Last year for Christmas, my then 7-year-old son requested his first REAL Bible. He'd been collecting Bible storybooks for awhile before then, but he was ready to get the real deal. I have to admit, I could not have been more proud of him when I read his Christmas list and saw this listed right near the top! For so many people-kids and grown ups alike, reading the Bible is one of those things we feel like we HAVE to do, not something that we want to do... for a child to want to read it? That's awesome.
But how do we encourage our children to actually be interested in reading their Bibles?
Today I'm sharing 3 simple tips (and introducing some new books that can help!).
Start Young. To be honest, this is something I actually did not do as well with my son as I have with my daughter. Oh sure, we had a few Bible stories that we'd read on occasion, but I always felt like he was just too little to understand, so we didn't REALLY get into these until he was a bit older. With my daughter, my son had already fallen in love with Bible stories, so her introduction came very naturally. She watched his Bible story shows along with him, and heard the stories as he did. And she picked it up very quickly! Does she understand exactly who Jesus is or why the Bible is so important? Probably not, but she does recognize both and already loves her Bible stories just as much as her brother does! As toddlers, our kids are picking up new things each and every day, there truly is no better time to give them that foundation...don't wait until you think your child is old enough to understand, they will pick up more than you think!
Make It Fun. For my son, his love of Bible stories came from not just storybooks, but also fun TV shows and DVDs that made the Bible more accessible to him. These made learning about Jesus fun, not like homework! For kids, nothing could be more important! So, invest in some fun toys, games and books that will make it FUN.
Sheila Walsh's new book Meet My Best Friend is a GREAT choice:
The McDougal twins are excited to meet their new neighbor, Abby, who has just moved in next door. Poor Abby is sad that she had to leave her friends behind when she moved. To cheer her up, the twins lead Abby on a crazy hunt to meet their best friend--one that can go anywhere they go. But first Abby has to find it! With plenty of quirkiness and delightful illustrations by Sarah Horne, this picture book has an important message about how and why the Bible can be the best friend we have.
Meet My Best Friend is the first title in the new The Bible Is My Best Friend brand by best-selling author Sheila Walsh.
As I said, it was the artwork that first caught my attention, but the story itself was pretty fantastic too! Most of the story is spent searching and guessing... who was the twins' best friend? Abby searches high and low, with lots of humor to try and discover who it could be! In the end, she discovers their best friend is not a who, but a what- the Bible and they introduce her to it and why it's so important! My kids absolutely loved it! Their favorite part was the little side story and conversations between the pets...adding even more humor to the story! Hilarious! This particular book doesn't go into detail about particular Bible stories or anything like that, so I am looking forward to seeing more books in the series! This idea of the Bible being a best friend is fantastic and such a fun way to introduce the Bible to children!
Start a Family Devotional. Devotionals are a great way to take time each day/week to focus on the Word, aren't they? I'm sure many of us already have one or two in our collection. But did you know there are also FAMILY devotionals? These devotionals give you ways to learn about the Bible together as a family. They make it entertaining and easy to get the conversations started when you're not really sure where to begin.
And if you think your children will love 'Meet My Best Friend', the will also love The Bible Is My Best Friend Family Devotional:
From best-selling author Sheila Walsh, the Bible Is My Best Friend Family Devotional connects families both to God's Word and to each other. Fifty-two key scriptures form the basis for the devotions, which build on the verses, challenge the family to commit them to memory, and explore how each verse is part of God's wonderful message. "Let's Talk" questions urge the family to discuss what they've learned and offer challenges for different ages of children as well as their parents.
This unique family devotional touches both the mind and the heart. Minds will grow as the text builds on past weeks by reviewing memory work and themes. But most importantly, hearts will grow as families learn together to value the gifts found in the Bible and realize how God's Word can be their greatest friend.
Now, I don't know about your family, but I know that in my family life can get a little bit hectic. We have homework, housework, work work, extracurricular activities... the list goes on and on. I am always looking for ways to truly spend time together as a family- doing something other than sitting in front of the tv. A devotional can be a great solution. As much as I want to teach my kids about the Bible, I'm not always sure where to begin and a devotional can truly help.
The Bible is My Best Friend Family Devotional is every bit as fantastic as the story book! It is divided into weeks rather than daily so you can fit it into your schedule however it fits best. Each section is divided into 5 parts, so you can set aside 5 days to go over it, or you can group them together over just a few days if preferred too. You are given a memory verse and a short reading introducing the topic of the week. The Let's Talk section gives great talking points, featuring not just questions to ask your children, but questions for them to ask you as well. The Family Fun and Weekly Challenge bring the lesson to life in a fun, interactive way. For further studying, we are also given more verses to read if desired.
Now, as much as I love this devotional, I have to admit that it's not the greatest fit for my family personally- at least the Family Fun and Challenges anyway! You see, my kids have a six year age gap between them, so some of the challenges just are not as doable with my 2 year old as they would be for children closer in age. But while all of the activities may not work for us, it does give us a starting point to go on.
The Bible Is My Best Friend products truly are such a fun way to introduce and start teaching your children to love reading the Bible. It teaches them that the Bible is not JUST a book, but a source of comfort and love...just like a friend!
The Bible Is My Best Friend is available now at Family Christian!
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