Tuesday, February 23, 2016

how to help your kids engage with the Bible

The Law is a Light. (photo credit: Betsy Barber)

Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. -Ps. 119:54
An author friend asked on Facebook:  What are some different ways you have helped your kids engage with the Bible? Go.  
It's such a great question, and I enjoyed thinking through it. Here's how I answered: 

 We read many, many Bible stories to them. 

We've read various Bible story books to the kids over the years, and we've also read the text itself to them. I think both are good. These words should be the backbone of their thoughts, the beat of their hearts.

We've taken them to churches where the Bible is read aloud and preached and taught.  

One of the things I love about the Anglican church is that the Bible is read aloud - and then preached on - at every service. When our kids are in the service, they hear it. When they're in Sunday school, they hear lessons on the same Scriptures. (And, seriously, our dear priest's wife, who leads the children's chapel at our church, should be a candidate for sainthood. I've lost count of how many times one of my kids has excitedly told me about what she or he learned from "Miss Christina"!) 
Also, our liturgy in itself is suffused with Scripture. Every time our church celebrates the Eucharist, we hear Jesus' words about communion repeated and shared.

We bring the Bible and what it says into our conversations around the dinner table. 

And elsewhere of course. But talking to our kids, listening to them, answering their questions... this is more and more of the parenting task as the kids grow and begin to think about themselves and their world and their God. Being willing to be a part of these conversations - not to run away, but to engage - is a really important important part of parenting.

I let their grandma pay them to memorize Bible verses. 

Admittedly, this was a really, really easy call on my part. :)  (Thanks, Mom!)  But in all seriousness, this is how my eldest daughter discovered her love of the Psalms, and that's a love I pray will hold her in good stead her entire life long.

We read and listen to and meditate on the Bible ourselves. 

This is probably the most important point. How could we have those dinnertime conversations about life, the universe, and everything unless we had allowed God's word to sink into our own hearts? The law of the Lord is life. Let His words ring in your ears every day, day after day.

What about you? I'd love to hear how you help your kids engage with the Bible!
Peace of Christ,
Jessica Snell

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