Each week this summer in WOW (Wide Open World), Tenth kids are focusing on a different country where one of our global partners works. Students are sent home with a sheet profiling our partner and his work and another sheet helping them connect to that country’s culture. We encourage families to pray specifically for the partner family of the week and to help their children further explore. This week we will highlight China. Children ages 4 through grade 6 are invited to join us in the Catacombs at 6:30 PM every Sunday throughout the summer as we explore what God is doing around the world.
Focus on China
One out of every five people live in China! It’s a big country–almost the size of the United States–and contains the tallest mountain in the world. Although there are 56 different people groups--each with their own customs and often their own languages, most Chinese are Han. The Han are strongly influenced by the teaching of Confucius; they carefully treat older people with respect, value education, and emphasize good manners.
Most Chinese are atheists. Their government teaches there is no God, because it doesn’t want anything to rival people’s loyalty to their country. It has insisted that all Christians go to churches that the government controls. Many followers of Jesus refuse and go to secret house churches. The government has tried to stamp them out by imprisoning house church leaders, but rather than wither away, the church has grown even faster.
What's it Like to Live in China?
More and more Chinese are moving to cities. The factories that turn out all those things that say “Made in China” need lots of workers. They get paid less than a dollar an hour and work very long days. Workers need housing so very tall apartment buildings are being rapidly built. Families tend to be small. For thirty-five years, China has had a “one child policy.” That means anyone younger than thirty-five is an only child or has at most one brother or sister. For grade school children, that means not only do you not have brothers or sisters, you might not have aunts or uncles or cousins either. Instead children form close relationships with their school mates. School starts at 7 in the morning and goes till 4:30 or 5 in the afternoon. Mid-afternoon the children have a short nap and they have to clean the school. After supper, children study more. Free time is rare. In school the emphasis is more on learning by rote or memorizing, than on learning to think critically. In their eyes, memorizing what your teacher says is a way of showing respect.
Food in China
What people eat varies by the region they live in, but some foods are constant: In all but the coldest parts of the country, rice and tea are staples. Meals almost always include soup, which they eat at the end of the meal. Periods of famine taught the Chinese never to waste food, so they have tasty ways to fix things like fish heads—eyes and all--and chicken feet. Many Chinese start their day with a bowl of rice porridge called congee or jook. They top it with thin pieces of chicken or fish, or jujubes fruit and sugar.
Congee (rice porridge for breakfast)
Basic congee is made by putting 1 cup of rice and 8 cups of water in a pot with 1 t salt. Once it comes to a boil, cover almost completely with a lid and cook over a medium heat for about 1 ½ hours till thickened. You can substitute chicken broth for the water or, even better, first cook 1 ½ pounds of chicken with some sliced ginger in the water to make the broth. Remove the chicken before adding the rice and shred it to add to the congee before serving.
For more about Chinese food, check this site.
In our alphabet, each letter represents a sound. In contrast, Chinese writing uses pictographs which stand for ideas. Mandarin Chinese has more than 60,000 characters! About 5000 of them are used in everyday life. Try your hand at writing them. You can get step by step instructions here.
Go to this site and find answers to these questions:
- How many stars are on the Chinese flag? What does the big star represent?
- For which emperor was the terra cotta army made?
- What five virtues did Confucius teach?
- What animal is the top predator in China?