The back to school season is one of the busiest times of the year for families with children. There are clothes and supplies to purchase, meetings to attend, teachers to meet and all of those wonderful forms to complete. It is easy to look up and realize it is October and God has somehow slipped to the bottom of your family’s priority list.
It’s not that you meant to ignore God. You love Him and really do want to obey Him. He somehow just didn’t seem as urgent as the teacher who sent home daily reminder notes. Now the school year schedule is entrenched with classes, homework and extra curricular activities. There is no time left for Bible studies, devotionals or most weeks even worship services. You feel good if you remember to pray at meal times (which rarely if ever happen at a table with the entire family present).
Recently our family took a very special trip to Europe. We had been planning this trip for years. It was designed to introduce our daughter to Europe before her senior year of high school. What I saw while there both broke my heart and frightened me.
We saw a boy about eight years old, a fellow tourist from another country, walking down the street with his parents. A dog walked peacefully by him and suddenly the boy kicked the dog as hard as he could. His parents looked on and didn’t say a word to him.
We watched as men from various countries treated the women and children in their lives as if they were mere chattel. Any needs the women and children had were obviously of no concern to the men whom God designed to love, protect and cherish them.
Early this summer I mentioned some of our children were creating a Bible Museum using plastic building bricks. The results were really creative, so I wanted to share them with you. The children were given the story and read the scriptures so they could get the details as close as possible to the real thing. As you will see, it still allowed for quite a bit of creativity. The kids had a blast doing it and the resulting museum was displayed for the congregation during our annual Day of the Child.
Preschoolers are great. They are not old enough to have developed the filters in their brains older children have. This means many of the thoughts in their heads pop quickly out of their mouths. The results are sometimes humorous and sometimes embarrassing. There is no doubt though that these little ones are speaking the truth as they see it.
Fast forward a few years and many older children have developed the opposite problem. They have been scolded for sharing thoughts adults feel should not be shared. Unfortunately, many children also learn an adult would rather hear the truth they want to hear rather than the actual truth. If you live in certain regions of the country, your children are told by society to refrain from ever saying anything negative about anyone or anything.
This summer I participated in a Bible study with teen girls. We met once a week in a local charity coffee shop for about eight weeks. I allotted an hour and a half for each study, but many nights we were there much longer than that.
Each night I tried to focus on one or more Bible stories that illustrated the topic for the night. For example when we discussed how to spot a “frog”, we read the story of Abigail and her “frog” husband, Nabal. One week we discussed who would be a “prince” and discussed Boaz and Joseph (Jesus’ Joseph).
The rest of the time we spent relating personal experiences and studying material from various books and web articles. The main book the girls studied for most of the summer was the Dana Gresh book, Get Lost: Your Guide to Finding True Love. There is probably enough material in the book to use only that one source, but I wanted to cover other topics so I pulled in other volumes as well.
Whether you want to study with your own daughter or are leading a class or small group on dating and marriage, you may find these other resources helpful, too. This list is by no means exhaustive, but are some of my personal favorites on the topics.