Children love to hear and read stories. Their inquisitive minds absorb the details of the stories and lead them to ask many questions. Stories from the Bible offer some interesting challenges. The characters and settings may be unfamiliar, along with the culture and history of the region. All of these details are wonderful opportunities to explain the characteristics of early Christians and the challenges they faced. They are also unique openings that allow parents to suggest applications for daily life.
Suggestions for Parents
While not everyone has the experience of a skilled teacher, almost anyone can share Biblical lessons with their kids. With a little time and effort, you'll see the effects on your young learners. Here are just a few parenting tips that will guide you in the process.
Present the Bible as fact: Pre-school and early elementary-aged boys and girls often have difficulty discerning fact from fiction. While many stories have interesting plots and storylines, it's the small details that bring the narrative to life. Use these opportunities to share the history of the Christian men and women you are reading about. Emphasize that the people and events are real, and that the stories in the scriptures are genuine. This will serve as an extremely valuable foundation for everything else you attempt to teach them.
Explain Christian values: Stories can be fun and interesting, but they serve little purpose if they don't explore scripture-based values and truths. Explain why people made the decisions they did, or why they acted in certain ways. The motives behind the behavior illuminate the values shared by early Christians.
Present-day application: The values described in the stories are just as applicable today as they were then. As you examine the various accounts given in the Old and New Testaments, point out situations in today's world that are similar. Guide your family through discussions of how and why they should use Biblical truths to make life decisions.
Following these ideas provides a framework with which to teach your children. However, you may need to do some homework. Children pick up on ideas quickly and may surprise you with interesting questions or ideas. Don't think these parenting tips apply only to the younger family members. Teenagers and young adults benefit from the same progression in learning lessons from the Bible.
Take Your Lessons on the Road
Your lessons in God's word shouldn't be limited to story time. Look for opportunities everywhere you go . You may find situations while shopping at the grocery store. Perhaps you'll encounter a perfect teachable moment while at the playground or swimming pool. Once your kids get the idea, they will start looking for ways to apply the lessons they've learned. At that point, you'll know that your effort and patience are having an impact on their young lives.
Don't stop there! Keep this as a daily routine until they are grown and ready to step out in the world on their own. You'll be pleased with the results.