. Every day can be happier if you hope for
and expect good things instead of bad things.”
Say: We’re going to play the Optimism Game today.
Optimism Game:
The object of this game is to turn pessimistic (thumbs-down) thoughts into optimistic (thumbs-up) thoughts.
How to Play:
Divide group into two teams.
Have each player pull a pessimistic sentence from a box or hat.
The first player on Team #1 reads a pessimistic (thumbs-down) statement in a sad voice. Everyone on that
team gives a thumbs-down sign.
The first player on Team #2 gives an optimistic (thumbs-up) response in a cheery voice. If the response is
correct, that team gives a thumbs-up sign. The team gets 1 point.
The Team#2 player that gave the right response reads a pessimistic statement to which the first player on
Team #2 responds. If he gets thumbs-up, the team gets a point.
Continue until every player has had opportunity to read one sentence and respond to one sentence.
Team #1 player says sadly: “It’s going to rain all day tomorrow.”
Team #2 player responds with a grin: “I get to use my new red umbrella tomorrow!”
Team #1 player says sadly: “I have a toothache and have to go to the dentist today.”
Team #2 player responds with a grin: “At last, that tooth is going to stop hurting me!”
Team #1 player says sadly: “I failed my spelling test. I’m no good at spelling.”
Team #2 player says with a grin: “I failed this spelling test, but I’ll do better on the next one!”
Optimism Is Hopeful,
Thumbs-Up Thinking
Optimism Hopes All Things
Before a class for younger ages, print copies of the coloring picture on page 5.
After your game is finished:
Say: “The Bible tells us about a beautiful queen who exercised optimism. The facts that she learned
made her very afraid. She was afraid that she would die. She could have been very sad about it, but
instead, she put the best meaning on the facts that she could.”
Say: “Listen to what happened.”
Give a brief account of the story of Esther
Say: “Esther knew the facts. She knew that the king could have her killed if she went to see him without
an invitation. She could have given those facts a “thumbs-down” meaning. She could have said, “Poor
me. I’m sure to die if I do what my uncle wants me to do. There’s no hope. None.”
Say: “Instead, Esther gave the facts a “thumbs-up” optimistic meaning. She said,” I may die, but I may
not die. The king may hold out his beautiful golden scepter to me. The king may smile at me, and invite
me to come to his throne. This could be a very happy day. I will go to the king without an invitation. I
hope I will live. I hope I will be able to save my people.”
Say: “Esther knew God was more powerful than any king, and her hope was in God. She asked her
uncle and the other Jews to pray for her. Then she exercised optimism because she knew God was
able to protect her.”
Say: “The Bible says something to you and me about optimism, too. Listen.”
Read I Corinthians 13:7.
Say: “Love for God HOPES all things! Love puts the best meaning on things. If a friend does something
that you think is hurtful, you put the best meaning on that and optimistically hope it is not meant to be
hurtful. If Mother or Father misunderstands you, put the best meaning on that misunderstanding and
optimistically hope they will understand later.”
Ask: “Is optimism a good thing or an evil thing?”
Say: “Psalm 118:24 says, ‘This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.’”
Close with prayer that each one will learn to rejoice and exercise hope in all things.
(For younger ages - Distribute coloring pictures as take-home reminders.)