Ever have a child who went through a spy or detective stage? When our daughter was little, she went through a stage when she loved sneaking around the house looking for clues. She would look at things with her magnifying class (an homage to Nate the Great) and stand behind furniture listening for suspects to slip up and admit their “crimes”.
Well, parents can have a little fun, too! Instead of looking for clues, you can secretly drop clues for your kids on how to live a fulfilling, godly life. All you need to know is the secret to the covert family devotional.
How many people were on the Ark? What was the name of the Apostle who denied Jesus? Who was in jail with Silas? Often the questions we ask kids and teens about the Bible have them recall facts. If we are trying to dig a little deeper, the questions often result in getting the opinion of the person answering the question. Both of those types of questions can be useful in a Bible classroom or around your house. They can confirm what knowledge has been retained or what a child’s opinion may be on a variety of subjects.
There are other types of questions I want to encourage you to start asking children and teens as you talk about the Bible and its principles. These questions will encourage them to think a little deeper. What you want to do is to try to get them to begin seeing connections between Bible stories, godly principles and real life actions. Hopefully these questions will encourage them to think a little more carefully before making decisions.
Kids are great with questions. They can ask “Why?” at the end of even the most thought-out response. Many parents are afraid of studying the Bible with their children – mainly because of the questions their kids may ask. Don’t worry though. You don’t have to know all of the answers. It is perfectly acceptable to tell a child the two of you need to do a little research on the subject and find the answer to that great question together.
Of course, your next question to me is “Where do I go for the answers?” Unless you are a very strong Christian who has studied the Bible for years, I would avoid Google and Wikipedia at all costs. For every grounded Christian who writes something there are multiple agnostics, atheists and very confused people who write something that is so far from the Biblical truth as to be scary.
Parents of preschool children and preschool teachers are prepared for children who get the wiggles. For a wide variety of reasons, there are now also many older children and teens who have trouble sitting still in class. Whether it’s from lack of self control, a physical condition or their preferred learning style, adding movement and touch to your class or your home Bible studies will help these children learn better.
Unfortunately, in many cases the movement provided as suggestions in curriculum is shallow and doesn’t add much meaning to the subject. Allowing children to run around a room for fifteen minutes popping balloons and then saying “This is how Jesus pops our sin”, isn’t really teaching these active children anything.
Our daughter is an auditory learner. She really does need to hear something to understand it better. She prefers having a teacher verbally tell her about a subject rather than trying to understand it by reading alone. It doesn’t mean she has poor reading comprehension, but just like a visual learner needs to see something to really understand it well, an auditory learner needs to hear it.
Fortunately for auditory learners, most Bible classes are set up just for them. Much of what is done involves listening to the teacher. If you teach a class, work on your story telling skills. For younger children, make sure you use different voices when different people speak. Even if you are reading the story exactly as written from the Bible, add the appropriate emotions to your voice. You don’t want to go overboard, but anything that adds depth and meaning to the auditory message being given is helpful.