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Welcome! This is where it all began. I no longer post on this website and some of the content reflects former convictions and understandings. Some of these posts are hard core on issues that I am softer on these days. I deleted many posts that I feared would lead people into legalism, so if you find a missing hyperlink that may be why. These days I write at Covered By His Hand.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Raising meat eaters

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby"
1 Peter 2:2 (KJV)

"I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." 1 Cor 3:2 (KJV)

Paul and I are eager to raise children that hunger for the Truth of God's Word. We want them to be spiritual meat eaters. We often talk about what we can do to raise spiritually healthy children. I want to share with you some of our ideas, admitting that our children are yet young. However, I will say up front that we believe that Christian parents should try to pass on their beliefs and expect their kids to grow up to love and serve God as well.
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Prov 22:6 (KJV)
First and foremost we read the Bible to our children. We do not read them story Bibles (at least not as the "main dish"), we read to them out of the actual Bible. We stop often to explain terms and ideas. (It is often the ideas of the story that need explanation. For example: Lot offers his daughters to the men of Sodom or Lot's daughters get him drunk...) Kids are SO much smarter than we give them credit for! I think that kids will rise to the expectations that we have for them (tongue in cheek, I admit that my oldest is only 6...).

Secondly, we do not watch Bible-based kids' videos. I know that many of you disagree with me - that's ok. But, don't tune me out, let me explain. Paul and I do not allow the kids to watch Veggie Tales**, because the stories are often misconstrued or misinterpreted. My fear is that to make the stories fun and entertaining the truth of Scripture has been watered down. (Remember, this post is about teaching your kids to crave the MEAT of the Bible). I am not entirely against making learning fun, BUT if you have to change the Bible story to do it - then it borders on heresy. I know that when I used to watch the movies with my kids I would often forget how the stories really went.
For example:
- Peas did not throw slushies off the walls of Jericho. The people of Jericho were terrified of the God of Israel and hid within their walls.
- David did not have a rubber duckie fettish. He lusted after another man's wife and sinned grievously because of his desire for her.
- Esther did not fear being banished to the isle of perpetual tickling. She feared for her life, because no one was allowed to appear before the king uninvited.

Maybe you think I am nit-picking. But, Paul and I are doing our best to make sure that our kids don't just grow up to learn about the Bible, but that they learn the Bible!

Thirdly, we do not allow entertainment or media in our home that does not share our biblical worldview. This will change as our children age and become capable of discerning things for themselves. For the time being, we keep the tv in the closet - we aren't missing out on much.

Lastly, we homeschool. We feel that we are better able to decide what the children should be taught than the public school system. ALSO, we want them to grow up to be Christ-centered, and how can we manage that when they spend 8 hours a day at a godless institution? Since God gives us knowledge and in Him all things were made - it is only natural that all school subjects focus on Him! (As a side note that maybe should have been on my first point: Have you ever thought of all the things your kids learn from the Bible? World history, Math, Civics, Science, Music, English/spelling/grammar/writing, and more).
"And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes." Deut 6:5-8 (KJV)
We need to teach our kids daily. Some may think that it is odd that our family reads the Bible at every meal time. But, isn't that what we see in the verses above? From what I have seen, it is very unlikely that children will grow up to love the Word and love God if they do not do it at home DAILY. Learning about God will just become something we do at church on Sundays. This is the pattern that I see. This is the reason that 9 out of 10 kids who go to church with their parents stop doing so at age 18! (God can intervene and break this pattern. Neither Paul or I were homeschooled. Neither of us had regular family worship growing up. But, God accomplished his Will in spite of these things. There is nothing too big for God - but let's not put Him to the test.)

So many Christian parents are concerned over feeding their kids' physical bodies. Our kids' bodies are important (feed them those veggies and that wheat bread). BUT, their souls are of even greater importance! Feed your little sheep!


**We don't mind the stories that are teaching Bible truths without massacring the Bible narrative. And, we find the silly songs quite funny (we let the kids watch the silly songs videos).

3 comments:

Alice C. said...

Excellent post! We have discussed these same issues in our house. We DID let our kids watch the Veggie Tales, but they were all a little bit older than your kids when they watched them all. They never got really into them. I think those videos are hilarious for older kids and adults who already know the stories really well and can really understand the sly humor in them. They just confuse younger kids.

Also--another related issue: why, in Sunday School classes, do most church seem to just teach the Bible "stories" as stories and not as historical truth? We aren't teaching our children to think with a Biblical worldview overall. I know so many people who grew up going to Sunday School but somehow received the impression that those were just "stories" and not real history! How sad is that?

Bethany W. said...

Alice,

Veggie Tales are ridiculously funny for grown ups, I agree with that. But, part of what I am asking is, "Do we want to make the Bible into something funny and light-hearted? Should we laugh at these videos or cry?" Can you imagine what Jonathan Edwards or John Bunyan would have thought of this seemingly harmless amusement? You raise a good point that different ages of children will respond differently. As I mentioned in my post, I used to watch Veggies with my kids A LOT. I saw them so much that I would forget how the real Bible story went! I say this to confirm that even older children/adults can get confused too. If an adult is rooted in Scripture, that can be an opportunity to discuss the real story with older children. But I agree with you that "they just confuse younger kids."

As for your comments on Sunday School - let's just say you have opened a can of worms. Paul and I tend to think that age-segregated Sunday School classes are unnecessary or even harmful. (This goes along with our idea of family-integrated worship). But I will save that topic for another post and try to stay on task...

It is very sad that some teachers may overlook the importance of teaching their children that the Bible is real. But, is it a Sunday School teacher's job to introduce these concepts? No - that should happen at home (with the believing family). Reading from the Bible and putting it in real historical context is a difficult job for any Sunday School teacher.

I teach Sunday School every other month (ages K-6). I set aside the LifeWay curriciulum and design my own based on The Big Picture Bible Timeline (coloring pages). This particular book (at least my copy) has some errors and the pages came out of order, but it is still an adequate tool for helping the kids to see events in chronological order.

In this age when public schools are laboring so hard to indoctrinate their charges with a Godless worldview that teaches the world was formed by cosmic accident, it is VERY important that we strive to present the Bible as real history!

Thank you for bringing up that point!

Bethany

Alice C. said...

Ahhhh...we could discuss these things for hours! Eric and I (as you know) are in TOTAL agreement with you on the family-integrated issue, and the fact that it isn't the Sunday School teacher's job to teach our children the Bible. (Or the Youth Pastor's, either, when they are teenagers...but that's another whole can of worms...)

On the Veggie Tales issue--you bring up a very good point when you say "Do we want to make the Bible into something funny and light-hearted?" When I stop and seriously think about it, my answer must be No. We want to be as serious as possible about God's Word.

Now--I DO like the Veggie videos that are NOT Bible-story based...but that's off the topic here.