Parents sometimes ask me, “How can we help our children get into the Word?” This is a great question. It recognizes that one of the most important things we can do for our children is help them meet with God and learn His ways. And more, when children get into the Word they develop a biblical world view that informs and directs their beliefs and actions.
What follows are three essential things my wife and I did to help our children get into the Word:
- Be seen reading the Bible yourself. More is caught than taught. When our children were younger it was evident we were reading the Bible because it was in a book form. Morning or evening, or some other time during the day, our children would see one of us sitting in a chair or lying on a couch with a Bible in hand. Now I mainly read the Scriptures on my tablet or laptop, so what I may be reading or doing isn’t evident. That’s why we recommend, if you have younger children (ours are adults), using a hard copy.
- Read the Bible with your children. A joy shared is a joy doubled. One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is a love for God’s Word. But it doesn’t happen through osmosis. Children need to regularly hear the Bible read by their Dad or Mom. Why? Because when they hear and chat with you about the Word they’ll understand why you treasure it and why they in turn should likewise value and live by it.
- Capitalize on teachable moments. There are countless unplanned events you can use to connect your children with God’s Word. Bible engagement shouldn’t be compartmentalized – it should be part and parcel of the things we say, do and experience every day. So a difficult day at school becomes an opportunity to read about how God cares for us, or seeing a beautiful flower sparks a conversation about the wonder of creation and reflecting on Genesis 1. And when your children are older the teachable moments ramp up to include theological discussions (informed and rooted in the Word) on all manner of subjects, musings, ethics, philosophies, moral dilemmas, perspectives and such.
There are many other basic things that we did to help our children get into the Word. But most importantly, we also prayed – trusting God to stir up a desire and love for His Word in their hearts and minds. And He did. And now they are adults, with their own children, and they have not departed from it (cf. Proverbs 22:6).
© Scripture Union Canada, 2015