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.
If you frequent libraries and bookstores, chances are you and your children have enjoyed a story teller. A good story teller can transport you and your child to all sorts of fictional places. Often you leave feeling as if you have actually experienced the event.
I couldn’t wait to read The Art of Story Telling by John Walsh. Walsh is a Christian story teller who discovered something amazing. The Bible is full of wonderful true stories. In fact, about 75% of the Bible is comprised of stories (the rest is poetry and instructions).
Historically, Christian story tellers have taken Bible stories and added their own touches of assumed sights, sounds and emotions. Walsh spent a lot of time studying storytelling, especially as done by many missionaries. He found the Bible stories were wonderful almost exactly as written (he sometimes deletes details like long lists of names). More importantly, God gave us the stories that have the power to change lives.
When our daughter was younger, we were determined to have family devotionals. We would start having them at a certain time and inevitably within a week or so, something would happen to make the time slot we had chosen unworkable in the future. Or we would actually finish a family devotional book and not be able to find something new we liked. Or my husband would have to go out of town, making it a mommy and one child devo. Or it seemed like we weren’t at home from morning until bed time for several days in a row.
There are so many seemingly valid reasons why we don’t have family devotionals in our homes. I think part of the problem is it just sounds intimidating. We think we have to do this big formal thing with everyone in the family present, and it must resemble those “fancy” Bible studies we get at Church.
One of the most important things you can do for your child’s spiritual development is to have regular family devotionals and discussions about godly principles. Many parents are intimidated when they consider family devotionals. Even if they could make the time commitment, what should they study with their children?