Kelsey Griswold-Bacigalupi

Making the Bible Practical, a Kid’s Perspective

By Marjorie F. Eddington

Categories: Education, Holy Land Tours (Games/Stories), Power of Prayer

Kelsey Griswold-Bacigalupi won the Athena Gold Medal Award for the 5th Grade National Mythology Exam in June of 2014. She scored 100% on the national exam. She is 12 and just finished 6th grade. She wrote an article on Greek myths for BibleWise, published this month, so we thought it would be fun to interview her. It’s the first time Kids’ Korner has had a guest. Kelsey shares how she uses the Bible, is a peacemaker, helps her friends, and more.

How did you get interested in Greek mythology?
I took a class in it, and it became the thing for me to do. Greek mythology is pretty fun to learn.

Can you tell me about the exam and how you prepared?
It has 40 questions, and you have 40 minutes to take it. It covers the basics and the hard stuff. I have a book that they made us buy to study. It’s called D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. We read 20 pages a night. My teacher taught us, and she talked about the Bible a bit, too.

Did you pray?
I pray every day. I prayed that I would succeed on the test. And I pray for success in my school. I also pray that I’ll have a good life and that my dad will come home safe from every business trip he goes on. When my family or friends are away, I pray for them.

How do you use the Bible? Do you have a favorite story?
I have a Bible I got when I was 6 or 8. It’s a picture Bible. I’ve worn it out reading it so much. My favorite story is of Esther and then of Jesus rising from the dead.

What do you like about Esther?
I like that Esther stood up for herself. She could have almost died. But she stood up, did the right thing, and succeeded.

Have you ever had to stand up and do the right thing?
My friends fight a lot. I’m always the mediator. It’s pretty hard for me to choose sides because they’re my friends. But they’re my friends, and I want to help them.

How do you help?
I ask what happened, and they tell me. They have different sides of the story. I help them tell each other what they think happened, and then usually they figure it out and they’re all better. It can get easier when you find out what’s wrong. But if someone is lying, then I step in and say what I think happened.

Does prayer help you help your friends?
Yes … with the differences. It’s not fun having two friends who hate each other. I can’t do this alone. I need help. So I pray before I go to bed, and usually within a short time their relationship is better.

You’re reaching out to God as Jesus did. He said he couldn’t do anything by himself but relied totally on God (John 5:30). And, you’re also following the Beatitudes. You’re being a peacemaker, like Jesus told us to be. That’s fantastic.
When I was 6, I learned about the “fruits of the Spirit,” which are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). That’s my favorite passage. And my favorite chapter is the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13). We had to memorize the whole chapter at school. I go to a Christian school.

What do you like about 1 Cor. 13?
I love the middle: ”Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs….It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (4, 5, 7 NIV).

Why do you like that? How does that help you?
Whenever my friends get in trouble, I remind them of it. They had to memorize it too. And they get better.

That’s wonderful that you’re applying the ideas in the Bible to your life. It’s pretty cool that you got to memorize that passage at school.
Every day we read some part of the Bible. We left off around the resurrection. We have Bible bowls at school that are like Jeopardy where you have to answer questions. I was a winner in 2nd grade against an 8th grader. They send a packet of questions home. My mom had me practice hard, even while I was doing chores. It paid off.

Did you like writing the article on the Greek gods for BibleWise?
It was fun. For the exam, I never got to write. I just filled in bubbles. But I like writing about them. I picked out the pictures, too. I love art and drawing. I love drawing body parts. I have an art class where I get free rein and can draw whatever I want.

Is there anything you feel you’ve learned that you’d like to share with others?
If you have a goal, stick to it. If you abandon it, you might feel guilty. It’s important to finish your work. It’s not good to just put it off and say, “I’ll do it next week or next year.” It works for any goal. If you stick to it, it’ll come back and reward you big time.

It sounds like you speak from experience.
I have a lot of stuff I have to do at school and home. Sometimes it gets overwhelming. But I know it’s important. And if I’ve promised to do something for someone, I want to keep my promise. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.

And another thing I’ve learned is that it’s important to go outside and play and not get sucked into electronics and games like Xbox, PS4, iPads, computers, other technology. I got an Xbox for Christmas, and I haven’t touched it since March. Regular kids should be going outside, going fishing with their dad, playing soccer with their friends, sketching outside. There are so many ways to enjoy the outdoors.

Having my love for Greek Mythology pay off in a Golden “Athena” Medal has really inspired me to learn more about all sorts of cultures.