The story of Cain and Abel is a window of opportunity to discuss issues that are close to the hearts and minds of preschoolers. It is a story about jealousy, anger, fear, and morality.
1. Cain and Abel are the sons of Adam and Eve. They were born after Adam and Eve were sent forth from the Garden of Eden.
2. Eve first gave birth to Cain, then to Abel.
3. Cain worked the land while Abel was a shepherd.
4. Some years went by and both Cain and Abel made an offering unto God.
5. Cain bestowed vegetables to God, whereas Abel sacrificed his best sheep and their milk.
6. God preferred Abel's sacrifice to Cain's.
7. Cain, in a fit of rage, anger, and jealousy, killed Abel in the field.
8. God the all-knowing asked Cain: "Where is your brother?" and Cain replied: "I know not; am I my brother's keeper?" God then asks: "What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me from the ground."
9. God proceeds to curse Cain to wander the earth as a fugitive.
10. Fearing that others, upon seeing him, will desire to kill him as retribution for his evil deed, Cain asks God to spare him. God then marks Cain and states that anyone who kills Cain will be punished sevenfold.
When telling this story, I try to gravitate away from the murder and focus the discussion on one of the following topics:
God preferred Abel's offerings and that hurt Cain's feelings. How do you feel when someone rejects your present?
We are told that God favored Abel's offering because it was from his heart and he chose the best sheep, whereas Cain who did not choose the best of his crop.
I talk to the children about the importance of giving and the difference between giving a broken toy or a toy that we love and have a difficult time giving up. A true act of kindness is in giving up something that you cherish rather than something that you no longer need.
This story is about law and order. God establishes the rules of the land. If the rules are broken then you will be punished. Later on, The Ten Commandments reinforce these laws, e.g. 'Thou Shall Not Kill' is a clear reflection of a commandment arising from the Cain and Abel story.
If you feel this is a topic that will touch your children and will contribute to their development, then I would suggest discussing the importance of rules in the home, the classroom, on the road etc. You can also discuss the Ten Commandments and how rules are enforced in order for our society to function well.
Check out this Good Fruit Bad Fruit Mobile as a follow up activity for this story