Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Why Can't the English?"

In the early days of Sermons4Kids I gave little thought to language.  I assumed that my audience lived in the USA and spoke English just like me, my neighbors, and the members of my local church.  As the years have passed, God has greatly expanded the reach of our ministry.  Last year there were over three million visitors to our web site from more than 200 different countries around the world.  Our Sermon of the Week email mailing list is approaching 75,000.  This has resulted in some enlightening experiences for me!

Recently our lesson was based on Exodus 16 about God providing manna in the wilderness for the children of Israel.  The object used to launch the message was called "Monkey Bread." I even provided a simple recipe made from canned biscuits.  Here are some of the comments I received from our friends in the United Kingdom:

"What are canned biscuits?"

"What you call biscuits, we call scones."

"What we call biscuits, you call cookies."

"Do you mean scones or biscuits?"

"What people in the U.S. call a can, we call a tin."

"Why would anyone put scones in a tin can?"

"How much butter is 'a stick of butter?'"

Oh my! What I thought was a simple lesson to teach children about manna in the wilderness turned out to be a lesson in "English" for me.

Most of our lessons include a coloring page.  In the UK, they think it should be a colouring page.  A few weeks ago our lesson was about "Playing Favorites."  The word "favorite" was used in the word search puzzle.  I was reminded by a friend from "across the pond" that he had to explain to his children that "favorite" should actually be "favourite."

It all reminds me of that song, "Why Can't the English?" from "My Fair Lady."