Tuesday, August 30, 2011
In many cases, we heard the Bible reading, but we never really listened. While the content of those devotions was probably great, what was missing was enthusiasm—the kind you show when you’re about to sink your fork into a fabulous piece of pie or head outdoors on an exciting adventure.
In his book Helping Our Children Grow in Faith, Robert J. Keeley talks about the importance of sharing stories in a way that encourages kids to “live into” them. Keeley does this by asking “wondering questions” about the story and inviting listeners to think about how the people felt and why they did the things they did. Asking questions like these—with no right or wrong answers—gets kids interested in Bible stories because they invite kids to actively listen and respond.
Consider changing locations to go with the story—sit outside to read the story of creation or crawl under the table to read a psalm about how God surrounds and protects us. Or connect stories to your meal—try fish for supper or talk about what it means to be “fishers of people” during dessert!
Pay some attention to the Bible version you choose for reading with kids. With my school-age kids we’ve been reading The Message. Try the Contemporary English Version or the New International Readers Version for kids younger than grade 5, and challenge older kids with your favorite “adult” version.
Finally, remember that the people in the Bible were living, breathing, moving people just like you and me. Put yourself in their shoes. Ask your kids what they would have done if their brothers had put them in a well and left them there . . . or what they would have done if there was one type of tree whose fruit they were not supposed to eat. Their answers may surprise you!
This article was adapted from Home Grown: Handbook for Christian Parenting by Karen DeBoer (Faith Alive 2010, www.faithaliveresources.org). Karen is an early childhood educator and a curriculum editor who's been involved in children's ministry for more than 25 years. She and her husband, Ron, are the parents of four girls.