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Paper, Sticks, and Support

By Kim Cimuchowski

Have you ever tried to break a stick? I’m sure most of you have. One stick at a time can be broken pretty easily. But, have you ever tried to break a handful of sticks together? I tried this in class the other day and couldn’t break them. In fact, I went down from five sticks to four to three even two; and each time I was unable to break the sticks when there were more than one.

One of the kids said, “Maybe we should pray and then you can break them.” We tried this and I still was not able to break the group of two sticks.

I then went on to ask the kids if they thought a single piece of paper could support a book. Some of the kids said, “Yes” and others said, “No way!” Then I rolled a short piece of paper up like a tube and taped it carefully. I stood it up on its end and balanced a small book on the paper. The kids were surprised, so we decided to see if it could support a second book. Sure enough, it could. We added another and another and then some heavier ones and even some Bibles. Finally, on the eighth book the paper collapsed and the books fell down.

Next I asked, “What if we put four pieces of paper together and tape them so they are bound. How many books do you think they can hold?” We got answers like 20 or 30. Well, our bound paper was able to hold more than what a single paper could hold on its own. In fact we were able to put 12 books on top of the papers before the finally bent a fell.

So you might ask, what’s the point of all of this? The point is that we are better together than we are apart. We need to support one another and strengthen one another so when one of us is weak, we can still be strong.

There’s a story in the Bible found in Exodus 17:8-13. In this Bible story, God has told Moses that he needs to go to the top of a hill and hold a staff above his head. The Israelite army is to fight against the Amerarites. Whenever Moses holds up the staff above his head the Israelites will be winning the battle. But when Moses lowers his staff, then the Israelites will be losing. Moses tries his hardest to keep the staff above his head so the Israelites can win the battle. However, as you can imagine his arms get tired and he has to lower his arms. Aaron, Moses’ brother and Hur realize what is going on and spring into action to support Moses. They move a large stone over to Moses so he can sit on it. Then, they brace his arms with theirs and support the staff up in the air for the rest of the day. Sure enough, as a result of the teamwork, the Israelites are able to win this important battle.

When I am weak, please come along and support me. And when you are weak I will be there to support you. We are stronger together than we could ever be apart.

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