Not all of my ideas see the light of day!
We have a running joke at Loyola Press about “Joe’s Mr. Potato Head Idea.” A few years ago, when I was working on activities for the Finding God junior high catechist manual, I found myself working on a lesson focusing on the giving of the Law with an emphasis on Deuteronomy 6:4-9. This passage contains what the Jewish people refer to as the Shema, the basic principle of the whole Mosaic law and the centerpiece of morning and evening Jewish prayer:
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.”
In my reflection on this passage, I was particularly drawn to verse 7: “Drill them into your children.” To illustrate this idea, I thought it would be fun for the catechist/teacher to bring in several Mr. Potato Head toys and to “drill” a whole (actually the whole in the head is already provided for placing a hat) in the head and then to insert a small scroll of paper with the words of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 into it.
My colleagues thought the idea was too violent and it was vetoed, ending up on the cutting room floor. Ever since then, whenever I’m asked to write some activities for various lessons, I am reminded, “…and NO Mr. Potato Heads!” 🙂
Anyway, as a shrine to my failed idea, I now keep this Mr. Potato Head in my office (you can see the Shema “drilled” into his head!)