4-14: Challenging Kids to Get Into The Word

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"There's nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child."
Frank A. Clark

Have you ever met a child that isn’t inquisitive? Between the ages of two and three, children develop the cognitive ability to logically connect thoughts and things. They are in that early stage of beginning to understand why things happen. They are beginning to see how the world around them works. This skill will develop from year to year as they age and their thought process matures and expands. For parents, the question “why?” can get repetitive, especially after a long day at work, or when you are in the midst of an important task. Yet, the opportunity to answer knowledgeably, and at the time when the “why” question is being asked, will only help to expand the level of understanding in that youngster. That simply question of “but why?” is showing a thirst for knowledge. They are looking for more information. They want to learn. They want to find out something they do not yet know.

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Unfortunately, as Christian educators, the reality can be that we can become fearful of those “why” moments. Even though the question can be coming from the youngest of children, there can be an underlying fear of being caught in a moment of not knowing how to respond, or what the proper or accurate Bible answer might be. Thus, the reason for all of us as followers of Christ to be in the Word daily, reading, studying, showing ourselves approved to Him. The reality is we may not always have the right answer on the tip of our tongue, but responding with a “let’s think about what you are asking, and ask God to show us His answer through His Word” is good and right. Living in fear of not knowing only paralyzes us from teaching the next generation what God is wanting us to pass along.

As children age, a great response to their questions can be “what do you think?” You can see the wheels turning in their heads. This helps develop their logical thinking and language skills as they respond. It’s not always easy to wait patiently for their response, but it is important to do so, without jumping in and trying to answer. Honouring a response, even if it is not correct, is a wise thing to do. Doing so builds self-confidence to think out loud and share their thoughts without concern of being embarrassed. In those times of incorrect responses, going to the Scriptures together and digging to find what God would say on certain matters helps children to develop the skill of finding the answers then on their own.

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Two new resources that are helpful in getting children and their parents into the Word, not only reading, but thinking, studying and asking questions, are these:

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These two devotional books are designed to draw your family to God. Each one has 78 stories: Long Story Short walks through 78 Old Testament stories and Old Story New will take you through 78 New Testament stories, one week at a day. The beauty is that each week is broken down into five-day segments with these themes:

Day 1 - "Picture It" – This section helps your family understand the context, setting, and subject of the story, followed up by a reading of the Scripture text, questions concerning the interpretation and application of the text, and a time of family prayer.

Day 2 - "Remember It" – Recall and retain what was learned on Day 1, followed by a time of open conversation as you review the story and its significance. Again, it is then followed by a reading of the text, questions concerning the interpretation and application of the text, and a time of family singing and prayer.

Day 3 - "Connect It to the Gospel/Connect It to Jesus" – The family is encouraged to think about how the story either points forward or back at the gospel. This is a unique segment not found in many children’s or family devotional books! It helps the family focus on a broader understanding of the Scriptures, looking at the grand story of God's redemptive work through His Son, Jesus.

Day 4 - "Remember It" – Now is the time for the family to share with one another how the story is impacting them personally, now that they have been considering various aspects of the story for three days in a row.

Day 5 - "Discover It" – This is another interesting feature of this new devotional style in that the final day helps the family connect the New Testament stories with the Old Testament stories. The person and life of Christ gets tied back to so many of the stories concerning people, prophets, kings and other Old Testament roots and foundations for our faith today.

This devotional comes highly recommended as a way to think through God’s Word daily, building thoughts and questions and discoveries in Scripture day after day. It will awaken a love for Old Testament truths, which sadly can be overlooked too often while a majority of time is focused on reading the New Testament. And, all it really takes is 10 minutes a day (or more if you choose!) These are the types of devotionals that even after putting them down, the dialogue continues!

To order, visit www.Wordcom.ca.

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#Hope4NextGen, #414