Hair Grows!

Hair Grows!

Have you ever had a really bad cut at the hairdressers?

It’s happened to me a few times, where it’s been cut too short, a strange shape, or even wonky. Once, one side was about an inch longer than the other!

If you’ve been there, you know the feeling: frustration, regret, disappointment. But then you remember ‘hair grows’. You cling on to that hope until the damage has finally grown out!

Perhaps you’ve not had a terrible cut. However, you can probably relate to making bad choices, trusting the wrong people, and feeling regretful and resentful.

Samson, in the Bible, was given superhero-like strength from God. He could fight lions with his bare hands. He even won a battle once against a thousand men, single-handedly, with just the jawbone of a dead animal for a weapon.

However, he also made some really bad choices. His final bad decision was spending too much time with Delilah. She was not an Israelite. Instead, she was from an enemy nation. Despite it being against God’s laws, Samson decided he wanted to be with Delilah.

Delilah was bribed by her nation to find out the source of Samson’s strength. After days of wearing him down, Samson told her the truth.

It was his hair.

Samson was a Nazarite, someone who was specially set aside for God. As a sign of this, he had not cut his hair since birth. If it was cut, God’s presence would depart from him, and he would lose his strength.

After sharing his secret, Samson carelessly fell asleep in Delilah’s lap. Without hesitation, Delilah arranged for his hair to be shaved off.

Samson was then tied up, blinded and imprisoned.

He had hit rock bottom. Samson had lost his special gift from God. Surely he could no longer fulfil his purpose and rescue Israel from its cruel oppressors, the Philistines? He was weak, blind and helpless. All seemed lost.

And then there is this one line in Judges 16:22:

“But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.”

The seed of hope. Hair grows!

Samson’s hair grew and grew. He prayed to God, and his strength came back – enough for one final act. He pushed down the pillars of a large building, destroying himself and thousands of his captors. In one sense, his last act was his greatest.

We may not have been given superhero powers like Samson, but each of us have been given our own special abilities. We’ve each been made for a purpose.

Yet, we often fail. We make mistakes. We repeat patterns of behaviour that we wish we didn’t. We make bad choices.

Sometimes, teaching the children becomes overwhelming. I lose my temper and rush through Maths without patience. Or, I snap the English rules back at a child for the umpteenth time. Sometimes, I start to think, ‘God, why have you called me to this?’

Am I failing in my purpose? Where are we all headed?

But, if God was able to make a way for Samson – when all hope was lost and he was at the end of his life – he can make a way for us to fulfil our purposes too.

As surely as hair grows, so are God’s mercies new every morning. Whatever state you’ve got yourself in at the end of a day, tomorrow is a new one.

That doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want and expect God to magically resolve everything. Samson suffered a great deal because of his selfish behaviour. But, when we humbly call out to God, he will turn around situations that seem hopeless.

When days feel like they’re spiralling away from you, remember – hair grows!

 

Science Experiment – Insulators

One of my favourite science experiments is testing which materials are the best insulators. It’s colourful, messy and hands-on. We didn’t actually use hair in our experiment. However, bubble wrap makes a good alternative and illustrates how hair works, trapping pockets of warm air around the body.

This experiment can be used when looking at animal adaptations, or when studying the explorers who first reached the North and South Poles, or as part of a study in textiles, or even during a space topic (as astronauts need to be well insulated in space).

You will need:

  • Sandwich bags
  • Feathers
  • Lard or coconut oil (solid fat to represent blubber)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Tin foil
  • Leather glove
  • Anything else you’d like to test for its insulating abilities!
  • Large bowl of water
  • Lots of ice
  • Thermometers

Instructions:

  • Prepare a large bowl of icy cold water, by adding lots of ice cubes.
  • Place your test material in one sandwich bag, then place your hand in another sandwich bag and nestle it among the material in the first sandwich bag.
  • Dunk your hand in the icy water and time how long it is before it starts to feel cold. For more accurate results you could use a thermometer. But I would definitely get the children to stick their hands in first – this stage is a lot of fun.
  • Do the same with each material.
  • Be sure to do a test run with two empty bags, to see if the materials really make any difference.
  • Ask the children how to make the test fair, e.g. should you keep the water in the bowl a consistent temperature? Should you use the same sort of sandwich bags each time? What quantity of each material should you use? (It’s probably easier to measure volume rather than weight).
  • Record your results in a table and plot them on a graph, if you like.

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