I’ve referenced Passionate Homemaking’s article about the 7 purposes of the home a few times now because I’m on a mission to meditate on each purpose, prayerfully applying them to our home. After thinking through ways to cultivate a more restful home, I’m on to purpose #2: The Home as a Place of Learning God’s Truth. So how can I more intentionally teach my kids? I’ve started by recognizing that there are two different forms of teaching.
Sometimes the role of homemaker feels like a bad episode of Survivor. Live through the day, make whatever alliances are necessary to maintain the peace, and if push comes to shove close one eye when somebody’s eating a bug. But deep down I know I’m called to more than just “surviving” the little years. I’m called to faithfully shepherd my children in the Truth of Jesus Christ. This won’t happen accidentally. So here’s what I’ve been brainstorming:
- Pick a Weekly Bible Story to Study–Rather than reading one new Bible story every day, a wise friend suggested focusing on one Bible story per week with my toddler and preschooler. Not only do kids love repetition, but this approach takes less prep time and allows us to slow down and go deeper.
- Have Questions Ready & Waiting–At the start of each week when you pick a Bible story, write a list of age-appropriate questions that are related to the gospel theme of the story. Then utilize all those natural talking times during the day (bedtime, lunchtime, craft time…etc.) to discuss some of the questions.
- Memorize Scripture–I always underestimate my kids’ ability to retain information. But even a 2-year-old (and some 18 month olds!) can repeat a simple Bible verse, especially if you practice it with hand motions.
- Recite Catechisms–Say what? I know. I’d never heard of a catechism until recently. Catechisms are just statements that express the foundations of Christianity, usually posed in question and answer form. (“Who made you?” “God made me.”) Catechisms for Young Children is based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and is a great place to start. The moment your child begins to speak, you can start teaching him these simple statements. The goal is not for him to understand it all right away, but to plant seeds of Truth within his heart that he will grow to understand in time.
Do you remember that annoying boy in gym class who would throw a dodgeball at your head and yell, “Think fast!” This is how I picture reactive teaching. It’s teaching in the context of the moment. “They said I can’t play with them.” (Think fast!) “Why did you argue with Daddy?” (Think fast!) “I will NEVER share my toys again!” (Think fast!) Sometimes I don’t know what to say, and sometimes I’m so depleted I honestly don’t care. In both instances, it’s tempting to use worldly wisdom to solve the problem (“Their game looks boring anyway.” “Sometimes people just argue.” “Be nice or you will never have friends!”)
But to do this is to miss a MASSIVE opportunity! Where proactive teaching presents the gospel, reactive teaching applies the gospel to the reality of your child’s life. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 talks about this kind of teaching: “These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Clearly this is an all day, every day, lifestyle kind of teaching. And as always, the ability to undertake such a task comes only by walking with God in His ever sufficient grace.
Are you ready for my true confession time? My kids eat lunch in front of the TV on busy days, we haven’t read a Bible story all week, and right now one of my kids is banging on my door begging me to hurry up so we can play. Have I ever mentioned that I blog as much for myself as for others? That being said, I welcome your great ideas for intentionally teaching your children God’s Truth. What routines have you put into practice in your home? What books have been helpful? What practices have been fruitful?
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