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Oh, No! A Wrong Reaction

Do a simple experiment to show how our anger can grow and hurt others.

Items Needed: Cup or glass; liquid dishwashing detergent; 2 tablespoons of baking soda; vinegar; red food coloring (optional); baking pan (or do this in the sink)

Fill the cup/glass almost full with warm water.

Add several drops of the red food coloring and a few drops of the liquid detergent.

Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda.

Slowly pour vinegar into the bottle and jump back quickly!

A chemical reaction has just happened. When baking soda and vinegar mix, it produces a chemical reaction, which produces carbon dioxide—the same gas that bubbles in a real volcano. The gas bubbles build causing the liquid to overflow.

This reminds me of how anger works in us!


How does this chemical reaction remind you of anger?

What are some things that can happen when you get angry? What can you do when you feel anger building in you? (Pray; keep your mouth shut; be careful of what you say; walk away, etc.)

Read James 3:2-8.

It is difficult to tame the tongue. When you are angry, it is easy to lose self-control and say wrong things that can hurt others. You can let your anger build until you say or do things you will be sorry for later. It is a sin to get angry and hurt others with your words or actions. It is better to stop and pray, watch what you say, and maybe walk away.

Be Careful With Your Words

Read or tell the following story:

The story is told (with many variations) about a woman who couldn’t seem to control her words. Often, she would tell things about others that were not true or were hurtful to others (gossip). She wanted to overcome her problem, so she went to the pastor for help. He gave her a simple task and asked her to return when she was finished.

She went home to find a feather pillow. The woman then went outside, tore open the pillow, and emptied all the feathers in the wind. When she was finished, the woman returned as asked.

The pastor gave her another assignment, “Go back outside and gather all the feathers.” The woman assured the pastor that such a thing would be impossible.

“You are right,” he told her. “Our words are like those feathers. Once they are released, we can never get them back. Be careful of your words BEFORE releasing them.”

If you have young children, you may want to teach them this simple song (pointing to each body part as you sing about it).

Oh, be careful little tongue what you say. Oh, be careful little tongue what you say. For the Father up above is looking down in love. Oh, be careful little tongue what you say.

Oh, be careful little ears what you hear. Oh, be careful little ears what you hear. For the Father up above is looking down in love. Oh, be careful little ears what you hear.

Getting Along With Others

At the dinner table, play “I can top that!” One person will make a statement, and then another person must make a statement that “tops” his.

For example: One person might say, “I got a new bike for my birthday.” Another person might say, “That’s nothing, I got a four-wheeler for my birthday.” Take turns making statements (even silly ones) while others take turns “topping” the statements.


How do you feel when you share good news and someone tries to “top” it?

Do you think it is a proud or a humble attitude that tries to “top” what others say?

What can you say when others tell you good news? (I’m glad; That sounds fun/neat/awesome; Wow; That’s great; etc.)

James 4:1-3 says that fights come from wanting (coveting) what other have. We should be glad when others have good things.