As a mother of two little girls, I find there are many activities that compete for our time, attention and wallets. In a culture where children are busier than adults with their activities, I find that my most treasured, connecting way to spend to spend time with my children doesn’t involve a schedule, sign-up nor strategy. There isn’t a uniform or a schedule. We don’t have to race out the door–the beginning and end times are open-ended. Often you will find a comfy chair, sofa, or your lap the best location, and sitting Indian style on the carpet works great too.
Reading and re-reading stories, laughing, discussing, remembering and creating closeness over the shared experience of establishing a love for the written word has been a meaningful way to connect and share closeness with my girls. We giggle, fantasize, make up our own endings, sometimes analyze what is happening in the story and bond over using our imaginations.
Taking reading one step further, I try to carve out time to read Biblical stories with my children as well. I can’t depend solely on Sunday school classes or youth groups, VBS programs (though all wonderful and enriching) to teach my children about God and the gospel message. An easy-to-use guide that helps teach the Bible in a simple way for children preschool-age through high school is called, Long Story Short, By Marty Machowski. The book guides readers through ten-minute devotionals that highlight the gospel through Old Testament stories. Of course, there are many resources out there, but all you need to start with is a Bible and your voice.
Teaching bible truths to our children and helping them to see how God’s principles are applicable to their lives requires time, explanation, discussion and guidance from us. If children have the opportunity to discover how God was at work in peoples’ lives in Biblical times and how He is at work in their own lives by applying His truths to their circumstances, we are helping them grow in their understanding of Him so that their faith can become personal. As parents, it is our job to provide our children with instruction, teaching and examples of what a walk with God looks like, but ultimately, we cannot give them their personal faith. We can only provide an environment for learning about what it entails.
Pray and ask God for wisdom in listening to your child’s questions and for God to give you the right words to help him/her understand the truth about God as He reveals it, and that He would create a willing and believing heart in your child.
This summer, read aloud to your hearts content with your children and include the Bible. All of the best stories about God and who He is can be discovered right from your couch, where you can grow your relationship, a reader and a love for the Lord.