Flannel boards taught many lessons

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

Learning Bible stories with flannel boards was a significant aspect of my childhood spiritual heritage. Flannel boards went right along with Bible school, Sunday school and Mrs. Kitten Skarda, who taught children using flannel boards.

Flannel board teaching was simple. It was a cardboard covered with flannel material. The characters of the Bible were paper with flannel backing. As a teacher would teach, she or he would put one of the characters or scenes on the flannel board and it would just stick.

Through my flannel board years:

I walked with Moses on dry ground and huddled with Daniel in the lions den.

I witnessed a crippled man being let down from an opening in the roof of a house so he could see Jesus and be healed. I will never forget that one. The flannel board picture scene showed the man on the cot attached to ropes and men on the rooftop were letting him down.

I viewed Jesus walking on the water toward the terrified disciples caught in a dangerous storm.

The flannel board helped me as a child to be an eye in my mind to the great events of the Bible.

About four years ago, I had a little Bible school in my back yard with about 10 children. My sister, Susie, played the piano, and Mother decided to bring her old flannel board out of hiding. All the characters were there: Moses, Joshua, the woman at the well, young David and the older David, and Daniel and the fierce lions.

The old green, faded flannel board brought back memories. Mother started the story I had heard many times: Jesus talking to the crowd on the hillside. The crowd was hungry, and there seemed to be no human solution to the problem. But Andrew, one of the disciples, brought a little boy to Jesus. This little guy had five bread loaves and two fish.

Mother put the little boy on the flannel board, and the children watched intently as she placed the picture of the “multitude” behind the figure of Jesus. She explained about Jesus praying, blessing the five loaves and two fish and passing out the food to all the people.

Putting the baskets on the flannel board, she said, “At the end, there were baskets full of leftovers. They had more than enough to feed the people.” Then she asked, “How did Jesus feed them all with just five loaves and two fish?”

There was silence and then a 4-year-old spoke up: “Because it was Jesus.”

Although I’ve heard that story many times, this time something new came to me.

The miracle was Jesus — not the basket of food.

The lesson for me as a grown woman is this: The outcome in our lives does not depend upon the size or quantity of what we have. The outcome rests on the fact that we bring it and give it to God.

No matter how old I get, there will always be a lesson for me with the flannel board.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at:
cbrandon@plateautel.net