BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS
Most parents go out of their way to ensure their children learn to the basics - reading writing, and arithmetic. I have written about how parents can teach these at home through daily activities.
But what of teaching them about God? What does that even look like in the home? The ultimate goal in teaching our children about God is for them to know Him. To love Him. To be like Him.
This is more than knowledge of who He is in the Bible. More than weekly Sunday School lessons. It is a wholehearted recognition of Him as Creator of the universe. It is loyalty to Him as the commander-in-chief of our lives. But first, we (parents) must know Him. If you’re reading this and don’t know God personally, www.desiringgod.org is a good place to start.
I am staring at the books crowding my petite desk and the ones lined on the mustard yellow bookshelf in the living room. We are currently tight on space and I only chose the most essential to keep on hand. The rest are in garaged boxes.
That process was difficult because I often refer to books I’ve read and am inspired simply by the sight of others. I have already begun to regret the boxing of many of my children’s books. There is not enough room in Taj Mahal for all the books that can be used to submerge children in God’s deep love.
What do I have? Eight Bibles, three children’s devotion books and two Bible Encyclopedia books for kids. There are also about 10 children’s picture books overtly related to God. The rest of my selection consists of books on science, art, history, and a fiction section ranging from Peter Rabbit to Dog Man (not my favorite). Most of my books are not Christian.
So, why don’t I have more Christian books in my home library? Because God’s presence is bigger than just “Christian resources.” God is everywhere. In everything. Every storyline. Every non-fiction book. As the Creator of the universe, it is impossible to remove him. We just have to make it a point to see Him there.
As you read books with your children, see God in the story. Trust me, He’s there. Just because the author does not write Him into the story doesn’t mean He isn’t present.
SEEING GOD IN EVERY STORY
You may be asking what my abbreviated home library has to do with teaching your child about God. Actually, it has everything to do with it. Books are one of the best ways to teach your children about God.
But, shouldn’t they be learning enough about God at church? No. You are your child’s primary and most influential teacher. Don’t leave it to chance that they will get what they need from outside the home. Besides, God’s immense love for us is too great to ignore.
I mean, an all-powerful Being made us to be His companions. That’s some pretty powerful stuff if you think about it. Simple theology is that God made us to be His crowning creation, His children, and His friends. We are a friend of God. Let that sink in. We are friends with an eternal Being who placed us here on earth for a purpose, to praise Him.
Isaiah 43:21 says, “The people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” Yes, that’s right. To declare His praise. Why, you ask? It is simple. If we’re not praising Him, we end up praising ourselves.
So, how do we teach our children about God? I have always found it easy to teach them through creation. Not only did God make humans incredibly intricate and amazing, but He made an equally remarkable world for us to enjoy. Nature, history, and art are natural ways to discover His presence in the world.
My children are 7, 9 and 10 and I still read to them. They have begun to see God’s presence in the books we read all by themselves now. They have been trained to see God where He is not mentioned. They appreciate His creation and love for us.
But parents have the most influence when children are young. You can never start too early when it comes to reading to your child.
I lead a story time for young moms and their little ones at my church on Mon- day mornings where I read simple books that broaden the children’s perspective of God in the world. You would be surprised to know that, for the most part, my reading selections do not consist of what are considered “Chris- tian” books. Just about any book can be used to shine a light on the presence of God in our world.
As children learn about the people and things around them, they form their philosophy on life even at an early age. No, especially at an early age.
If we believe God created the earth, we should be looking for His presence in it, right? The truth is, it’s all around us. Showing our children God’s presence in the world and His meticulous manner of caring for us will shape their view of the world, ultimately reflecting the truth in the Bible.
Next week, we’ll explore the practical side of how to see God in everyday children’s books, through a child’s eyes. Until then, be well and love on your children.