Explaining the Bible to Your Kids

9780764211287Although I took several English classes studying the works of Shakespeare, I have to admit I wasn’t disappointed years later to encounter several series that explained the basic plot points, themes and significance of the various plays. It isn’t that I can’t understand the plays themselves, but sometimes it is nice to have everything summed up for me before I dive into the intricacies.

The Bible is an interesting book. It is both very basic and straightforward and extremely complex and mysterious. The combination can make some people afraid to even open it. (Translations using archaic English don’t help, either.) What many people need is someone to give them a big picture view before they read the Bible and try to understand the finer points.

I was interested to get a chance to review Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible: Understanding the Big Picture Book-by-Book by Dr. William H. Marty and Dr. Boyd Seevers. The authors break down the Bible one book per chapter. Within each chapter, they provide the setting, summary and significance of that particular book of the Bible.

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Talking to Kids About God

Talking to Kids About God- Parenting Like HannahWhen my daughter was an infant, I used to put her in the stroller and take long walks around our neighborhood. Looking back, I am sure people driving by probably thought I was a little strange, as I talked to her constantly the entire time. Whether I was pointing out things for her to notice or telling her stories about what we would do later, she heard constant chatter.

Studies have shown talking to infants makes a huge difference in their intellectual growth. By the age of two years, babies who had been spoken to a lot by their parents were up to six months developmentally ahead of children who heard little conversation from their parents. (Guardian Feb. 14, 2014, Ian Sample) In fact, according to Mr. Sample, Professor Erika Hoff stated, “Children cannot learn what they don’t hear.”

What a powerful thought! Our children cannot learn what they don’t hear. Even more importantly, the article quoted experts as saying television and iPhones were no substitute for adults talking to their children about things they might find interesting. Healthy language and intellectual development were dependent on direct, focused, parental involvement.

What if we applied educational science to spiritual education? How would this information apply to teaching our children about God? What things would we need to do to make sure our children were learning about God in the best possible ways? What if we were as concerned about our child’s spiritual development as we are about their language development?

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Bible Review Fun

Bible Review Fun - Parenting Like HannahFor Bible stories and principles to become a permanent part of your child’s memory, they must be repeated many times over the course of many years. As a parent and teacher, I am always looking for new ways to make review a little more fun. Yesterday, we decided to use a game to review everything we had learned over the summer. My husband invented the original normal table sized version of this game and we took it up a notch by making it life-sized!

There are a few keys to making any review game successful. Fun of course is important, but your students need to really know the material well before playing. When we played this yesterday, the children who knew the material were very competitive and running like crazy. Visitors who had never been taught any of the information struggled a bit more.

To compensate for different knowledge levels, you can tweak the rules of any game. We had teams consisting of a mix of ages and knowledge levels so one team didn’t dominate the others. We also allowed children on the teams to take turns answering, so one child on each team didn’t dominate. I also threw in a few simple questions which went with our theme, but were very basic Bible knowledge (Ex. “Everything we have is from ____.)

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Making Childhood Sticky

Making CHildhood Sticky - Parenting Like HannahRaising small children is indeed a sticky endeavor. In this case, sticky refers to memorable experiences that “stick” with your child throughout life. What I want to talk about specifically is making God, worship, Church, service and faith sharing a part of the precious memories of your children’s childhood. What can you do to make those memories special, fond ones? How can you help imprint those memories so that if your children are ever tempted to leave God and the Church, those memories call them back?

Here’s where I think a lot of people make a huge mistake. I don’t think it is about showmanship and entertainment. Parents with grown children can tell you the amount of money and “flash” doesn’t necessarily make for the clearest memories. We recently asked our daughter about some early trips we had taken when she was very young. We knew at the time her memories would be sparse, but consoled ourselves with the knowledge it was “creating wrinkles in her brain” (code at the time for increasing a child’s ability to learn later by exposing them to enriching things at a young age).

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Fun Family Bible Study

Fun Family Bible Study - Parenting Like HannahWe have had a lot of fun with the kids at church this summer studying the Jewish holidays. It is a subject Christian children often never study, but those holidays tell us so much about the nature of God. As we studied them, we also realized they point to Jesus in really awesome ways.

Yesterday we learned about the Feast of Booths or the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). This is a great holiday to recreate with your children at home. Originally, the feast partially celebrated the late harvest. It lasted seven days (although a worship service/sacred assembly was also required on an eighth day). It was a feast of celebration – a thanksgiving for all of the blessings God had and would provide for them.

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