My husband and I have taught Sunday School numerous times during our marriage. We love trying to make the Bible stories come alive for the children. No matter how hands-on and interactive our lessons are, we always seem to have one or two children that are basically falling asleep on the table. It always concerned us that these children were getting nothing from one of the valuable hours of Bible study in their young lives.
Then one quarter, we stumbled across the answer by accident. We had written a fun unit on the Jewish holidays and how they connect to the New Testament and Jesus. As a part of each lesson, I would bring in a traditional food that was eaten when celebrating the holiday. Suddenly, my two sleepy heads perked up and participated better than almost anyone else. We had taught these two before, so we knew the difference was the food.
Out of curiosity, we started polling children when we taught Bible class. We quickly realized that the majority of children do not have breakfast before church. Add to this the fact that many of them had had much less than the ten to twelve hours of sleep recommended for elementary aged children and they just weren’t able to function. These precious little ones were getting very little out of their “formal” Bible study time. (We now serve food whenever we teach and the youth minister in our church has realized the same thing.)
As a parent, I value any opportunity my daughter has to have Bible lessons and concepts reinforced by others. If she is too hungry or tired to care, an opportunity has been wasted.
Having said that, I must admit I am the proud mother of a non-breakfast eater. I wasn’t too surprised as my mother and brother have the same problem. Nothing edible really appeals to them until very late morning.
Now normally, I am your fruit and veggie mom. However, I checked with my pediatrician who verified that your child’s diet is not ruined by breakfast alone. I now willingly offer breakfast bribes on Sunday’s or any other days where breakfast is crucial. Pop-tarts and doughnuts are fine, although I haven’t gone as far as my mom who once offered my brother apple pie and ice cream for breakfast! I have even allowed breakfast to be eaten in the car on the way to church on occasion. I realize many of you are shuddering in dismay at my lack of strictness, but sometimes trade-offs are a part of parenting. She has good table manners, is thin and fit and most importantly pays attention in Bible class.
So grab your child’s favorite breakfast food treat, tuck them in bed early on Saturday night and help your child’s Bible class teachers teach your child about God.