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.
- 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).