Johnny Appleseed Modeled Life’s Fruit

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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.

By Beth Pinyerd

This coming Sunday, Sept. 26, we honor and celebrate the Birthday memory of Johnny Appleseed, whose real name is John Chapman. Personally, I love to teach and celebrate Johnny Appleseed legend as an intergenerational activity with the young and the elderly.

Who was Johnny Appleseed? He was an early American pioneer who planted apple trees in the 1800s in the Ohio Valley, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, northern parts of West Virginia as well as Ontario.  He was fascinated by the westward movement across the continent. As he traveled west, he planted trees as he went his way. Johnny Appleseed sold the trees to the settlers so this is how the legend started.

Johnny Appleseed’s life was simple and loving as he spent time telling stories to children and spreading the gospel to adults as he planted trees. He pointed out the goodness of God in nature and guided others to appreciate God’s World. 

Johnny Appleseed wore a tin pot which served as a cap and a mush pot to cook in. I love teaching children about Johnny Appleseed by wearing a pot and handle on my head to illustrate his simple but fruitful life. He had such a respect for all animals including insects. Young children love to hear the American folklore regarding Johnny Appleseed not building campfires because of destroying God’s creatures such as insects. Too, one snowy night, Johnny Appleseed was going to spend the night in a hollow log by building a warm fire at the open end of the log. When he spotted a bear and cubs occupying the hollow log, rather than disturbing the bears and cubs he just moved his fire to the other end of the log and spent the night on the cold snow.  Johnny Appleseed befriended people and animals.  It was something how Johnny Appleseed took tiny apple seeds, planted and grew apple trees everywhere.

One activity that young and elderly truly enjoy is to cut a big juicy red apple horizontally and ask your listeners what they will see.  After carefully cutting the apple horizontally, one will see a star in the middle of the apple.  This is a good time to teach your listeners the many parts of the apple. First of all, we have the skin of the apple which protects the longevity of the fruit life.  The skin contains nutrients which are good for our health.  Next we have the stem of the apple.  The stem does contain the nutrient of fiber and iron but because the stem usually does not appeal to our taste we usually throw the stem away.  Our next apple part is the pulp which is called the flesh of the apple.  The pulp is full of nutrition such as vitamin C, pectin, calcium and many other nutrients. There are so many different kinds of apples that vary in taste. There is Gala, Red Delicious, Fuji and Classroom Observer’s favorite is Honey Crisp, etc.  Last but not least is the apple seed, which is found in the core of the apple. They contain minimal medicinal purposes.  With young children we look at the apple seeds and not ingest them. 

Delicious snacks which highlight the lesson of Johnny Appleseed are homemade or store bought applesauce and cinnamon apples prepared before hand with your favorite recipe.  Too, there are baked apples served in the frozen food sections in the store that can be warmed up.  Too, everyone enjoys a slice of apple pie!

This article leans a warm heart lesson in reviewing the fruits of the spirit with our young children as well as ourselves.  As we can see, Johnny Appleseed used the very simple things in life to outreach to others in helping them and to show others care and love. 

God gives us delicious tasty fruits which we can live and serve others each and every day.   Galatians 5:22 in the Bible says “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” The heart fruit of the people in our community is so very ripe in outreach to others in times of need.  We are so blessed to have citizens who truly care. 

Love is truly the very spring and essence of life.  Love goes beyond human understanding.  God is love so when a person is filled with His Love we want to serve others.

When teaching JOY to young children, I always have my bottle of dish washing detergent JOY so they can suds up and be happy.  JOY lights up our faces and our hearts and it truly impacts others.  JOY is the inward hope that we have about life and God promises us eternal life through His son Jesus Christ.  J-Jesus, O-Others, Y-Yourselves. 

Life is a gift and happiness with who we are, which radiates peace.  Helping others with a heart of peace benefits others. 

Longsuffering is being patient and forbearing in difficult times in life.  It is facing adversities in life without growing bitter.  This is a time when self-control with love is expressed.  Forgiveness is life’s key with this fruit of the Spirit.  This encourages us to keep on living and giving to others.

Kindness represents friendliness, generous and being considerate to others.  Kindness is taking time to care. 

Goodness is doing what is right in the sight of the Lord and man.  We want to serve others with love. 

Faithfulness is trusting and knowing that God will keep His promises.  Too, this relates to people in being a trustworthy person whom others can depend on. 

Self-control is being able to restrain to do what is right in what we say and do over our entire body, soul and spirit.  Mildness and calmness diffuses into other people’s lives.

Opelika and our community not only grows fruit for us to eat, but it provides fruit for us to live by and to share with others.  Those of us who have lived in other places realize that our community is a little heaven on earth.

This article is dedicated to the memory of my preschool director, at Trinity United Methodist Preschool, Kim Epperson, who showed this retired teacher a lot of love in extending an invitation to continue to teach young children which is truly the love of my life. Kim was love in every description of the word for young children, families and the community. 

Classroom Observer 
Beth Pinyerd

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