Show this video from YouTube about sheep herding. (Click HERE.) If you are like me, the only knowledge of anything to do with sheep comes from the movie "Babe"!!
“Have you ever seen a sheepherder in one of our western mountain canyons directing the sheep? He is usually at the rear of the flock, slouched down on his horse, sound asleep. And doing the work are half a dozen small dogs yapping and barking at the heels of the sheep. He is a sheepherder."
“A few months ago in Munich, Germany, I saw a true shepherd. There he was with staff in hand, singing, walking in front of his flock; and the flock followed behind him. When he turned to the left, the sheep turned to the left; when he went to the right, they went to the right. There were no dogs barking at the heels of his sheep. They indeed knew their shepherd and were following the pathway he took.” (Pathways to Perfection, p. 93.)
Explain that a shepherd takes care of sheep. The sheep know the shepherd’s voice, and they follow where he leads them. Point out that the shepherd does not herd the sheep from behind. He walks in front of them to show them where to go. The shepherd leads his sheep to green pastures where they find good grass to eat. He also leads them to water. At night he leads them back to the sheepfold, which is a walled or fenced area or a cave where the sheep are safe from wild animals and thieves. The shepherd stands guard at the entrance to the sheepfold and protects his sheep. The shepherd counts his sheep to make sure that not one is lost.
There are so many beautiful paintings and prints of Jesus with sheep. I have one hanging in my dining room. I didn't include the pictures in this post for copyright purposes. I think it would be a good idea to show a few different pictures to your children.
Have the children tell you how Jesus is the Good Shepard.
Help the children understand that they are some of the sheep in Jesus’ fold. Explain that the Savior compared himself to a shepherd because he loves and cares for each of us like a shepherd cares for the sheep. He wants each of us to be safe and happy. Just as a shepherd knows each sheep, Jesus knows each one of us. We are all important to him. How do you feel knowing Jesus left the 99 to find the one lost sheep?
Play "Don't Eat Sheep". This is just like "Don't Eat Pete" only I made the game board with sheep. It is my children's most requested game!! The instructions are on the sheet if you are not familiar with it.
Click HERE to download the PDF of the game.
I discovered that my 5 year old colors all of the handouts whether they need it or not. Here are 2 different ones in case your children love coloring too!!
How do you feel Jesus looking after you? What does it mean to you to know how much Jesus cares about all his sheep? How can we love and care for others in the same way?