Our cap-and-gowned daughter posed beside the university fountain. Tears blurred my view through the camera lens. Already? I thought.
After graduation Megan drove toward her new apartment. My husband and I followed and reflected on memories of her earlier driving experiences—the day she rode her bike with training wheels and then (in what seemed like a short time) the day she learned to drive a car. Now our graduate prepared to navigate a new path of independent living.
As we raised our children, we deemed eighteen years sufficient for teaching them God’s Word. Then musical selections at kindergarten graduations and other occasions cued tears and convinced us the parenting years speed by in a blur like racecars.
At each milestone moment, we wondered if we’d prepared our son and daughter for the race God set before them. For years we’d prayed for them and asked God to help us “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). We did our best but, like all parents, realize we fell short.
We can’t reset the stopwatch nor return to the starting gate, but parents, grandparents, and all who love and influence children can incorporate short lessons into busy days to teach biblical truths. Scripture tells us how.
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.Deuteronomy 6:6-7
According to this scripture, we have four opportune times to teach biblical truth to children:
When you sit in your house
- Choose a short, age-appropriate verse and write it with a yellow crayon. Paint over the area with dark watercolors, and the letters will appear.
- “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:109). Write these words or phrases on cards and add picture clues. On a warm night, lay the cards on the driveway, and shine a flashlight on each part as you read the verse together.
- “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). During breakfast share the verse and a plan to make a gift for a neighbor. You could bake cookies, build a birdhouse, frame a drawing with popsicle sticks, or plant seeds in a flowerpot the children painted.
- Write words or phrases from a verse on small cards. Apply magnetic tape and arrange them on a cookie sheet.
- Older children may write in a journal the meaning of a passage and its application to their lives.
When you walk by the way (or run errands)
- While doing chores or taking a walk, replace the words of a familiar tune with the words of a new verse.
- When you run errands, post a new verse on the dash and play praise music.
- Toss a ball or beanbag back and forth as you recite the verse.
- Play “Deed Detectives.” Ask children to “report” behavior related to verses they’ve learned. For example, “I was sad, and Beth gave me a hug.”
When you lie down
- Read Bible stories or biographies of godly people.
- Find a devotional book that correlates with your child’s interest—such as famous musicians or athletes who have lives of faith.
- Create an illustrated book of verses to help your child overcome separation anxiety or fear of the dark. They can refer to their treasured collection as needed.
- My friend Dawn pins notes with encouraging words and verses to her children’s pillow when they face challenges. She hopes the words remain in their hearts as they fall asleep.
When you rise
- Find creative ways to begin your day with prayer and Bible reading. When time is short (always), listen to podcasts or prop your Bible up with a cookbook holder and read short passages when you can.
- Post a scriptural prayer like Psalm 143:8 on the mirror. “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”
- Tuck encouraging notes with a verse into lunchboxes.
- One young mom I know writes a Bible verse each week on her kitchen chalkboard.
- Refuse false guilt when plans go awry. Embrace a fresh start each morning.
Whether you’re at the starting gate or nearing the finish line of raising children, ask God to guide you as you pray for your children and teach Scripture to them. You’ll be thankful you did when you peer through a camera lens to see your child dressed in a cap and gown. No prize is more valuable.
From breakfast to bedtime: Strategies for teaching God’s Word to children @inthequiver @jeanniewaters44 #parenthood #scriptureTweet
(Bible verses are taken from the ESV)
(Cover photo courtesy of Jonathan Borba on Unsplash)