Fun Ways to Teach Your Kids About Wisdom

The word “wisdom” appears in the Bible over 200 times. God makes it very clear that He expects his people to be wise. Unfortunately, your children will confuse knowledge for wisdom. Experts even write that tech savvy is a replacement for wisdom in the minds of many people today – especially to the young. Those who believe knowledge (or the ability to quickly access knowledge) is wisdom are doomed to a lifetime of unnecessary mistakes – often producing negative consequences for themselves and others.

There are some fun things you can do to help your children understand the difference between knowledge and wisdom, as well as how to use wisdom to make better choices.

Tell or read your children passages about Solomon’s wisdom – 1 Kings 3:1-24, 4:29-34, 10:1-13. Ask them to tell the stories in their own words. Point out that even though Solomon asked for wisdom, he also sought knowledge. Knowledge and wisdom are related, but not always synonymous. Explain that it is believed Solomon wrote most of the book of Proverbs – a book of wisdom. Yet, Solomon did not always use the wisdom God had given him. He made some very unwise choices during his lifetime which created negative consequences for himself, his children and his kingdom.

Have your children look up the definitions of knowledge and wisdom. Can they explain the difference? Point out that while knowledge is a building block of wisdom, it is not wisdom itself – in fact some knowledge would be very unwise to use. Wisdom is using the knowledge we have access to in order to make the best possible choices. For example, in the story of the women arguing over the baby, Solomon knew how to make a decision. He knew how to give the baby to one of the women. Solomon’s wisdom was in saying something that would help him to know which woman was the real mother. He had no intention of hurting the baby, but threatening to do so revealed which woman’s baby it was.

Ask your children to think of examples today of times when people confuse knowledge and wisdom. This is a great time to point out that although they may eventually have more “book” knowledge than you, you will always possess wisdom from life experience that they will not have yet. (Granted, not all older people are wise, but life experience does often gift one with additional wisdom.)

Point out that asking God and other people to share their wisdom with them is important. Any supposed wisdom given by people should be compared to scripture, as God is the source of all wisdom. Ask your children why people often refuse to seek or heed wisdom. What consequences do they suffer? How often do your children find themselves relying on their own knowledge rather than seeking to learn from the wisdom of others? How often do they refuse to heed the advice of wise, godly people… or even God himself? What consequences have they suffered as a result? Be prepared to give examples from your own life – especially if your kids are in denial.

It is important to continue the discussion periodically by doing fun activities to help your children understand the importance of knowledge and wisdom. Here are some fun ideas to get you started.

  • Reading mystery stories for children. (One Minute Mysteries are quick reads.) As your children attempt to solve them, ask them the roles knowledge and wisdom play in solving a crime. Point out that the detective needed knowledge to understand the various clues, but wisdom in applying that knowledge to solve the mystery.
  • Challenge your kids to learn how to do something new. Make sure it is difficult enough that they will struggle without advice from someone with wisdom in that area. Have them try to do it without instructions first and then with the help of other resources like books or YouTube.
  • Have your children find a daily news story that would have been very different if the people involved had sought and heeded wise advice.
  • Encourage your children to create scripture art that reminds them to seek and heed God’s wisdom.
  • Read a chapter or Proverbs every day for a month. Have your children each choose a verse from the daily chapter that they will use to make them wiser.
  • Have your children interview senior adults at church about wisdom. What wisdom was contained in the answers the seniors gave? How might their lives be different if they did or did not heed the wisdom of these older adults?
  • Have your children practice finding and vetting answers to their questions online. How can they make sure they are eliminating sites where the knowledge and wisdom are false? Teach them various techniques to vet online answers before accepting them as true and/or wise.

Have fun with it, but help your children see how important it is to humbly seek God’s wisdom for their lives and heed it. It could make all of your lives better.

Fun Family Devotional on Heroes

Whether we call them heroes or not, all of us have people we admire. Children and teens don’t always have discernment when it comes to their heroes. They are just as likely to have a fictional hero as a real one. They may also struggle to understand that every person we admire has strengths and weaknesses (and sins). It can be difficult for them to sort out the beliefs and behaviors of a hero that are worth trying to copy and those which they should reject. This can cause them to make poor choices in their attempts to be “just like” their heroes. There is a fun family devotional you can do to encourage them to use discernment with heroes.

Tell or read to your children the story found in Exodus 1. Ask your children if they notice something odd about verses 15 and 16. Point out that the Pharaohs in Egypt were at this time, powerful world leaders. Note, however, that God does not think it is important to tell us the name of this Pharaoh (even though his name would be familiar to us even today), but God does give us the names of the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah. They would be considered “nobodies” to the Egyptians at the time. After all, they were merely slaves who helped other slaves give birth to their babies. Yet God thought it was important for us to know their names.

Ask your children why they think God may have wanted us to know their names. We don’t know for sure, but it may be because they, not Pharaoh, were the true heroes of this story. They risked their lives to do what they knew would God would want them to do. Ask them if they can think of other examples in the Bible of people who their world might have considered unimportant, but the Bible felt it was important for us to know their names and stories. With teens, you may also want to point out that many people whom God later placed in powerful positions – like David and Esther – started out as unimportant people in their worlds. You may even want to look at Hebrews 11 for more heroes and the reasons God considered them heroic.

Ask your kids to name someone they admire or would consider a hero. Point out that even the heroes mentioned in the Bible sinned at times. The Bible doesn’t always share these weaknesses with us, but it tells us the only perfect one who has lived on Earth is Jesus. Explain that all people – even heroes and those we admire have weaknesses and sin at times. Our only perfect model (from whom we can copy everything he did) is Jesus.

Give your children some blank paper and art supplies. Encourage them to draw a picture of someone other than Jesus/God they admire. It can be a fictional hero or someone who is real. Encourage them to use words or drawings to illustrate that person’ strengths and weaknesses. Then give them another sheet of paper. Have them list the admirable things about Jesus. Note that since Jesus was perfect, he had no weaknesses. Have them share both drawings with your family.

End with a discussion of how to make wise choices when wanting to be more like someone else and how ultimately, Jesus is the best hero of all to mimic. Remind them that it may be okay to let the strengths of others motivate them to have similar strengths, but they can never truly depend on any person to be perfect. Their faith has to ultimately be in Jesus, because other people will always eventually make mistakes and sin – even if we don’t know the details (like in the lives of the midwives). Encourage them to think of one way they can work to become more like the ultimate hero, Jesus.

Fun Way to Teach Your Kids to Filter Their Words

Very young children may not be aware of their thought process. As they begin to realize they can control not only their thoughts, but the words that come out of their mouths, they are ready to better understand how to filter their thoughts and reject saying things that are not loving, kind or productive. This fun family devotional can get them started.

Begin by explaining to your children that Jesus had some half siblings (Mary was their mother and Joseph was their birth father). James who wrote the book of James in the Bible was one of those siblings (not James the Apostle). James’ book was written to encourage Christians to live a life that would make people want to learn more about God.

One of the topics James mentions quite often is our speech. Read James 1:19-20, 26, 3:1-18 and 5:12. Ask your children to list all of the things James said we should control about our speech. If you have the time, you may want to read other verses in the Bible about our speech like, Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 4:6, Proverbs 15:1-4, Proverbs 21:23, Proverbs 16:24, Ephesians 5:4, Matthew 12:36, Luke 6:45, Proverbs 10:19, Ephesians 4:15, etc.

Give your children a large sheet of plain paper. Have them draw the outline of a person’s head on it. They should draw the brain in the head. Have them glue a coffee filter on the head between the brain and the mouth. They should draw one arrow that goes from the filter to a ”trash can” and another arrow that goes to the mouth.

In the trash can, they should write the types of words that should not be spoken (not specific curse words). By their mouth, they should write words describing the types of words God does want them to use. After they are finished, make sure they understand what is covered by each category. So called ”mild” curse words may be considered acceptable by your older children while your child in kindergarten may think “stupid” is a curse word. With older children, this can also lead to a deeper discussion of what our influence might be on people if we use certain words and whether or not saying them is important enough to risk having someone reject God because of the things we say.

End the devotional by brainstorming ways you all can improve your speech. Revisit the topic periodically to see how well everyone has learned to tame their tongue!

Fun Way to Teach Your Kids How to Fact Check Religious Statements

When it comes to God, Jesus, Christianity and the Bible there is a lot of information your children can access that is not only inaccurate, but may even be purposely designed to undermine their growing faith. With a generation who can find the “answers” to any question in seconds, the internet can be a spiritual mine field.

Part of the answer is to teach your children how to fact check anything they read or hear by what is written in the Bible. While just telling them that multiple times might be simpler, having a fun interactive family devotional may make a better impact. Begin by looking at familiar Bible story from a different angle.

In Genesis 27, we find the familiar story of Jacob deceiving Isaac in order to receive Jacob’s blessing. Instead of telling the story from the perspective of Jacob and Esau, ask your children what Isaac believed was true when Jacob came to him dressed as Esau. How do they think he felt when he realized he had been tricked? Ask them to think of a time when they thought something was true, only to find out later it was not. What problems did it cause them when they believed the lie?

Explain that sometimes when we believe a lie, we are merely embarrassed when we discover the truth. Other times, the lie can cause major negative consequences in our lives when we believe it. Tell them this is especially true when we believe lies about God, Jesus, Christianity and the Bible. Those lies are dangerous because Satan can use them to weaken our faith if we are not careful.

Explain that sometimes the ”deceptions”aren’t on purpose. The person may have remembered the details wrong or misunderstood something. Even though the person did not mean to deceive us, it can still cause problems.

Other times though, people purposefully tell us lies because they want us to stop believing in God and obeying Him. Their motives may vary, but Satan will use their lies to try and convince God is not worth worshipping and obeying. If we believe those lies, we can suffer catastrophic negative consequences.

The easiest example to find is often in illustrations of Noah’s Ark. Point out the description of the Ark and the number of animals in it. Ask them to look at the illustration and find the errors in it. (Usually illustrations have too many windows and show only one pair of every type of animal.) While this is an example of people not remembering to fact check before creating their art, there are other examples around us everywhere – some of which are more sinister.

How you continue the activity depends upon the age of your children. Little ones can look at other illustrations of Bible stories or watch Bible story videos for children. Have them point out not only the mistakes, but the places where the artist added information that is not in the Bible. (Sometimes that doesn’t change the meaning of the story, but other times it can change one’s understanding of it.)

With older children and teens, you might explore Google searches for religious questions and discover how many answers are totally different from what the Bible teaches. Have them watch normal content and listen for statements characters make about God, Jesus, Christianity and the Bible that are wrong. Point out that often these errors are stated by characters that are supposedly Christian to make them more believable.

End the devotional by reminding them to check out everything anyone says to them about faith matters by comparing it to scripture. You can also have follow up times when you teach them how to find the information they need in the Bible quickly. Teaching your kids to fact check every religious statement they hear or read can prevent them from believing one of Satan’s lies.

Fun Resurrection Family Devotional

I am reposting this annual family favorite to give you time to gather the ingredients together before this weekend. Although designed for Easter, this devotional can be done any time of the year.

Resurrection Cookies are a great way to review the story of Jesus’ death with your children. I got the recipe from one of my neighbors years ago and suspect it is one of those that has been passed around all over the country. I would love to credit the inventor, but have no idea who that would be. We did this every year the Saturday night before Easter as one of our family traditions when our daughter was younger.

You will need a Bible, preferably an NIrV version for younger children. Preheat the oven to 300* and make sure it has reached 300* before you start cooking. Your bowl and beaters need to be grease free for this to work well. We have used pasteurized egg whites and they work fine although it is more difficult to keep the yolk out of the whites. It is best to do this right before the children go to bed, but aren’t so sleepy they won’t enjoy it. It can take up to thirty minutes at night and about five or ten minutes the next morning.

For ingredients you will need: 1 cup of whole pecans, 1 teaspoon of vinegar (apple cider vinegar), 2 egg whites, 1 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. I am numbering each step with its scripture to make the recipe easier to follow with your children.

1. Read John 19:1-3. Place the pecans in a large baggie and seal it. As your children beat the pecans with a rolling pin, discuss how Jesus was beaten by the soldiers after his arrest.

2. Read John 19:28-30. Allow the children to smell the vinegar and taste it if they are brave enough! As the vinegar is placed in the bowl explain that when Jesus got thirsty on the cross and asked for something to drink, he was given vinegar.

3. Read John 10:10-11. Add egg whites to the vinegar. Explain to your children that eggs represent life. Discuss how by Jesus giving his life up on the cross, he gave us the hope of eternal life.

4. Read Luke 23:27. Sprinkle a little salt in each child’s hand. Let them taste it. Put a pinch in the bowl. The salt represents the tears of those who loved Jesus when they realized he was dead.

5. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16. Add the sugar. Tell your children that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because he loves us. He wants us to become Christians and spend eternity with him in Heaven.

6. Read John 3:1-3. Beat the mixture on high (stand mixers work best) for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed (when you turn off the mixer and lift the beaters it leaves stiff little mountain tops). Discuss with your children how the color white stands for purity. Jesus’ blood allows us the chance to be cleansed of our sins and be pure again.

7. Read Matthew 27:57-60. Fold in the pecans. Drop the mixture by teaspoonfuls onto a parchment covered cookie sheet. Explain to your child that each mound represents the tomb where Jesus was laid.

8. Read Matthew 27:65-66. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Let each child place a piece of tape on the oven door (or roll a large rock in front of it!). Explain how the soldiers sealed the tomb of Jesus.

9. Read John 16:20 and 22.  As you send your children to bed, explain you know they may feel sad about leaving the cookies in the oven over night. Ask them if they can imagine how sad the followers of Jesus must have been when Jesus was sealed in the tomb.

10.  Read Matthew 28:1-9. When your children wake up the next morning, allow them to open the oven and take out the cookies. Have them break open the cookie and see the empty air pocket. Remind them how surprised and excited the followers of Jesus must have been on that first Sunday morning after the cross when they found the empty tomb and realized Jesus was alive.

This is a fun reminder of the resurrection for any time of the year or you can make it an annual tradition. The goal is to create a memorable experience that will place the story of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection firmly in the minds and hearts of your children.