Easter time means egg-hunting time! Today on the broadcast, join children's entertainer, Miss PattyCake, as she tells Dennis Rainey about the fun children can have as they learn about Christ through FamilyLife's resource, Resurrection Eggs.
Easter time means egg-hunting time! Today on the broadcast, join children's entertainer, Miss PattyCake, as she tells Dennis Rainey about the fun children can have as they learn about Christ through FamilyLife's resource, Resurrection Eggs.
Bob: If you have a toddler around your house, it may be that you've heard this voice.
Miss PattyCake: Every day is a pattycake pray day. Are you ready to sing Miss PattyCake's pray song? Well, you clap along with me. Use your hands, you see along with my friends here. Here we go – (sings) pattycake, pattycake …
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, March 9th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Miss PattyCake joins us today to talk about how we can reach kids with the message of Easter.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. I want to see – I've got a little quiz for you to start off today's program.
Dennis: I've got my pencil ready.
Bob: All right, tell me who this reminds you of – let's see if you can pull this out of the deep recesses of your memory.
Dennis: You know, anytime you start grinning like this, Bob, it gets real dangerous, because …
Bob: "Let's hold up the magic mirror, and let's see who we see. I see Susie, I see Betty, I see Jack, I see Dennis" – now, do you know who that is?
Dennis: Well, the first thing that came to my mind was "Romper Room."
Bob: That's exactly right.
Dennis: Who it is, I have no idea.
Bob: I don't remember. Do you remember the lady's name from Romper Room?
Miss PattyCake: I think they had a number of ladies, but I'm not sure who it was.
Dennis: By the way, that's Jean Thomason, Miss PattyCake …
Bob: Better known as Miss PattyCake. That's why we're doing this little tour through children's things – see if you remember this …
Dennis: I need to say, though, "Romper Room" was the first thing that came to my mind, but how many of our listeners …
Bob: … remember "Romper Room?"
Dennis: Well, even know anything about "Romper Room."
Bob: Try this one, all right – [all sing] "Ting, ting, ting, ting ting" …
Dennis: "Captain Kangaroo."
Bob: Good job, Dennis.
Dennis: Do you want to get "Tom Terrific" while you're at it?
Bob: Try this – [sings] "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful for a neighbor, would you be mine, could you be mine?" You know who that is, don't you?
Dennis: I do and, in fact, I used to put his voice on at the dinner table when my kids would not do their chores – "Boys and girls, we're going to take out the garbage. We're going to carry out the garbage cans. Are we going to have fun here? Would someone help me with my slippers and my little sweater as I watch you carry out the garbage."
Bob: Yeah, and they'd go, "Oh, Dad." Try this one, this is a little tougher, all right? This would be, [sings] "We're singing praises, we're singing praises, we're singing praises unto J-e-s-u-s our Savior."
Dennis: Could it be Miss PattyCake?
Bob: No, this would be the precursor, maybe two generations before Miss PattyCake, do you think?
Dennis: Jean, do you know who it is?
Miss PattyCake: Salty.
Bob: "Salty, the Singing Songbook."
Dennis: Yeah, we didn't have any Salties.
Bob: You didn't get Salty at your house?
Dennis: We had saltines but …
Bob: "The Doughnut Man," did you have the "Doughnut Man?" [sings] "Without God's love, [Miss Pattycake joins in] it's like a doughnut, like a doughnut.
Dennis: There's a reason why we're focused on children today. That's because children represent the future generation of homes and families that are going to run our factories and our cities, our nation, and they need character, they need a conscience, and, most importantly, they need a relationship with Jesus Christ. We have a heart for children to come to faith in Christ.
Bob: And, in fact, we're hoping that many of our listeners have that same heart and will join us in a very exciting event that is scheduled – well, actually, you can schedule it whenever you want, but between now and Easter we're hoping a lot of families will join us in the Second Annual World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt.
Hear the applause? There we go.
Dennis: I'm excited, Bob, because we had over 3,000 families sign up on the Internet a year ago to do this, and we had over 70,000 downloads of the materials and information on how to put this on. So we have no idea how many actually did it, but I have run into people – I've received e-mails, letters, from folks all across the country, and, Jean, I know that you have a heart for this, because you are all about evangelizing preschoolers as Miss PattyCake. You do videos, books, what's a discog – discography, what is that?
Miss PattyCake: You said that well. Those are the CDs that we make of just the audio portion of all the songs that we sing.
Dennis: Bob knew that.
Bob: I knew that, sure.
Dennis: Of course, he did. She appears all over the country at different events including you were a Dove Award nominee?
Miss PattyCake: Right – very exciting for us.
Dennis: And her DVD, "Miss PattyCake's Extravaganza" has now gone gold.
Miss PattyCake and Bob: You've got to say "Eggs-travaganza."
Dennis: Excuse me – "Eggs-travaganza" has gone gold.
Bob: And that takes the Resurrection Eggs, the product that FamilyLife has been producing for almost a decade now, and you use that as the centerpiece of telling the Easter story for preschoolers.
Miss PattyCake: I have loved to tell you what a miracle that was, and what – how much fun it is to see God bring something into reality that has been in your heart and mind, which I know you've seen so many times in your life, but someone gave me the Resurrection Eggs when my children were 3 and 4 years old, and I brought them in and opened them up, and all their bright colors, and I already was beginning to work with Miss PattyCake. Miss PattyCake is 10 years old, by the way, this year, and I brought them to my husband, and he works with Integrity Music, and I said, "Honey, look at this. This is fabulous. This is a Miss PattyCake video." And he said, "Okay, yeah, fine, right, whatever." And so I just tucked it away. I felt like Mary. I've pondered these things in my heart, and I said, "Lord, this is fabulous. I love this presentation. It's perfect for little ones, they can see these little" …
Dennis: They can touch it.
Miss PattyCake: They can touch it, they can say, "Ooh, little hands that pray."
Dennis: There's a mystery to it, because you're opening eggs.
Miss PattyCake: Because you're opening them – what is it?
Dennis: What's in the next egg, the blue egg, the red egg?
Miss PattyCake: Right, it's empty, why? All those things that we've worked with them so we know them so well, and it took three years for this desire of my heart to come back around through a friend here at FamilyLife and when I was working with Women of Faith, and I had the opportunity to come here to FamilyLife, and I saw the eggs in the store, and I said to this friend, "Look, there are those fabulous eggs. I love that you do" – I said, "I have had it in my heart for three years to do a video," and he said, "Oh, my goodness, come down the hall and say this to someone else," and that was the beginning of the dream, which now is reality, and which now we've sold about 70,000.
Dennis: Well, we have a dream, too.
Miss PattyCake: Good!
Dennis: We have a dream of a million children hearing the story about Jesus Christ this Easter.
Bob: This year at Easter.
Miss PattyCake: Woo!
Bob: And, you know, if our listeners would pitch in and plan to do one of these neighborhood Easter egg hunts, and just invite – I don't know how many neighbor kids are in your neighborhood, but if you had a dozen, well, all it takes is 100,000 folks doing a dozen, and you've got a million-two kids who hear the Gospel story at Easter. And you may think, well, some of those kids already know the Easter story. That's fine. They can hear it again and again just like we can, as adults. And there are some who have never heard this. In fact, that – I know you find this – some kids are hearing the Easter story for the first time, not just because they're little but because they don't live in homes where this is talked about. It's just not been a part of their culture.
Miss PattyCake: I love the fact that grandmothers constantly come to me and say, "Thank you so much. I now have a way to get the Gospel into the home of my unsaved children who have my grandchildren." They won't come to church, but they will watch a children's video, and we labored at Integrity Music to write the songs that would communicate the truth that you find in these eggs so that even the children are hearing, and the parents are also hearing, "one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, Jesus made a way to heaven."
Bob: And some of the parents are hearing them more than they'd like to hear them, frankly. Tell our listeners about the guy you ran into.
Miss PattyCake: Well, the thing that you would know, especially if you are the parent of a preschool child, is that they love repetition, and they don't get tired of things. If they like it, they say, "Again, again," or "More, more," or, as one of my friends tells me who has a two-year-old, this child can only say "Cake," and that's what he says, you know, he thought the child wanted cake for breakfast when he got up and said, "Cake, Daddy, cake," and his wife had to explain that he wanted Miss PattyCake.
But I was at a conference recently, I think it was the Christian Booksellers Conference, and I was in my costume as Miss PattyCake, and a fellow walked around the corner and saw me, and he said to me, "Oh, you're Miss PattyCake." And I said, "Yes, I am," and he said, "You know, my children love you and watch your videos every day all the time," and I said, "Great, I'm so glad, that's good to hear. That's why we do what we do," and then he said these words as he leaned into me, he said, "I just want to say one thing – 'I hate you.'"
Dennis: I've had that response to some of my books, but never to me personally.
Miss PattyCake: No, I laughed and laughed, because I said, "I understand." He said, "Yes, I never want to hear you sing again as long as I live," because his children watch it every day. I suppose it can get annoying when your kids love it, but a great thing about that is music goes to a different part of their brain than the spoken word, and they'll get it like we got "Jesus Loves Me," when we were little, these children are getting these songs, and they're seeds.
Dennis: Well, and what we want is we want children to get the story of Easter, and we want them to see it through the visual illustration of the Resurrection Eggs, and we want your children to be a part of an outreach that's occurring all across the country. We have some great stories we're going to tell this week that are really going to highlight what God has done in the past, but I think there is going to be even greater stories this year.
We had one woman in Nebraska – I think the town was Fremont, Nebraska …
Bob: That's right, Fremont.
Dennis: She went all over town and tried to get Wal-Mart behind it; she tried to get the churches behind it and make it a city-wide outreach to her whole community to reach out to the children of that community. Now, think about that – that's leaving a legacy for future generations that's going to matter for all of eternity.
Bob: Well, we've got another legacy-leaver on the line with us from Newport, Vermont, and she was involved in doing one of these neighborhood Easter egg hunts last year with kids in her neighborhood, and her name is Fonda [ph]. Fonda, welcome to FamilyLife Today.
Fonda: Thank you.
Dennis: Hi, Fonda, this is Dennis Rainey.
Fonda: Hi, Dennis.
Dennis: You were a part of the World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt a year ago, and you wrote me and said it was a step out of your comfort zone.
Fonda: Yes, it was.
Dennis: What do you mean by that?
Fonda: Well, I have always been a little – I'm not afraid to share my faith, but to reach out to people in my neighborhood that I really don't know was scary for me. So I thought approaching people that might look at me like I was crazy or, "Who is this Jesus freak coming through my door?" That was the stumbling block for me.
Bob: So you got up the courage, and you went through the neighborhood and invited kids to come. What happened?
Fonda: Well, I made a list of kids that I knew, or families that I knew that I thought had kids, intentionally choosing ones that I didn't think were churched or saved, and so I decided since I didn't know them, the best thing to do would be to hand-deliver the invitations, and I used the invitations that you had on your website, so that's what I did. Some people weren't there, and there were a few of the parents that I knew, so I had signed my name and everything, and I just taped it on their door. I went equipped with Scotch tape.
The few that I met, I just told them what I was doing just real briefly, and said I hoped that they would come. I did it about a week ahead, a week-and-a-half maybe, so that they wouldn't forget.
Bob: And did anybody look at you like "What are you doing on my doorstep, you weird woman?"
Fonda: No, no, God was very good to me.
Dennis: I want to say something about that, because didn't you find that people were kind of happy to see someone in their neighborhood introducing yourself to them and talking with them about their children?
Fonda: Well, yes, yes.
Bob: Did you wind up with a lot of kids showing up on the day of the hunt?
Fonda: Well, I had eight children show up besides my own. So there were 12 in all – 12 kids.
Dennis: That's cool.
Bob: And tell us how the event went? Did you start right off with the hunt in your backyard?
Fonda: Yes, I had the Resurrection Eggs, and then I also filled a dozen other plastic Easter eggs with candy. And my husband went out, and we have three acres around our house, and he just went out and hid them all around. When the kids came, we introduced everyone, and I had a basket for each pair. So I paired them up, and I just told them the parameters, where to go looking, and they went out, and it was chilly, because we're in Northeast Vermont. So that was one of the things I worried about. I didn't know what the weather was going to be like. We could have had a foot of snow or none, but it ended up being a pretty good day, and they went out and found them pretty quickly. We didn't want it to take too long.
Then they brought them in, and we separated the ones – the Resurrection Eggs, because I had them numbered in order, and so I gathered them in the living room and had them open them, one at a time. And I used the guide that comes with the eggs and just very briefly, when they opened the egg, I would ask, "Does anyone know what this stands for in the Easter story?" And, of course, my children knew, but I told them that I wasn't going to be letting them answer. I prepped them ahead of time. And so I just briefly said, "Well, this is what this means, this is what the crown of thorns stands for, this is what the leather strip means," and I went through each one, and then after that was done, I moved them into the family room, and I had an animated version of the Easter story, "He Is Risen."
Dennis: That's a great idea.
Fonda: And I was really pleased. Some of the parents watched it, too, because I had six parents stay, too. So they watched it. They heard the whole story when we opened the eggs. They watched the video, and then afterwards we just had refreshments. Then, as they left, I handed each child a New Testament, and said, "You can find the story in this book if you want to read it again." And then they left, and they each got to take some of the chocolate eggs and stuff home, too.
Bob: Now, that was all a year ago. In the months that followed that, did that open the door for you to be able to have additional spiritually based conversations with neighbors?
Fonda: Oh, you wouldn't believe what has come from that one event. I just think God had really been putting it on my heart to reach out to my neighborhood, and I think my doing it was obedience, and He blessed that obedience. The really huge thing that happened, though, that I was really pleased with was this family that my cousin had been witnessing to. They came, and I kept in touch with her. It gave me a connection. You know, I would see her, and we'd be able to chat, and then we had our Vacation Bible School in July, and I invited her to that. She came with her children, and since then they have been coming to church quite regularly, and two weeks ago her husband accepted the Lord.
To me, you know, it wasn't because of what I did. My cousin had been planting seeds for years. You know, it's just the culmination how God used all those different events in the steps.
Bob: The reality is none of it is because of anything we do. It's because of the Holy Spirit. But you were obedient to the prompting of the Lord and joining with us in the World Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt, and God put His blessing on that, didn't He?
Fonda: That's right, and that, for me, is so humbling to see how I could be used in that small way, you know, to reach these people.
Dennis: I have to ask you at this point, it's really not that difficult to do this, is it?
Fonda: Well, it was really encouraging to me to get the things over the Internet. You know, just e-mailed saying, "Now it's time to send out your invitations." The different prompts, because for me being nervous about it, it kind of held me accountable. It reminded me I had decided – I'd committed to doing this, and then to have the reminders and the encouragement and knowing that you guys were all praying for all of us out here that we're doing this was really helpful. It made a big difference, I think.
Dennis: Well, we appreciate you, and I have to ask – what did your children get out of it? Because as I've talked to moms and dads around the country, many of the children have really owned this as their outreach now. It's not just the parents' outreach. They really want to go door-to-door and see other kids exposed to the Savior's story as well.
Fonda: Well, my children have always been very sensitive to sharing the Lord with unbelieving children. They are very happy and excited to do that. So I have done the Resurrection Eggs with them for the last three or four years previously, but I said this year we're not going to focus on us, we're going to focus on others who don't know the Easter story, and they were fine with that, and they had a ball. And they said, "Are we going to do this every year?" And I know there were children who couldn't make it last year that I want to try to get to this year. So they're very happy to do it, and they get thrilled when they know that someone has come to the Lord or they start seeing them in church and Vacation Bible School.
And there's other kids that we've gotten to know since then that we can now bring to this.
Dennis: And, Fonda, I just want to say thanks for your faith and your courage to step out and do this.
Bob: Thanks, Fonda.
Fonda: Thanks, it was my pleasure.
Bob: You know, as she was talking about how after they'd done the hunt and opened the eggs, and she'd had a chance to tell the Easter story, then she gathered the kids in the room for a video, and I don't know what age kids she had, but if she had preschoolers, that's what the Miss PattyCake video is all about. It takes them back through the story and explains the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
Miss PattyCake: I find that – and I'm sure all parents would agree – sometimes we think that something that works for a two-year-old will also work for a 10-year-old.
Dennis: And it works for an adult, too.
Miss PattyCake: Well, sometimes it does, but the presentation certainly needs to be tailored to their age. So if you have two, three, and four-year-olds coming to your Easter egg hunt, which they would love, but then you also have 8, 9, and 10 year olds, you could put them in separate rooms and then, in one room, have maybe a teenage girl who would love to do this kind of thing – read a book or share the PattyCake version of the Resurrection Eggs. With that age child – they can sing and clap and dance and do all the songs with the video, read the book in that room, and in the other room use the information in the Resurrection Eggs that work better for a little older child so that you can tell the story in more detail that way. So you have a wonderful opportunity to reach out to children of all ages.
Bob: The point here is you're planting in the heart of children what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15 – "This is my Gospel. This is the Good News – the Jesus Christ was crucified, He was buried, and He rose again." And that's why this year at Easter we're so excited about trying to engage others, engage a whole host of folks in telling that story to kids of all ages.
Dennis: And that's why we need you – we need you – maybe on your street or in a park near your home, to host the World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt in your community – maybe be like the lady in Fremont, Nebraska, who got the whole town involved. But reach out to children, because children matter. Jesus had a real sweet attitude toward children. He said, "Hinder not the little children to come unto Me, for such is the Kingdom of God." And He calls us, really, to reach out to children. They represent the future, and there's been all kinds of research pointed out that the younger they hear the Gospel and the more often they hear the Gospel, the greater the opportunity of that child developing a spiritual capacity to embrace Christ and ultimately walk with God as they become an adult.
Bob: We've heard about churches that are doing this hunt on the church grounds the day before Easter. Other churches are using the Resurrection Eggs and the Miss PattyCake video on Easter morning at church. You know, some kids don't come to church very often, but on Easter they may be there, and what more important do you have to share with them than the Easter story in a way that will engage them?
So whether it's you doing it with some friends in your neighborhood, whether it's the church that's doing it, however it's happening, we want you to go to FamilyLife.com and get equipped. On our website, we've got all of the information you need. There's a guide that tells you how to execute an event like this. There are posters and invitations available – the complete resource can be downloaded from our website at FamilyLife.com.
And then we want to hear from you. We want to know how many families are connect with us this year in the World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. We want to see a million children hearing the Gospel at Easter this year, and we need you to be a part of that.
Go to FamilyLife.com. There's a link there, there's a place on our home page that you can click that will take you right to all of the information about the World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. You can download what you need and get started. If you need Resurrection Eggs, maybe you don't have a set. They're available from us here at FamilyLife. They are also available in Wal-Mart stores all across the country; Family Christian Stores, in fact, Family Christian has become the Easter egg hunt headquarters this year. They've got all the supplies necessary to help you out with your neighborhood Easter egg hunt.
Dennis: That's right – they're Egg-Central.
Miss PattyCake: Egg-selent!
Bob: Once again, go to our website at FamilyLife.com. You can order Resurrection Eggs, you can order the Miss PattyCake DVD, you can order the new book that Miss PattyCake has on Resurrection Eggs where the story is told in poem form, is that correct? And other resources that are available from us here at FamilyLife. Once again, the website is FamilyLife.com or give us a call at 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.
Well, tomorrow we're going to give you some more ideas, some great suggestions on how you can be part of a movement – the World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt taking place in just a few weeks. I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.