By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterJune 21, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Children on Fort Rucker had the chance to travel back in time through the stories of the Bible during this year's Vacation Bible School June 11-14.
Throughout the week, children had the chance to take themselves through Daniel's journey, including being taken into captivity, forced to live in a foreign land and learn about making choices, according to Nancy Jankoski, Fort Rucker Religious Support Office director of religious education.
The children were split into 12 tribes, each representing the 12 tribes of Israel, and during their travels through time they rotated through different stations to not only learn about the history of Daniel, as well as their specific tribe, but also learn about the different culture of the time and get a hands-on understanding with some of the experiences of the time.
As they rotated through the various stations, the children got the chance to try their hand at carpentry, learn about planets and constellations, and even learn to write in different languages, such as Hebrew, Arabic and Aramaic.
Learning about life in biblical times and about the choices Daniel had to make throughout his journey is something that Jankowski said can resonate with children since they will have many choices to make throughout their own lives.
"Each time, (Daniel's) choices had consequences, and each time Daniel made the right choice, even when it would lead to him being punished and sometimes placed in harm's way," she said. "There are many life lessons children can learn from the story of Daniel: about standing up for what is right, knowing what you believe and why, and having the courage to work for the good of people who are different than you are, even when you may have been mistreated," adding that Daniel never sought revenge for how he felt he was treated throughout his life by the Babylonians.
"Certainly, in our day, the idea that you must treat everyone with dignity and respect and do your best when life's circumstances aren't what you wanted or expected is an important lesson for all," said the religious education director. "Our military students are very familiar with making moves and sometimes those moves are to foreign nations. So, they can relate to Daniel and his friends being in an unfamiliar place and having to figure out how to live in a new land."
Although the VBS program is Christian-based, Jankoski said the lessons learned transcend religious denominations.
"We always use or write curriculum that teaches foundational truths that all Christian denominations have in common," she said. "This year's theme is from what Christians would call the Old Testament, and Daniel and his friends were Jewish youths who were determined to continue to be faithful to their religious beliefs."
Through the lessons of Daniel, Jankoski said they are able to help students learn to respect and appreciate each other, which is what she hoped the program was able to accomplish.
"Daniel treated all he encountered with honor and respect while remaining true to his own faith," she said, adding that she hopes the children were able to learn to do the same.