A lot of my readers influence the hearts of children. Are you parenting, in children’s ministry, or an educator? Before we kick off a fresh theme for June, I want to share how one family makes Bible time work. Along with a personal telling of their journey, you’ll find a resource to help in yours. Welcome to Angela Henderson of Kidsbook Friends!
“I must confess to a personal reaction against the words family devotions or family altar. . .The realities of our faith do not require an ‘altar’. . .But what we call it isn’t as important as that we do it!” ~ Gladys Hunt
- A two year old and a baby . . . is this really a good time to start “Family Bible time”?
- And, if so, what do we even do, and when?
These are the questions my husband David and I asked ourselves six years ago when we felt a need for our son Christian to begin hearing God’s Word on a regular basis.
My mother-in-law gave us a great book to get started, The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories. We decided to give it a try at dinner time, but since David often came home later from work, we agreed that if we missed “family dinner,” we’d gather together for an after-dinner- treat and read together.
Dreams of Family Bible time
I admit I had a totally “romantic” picture of how this would go: my husband leading us in “Family Devotions.” My picture-perfect expectation lasted about two minutes into our first “Bible Time.” After dinner, Christian was ready to run, baby Victoria was fussing to be fed, I wanted to get everyone to bed, and David looked dazed after the pressures from his day.
Challenges to Family Bible time
We quickly encountered the first obstacle that Gladys Hunt lists in her helpful book, “Honey For A Child’s Heart:” “They wiggle and squirm so much that we wonder what they get out of it anyway.” With more realistic expectations and a vital added ingredient, Popsicles, we decided to keep trying.
Solutions to Family Bible time
For us, Popsicles worked! We would hand the Popsicle to Christian when we were ready to read the first word of the Bible story, and when he finished the last lick, we’d stop. (You have to find what works for you!) No, it was never perfect, ideal, or worthy to video and put on You Tube, but it worked well enough.
We concluded that just like we may not remember each meal we ate last week, we know each one nourished us, and so it is with what we still call “Popsicle Bible Time.” Our kids may not be able to recall each Bible reading, but we know it’s their “daily bread,” nourishing their souls for the long-term.
After six years of establishing the habit of “Popsicle Bible Time,” we’ve felt every obstacle on Hunt’s list and can probably add ten more of our own to it:
- We are just never all together when there is enough time.
- We’ve decided to wait until the kids are older & want to participate more willingly.
- We try to do something special every now and then.
And, we’ve thought through the “societal patterns” she lists:
- But what if the father doesn’t take any leadership to help make this happen?
- What if he is away from home much of the time?
- What if the mother works late?
- What if soccer practice interferes?
Commitment to Family Bible time
We echo her conclusions: “Don’t cancel something as important as Bible reading while waiting for more ideal circumstances. A child’s life is too brief!”
Now with three kids, ages 8, 6, and 2 ½ , we’ve learned ideal circumstances DO NOT EXIST! DO IT ANYWAY! We aim for 5 evenings of readings and sometimes only do a few, but it’s enough to keep the habit going.
Don’t wait until you’re perfect, the kids are content, or circumstances are more convenient; just start!
Click to TWEET & share this idea > Popsicle Family Bible time. B’cuz “ideal circumstances do not exist!” http://wp.me/p2H4E4-1Cs #FamilyDevotions
She is a former English and ESL teacher and a writing coach, but after reading kids’ books for 8 years, is now striving to write her own children’s books from ideas inspired by her three kiddos.