Encouraging parents in their efforts to raise their children to be enthusiastic servants of the Lord.
Author: Thereasa Winnett
Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.
A few years ago, I decided to walk the Avon 3-day for breast cancer. The 3-day part involves walking sixty miles over a three day period. If you are familiar with the Atlanta area, we started at Lake Lanier and ended up in Piedmont Park! The organization gives you a very useful training schedule. That ten month training period was the most intense exercise period of my life. Motivated primarily by fear, I walked from when my daughter left for school until she returned home almost every day.
I would love to say that every year, I get up almost every morning and do my strength training and an hour of cardio. The truth is that a lot of the time life gets in the way. I am gradually learning that it is okay to drop the ball once in awhile. The trick is to remember to pick it up again as soon as you can.
I have vivid memories of my third grade Sunday School class. My teacher was a sweet older woman who took scripture memory work very seriously. She would make us write long passages like John 1:1-14 in a special notebook and then take it home and memorize it. Did I mention it was in King James English? (I think I had to walk five miles in the snow to do it!)
I have to admit I probably memorized more long passages of scripture in those few months than I have at any other point in my life. However, I still feel a slight chill when someone says to turn in your Bible to John 1:1-14 or any of the other passages we had to learn.
As our daughter became older, I wanted to find a way to help her start reading the Bible independently on a regular basis. She was a strong reader, so at first I encouraged her to read Genesis in her new student Bible. I soon realized that was a mistake. As with most people, she quickly got bogged down with the “begats” and other concepts that were not stories she could follow.
After numerous trips to Christian book stores, I finally found the perfect transition “Bible” for her. The Student Discovery Bible: A Journey Through God’s Word (Thomas Nelson), pulls over one hundred stories directly from scripture. What I really liked about it, was that in the margins it provided definitions for key vocabulary words, answers to common questions, archaeological discoveries and cultural and historical notes.
One of my weaknesses as a Christian has always been that I am inconsistent in my private Bible study. I will go sometimes as long as a year with consistent personal Bible study, but then I get distracted and am not nearly as faithful in my study times. (I am sure it hasn’t helped that most Bibles when I was a child were of the King James variety.) I have worked hard my entire life to try and make daily Bible reading a consistent habit. I wondered if I could find a way to make it a more natural habit for my own child.
I began reading a Bible story to her every day when she was an infant. I can picture sitting in the rocker holding her before she could even sit up on her own and reading the Bible story to her. I used the Baby Bible Storybook by Robin Currie and Cindy Adams. You can choose any baby or toddler Bible, but preferably one with lots of bright pictures and few words. (I have not really found them to be inaccurate, but you may want to read through it quickly to make sure that there are no glaring errors.)
I have a confession to make. My family is addicted to zoos and aquariums. We enjoy seeking out new ones when we travel. We have ridden a camel, fed a giraffe and touched sharks, sting rays, sea squirts and numerous other slimy and furry “critters”.
We live in Atlanta, home of the fantastic Georgia Aquarium. My daughter and I love to go there and just soak in the wonder of their largest tank. It houses several whale sharks (they grow to be the size of a bus) and thousands of other fish, rays and sharks. They have a classical music piece playing in the background that was especially composed for the exhibit. I always feel so close to God in that room. As my daughter and I sat there a few weeks ago, I realized she has probably heard the same dialogue from me a thousand times.