By Laurel Brunk
As you kick off the new routines of back to school season, you may consider forming a new habit around the most important thing kids will ever study: God’s Word. If you do, I have an idea for you.
But first, why does it even matter? Proverbs 22:6 puts it like this: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
I don’t have kids, but I’m an adult in my midthirties. So I’m old enough to know how easy it is to turn from God’s Word in everyday life. Not to turn and do something wild or “bad”—though those options are readily available—but simply to ignore God. To turn toward an urgent e-mail, a refreshing workout, a looming project instead. As Elie Wiesel said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” I love God dearly and I want to show him that daily by giving him my attention and affection. Yet love takes effort. I’m quite certain that most days, the only reason I wake up early enough to get some one-on-one time with God and will myself to ignore all else is because it became important to me a long time ago.
The specifics of my start are fuzzy. My mom spent time reading the Bible every morning. And after dinner my dad often read the Bible to our whole family, so I had a chance to ask questions and hear them talk about their relationship with God. Like I said, though, the exact details are fuzzy. We didn’t have family devotions every night. There were baseball and soccer games. And nights my dad worked late. And times we just didn’t feel like it. But raising kids “the way they should go” can’t possibly require perfection, or no human could do it.
The point is, my family valued studying God’s Word together. And my parents chose a regular, daily activity we had to do anyway, dinner time, and tried to spend a few minutes with God while doing it.
Making It Stick
As I’ve grown older I’ve continued to take studying God’s Word seriously. I even took a job writing Bible stories for kids, trying to write exact details from the Bible in a way that kids can understand. It was incredible the way God reminded me of these “kid” stories during everyday life: Moses’ reluctance to obey God, Abraham’s willingness to give up everything without a trace of entitlement, Joshua’s resolve in the face of fear. Sometimes, I needed the reminder that God uses imperfect people; other times, that I serve a big God. I’m a part of his story, not the other way around.
I think God knows we all need this, which is why he left us a written record to show who he is, how he works, and who gets to follow him.
Make Studying Fun
I served on the staff of a local church and one of my colleagues was an artist who had three kids and an idea to make studying God’s Word together fun. He suggested we team up and create a tear-off calendar to walk kids through the Bible as one big story from Genesis to Revelation. So we did. We numbered pages, in lieu of dating them, so busy families could read one per day or many at once, whenever they have time. We added questions to get the entire family talking. Our hope is that it will be easy for families to choose a regular, daily activity they have to do anyway—eat breakfast, drive to school, say goodnight—and try to spend a few minutes with God while doing it.
If you’re looking for a creative way to study the Bible with your kids, check out GodsStory365.com. Or just open your Bible, gather the family around, and start reading. You can’t do it wrong, as long as you do it.
Laurel Brunk is Director of Content for Astronomer in Cincinnati, Ohio.