Parents, You Are The Primary Discipler, Now What? (Part 2)
And 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 ESV)
Last post (Part 1) gave 3 steps to start being the primary discipler:
1. Talk to your kids daily about God
2. Decide what you are going to say.
3. Pray for your kids and pray with you kids
And this post I want to focus on the first step “Talk to your kids daily about God” by sharing how this works out in my home and by giving some book titles that I believe are must haves in every Christian home with kids (and without:))!
A conversation with my kids after school….
After school yesterday, I was in the kitchen getting snack ready for my kids while they were prepping their lunches for school the next day. My son, Judson, said to me, “Mom, can I have a peanut-free sandwich tomorrow so I can sit with my friend because he is allergic to peanuts?” I said sure and kept prepping their snack. He then proceeded to have a conversation with his sister about his friend, who I guess used to argue in kindergarten with my niece.
I entered back into the conversation when I hear my daughter say, “That is funny that they used to fight.” My heart sank and in that moment I had two choices. I could either say to her “That isn’t very nice to say” or I could remember that I am one of the primary disciplers in our home and use this as a teaching moment. I decided on the later.
I said to my daughter, “Do you remember the bible story you learned the other week in Redeemer Kids where two people were arguing? What did God say about that?”
She looked at me and said “No” right away. But my two sons both immediately started to squirm and started to tell her the answer. I quickly asked them to stop so that she could answer. Well, to make a long story short, after half an hour of her looking through a children’s bible looking for the answer with no luck because most children’s story bibles don’t include the story of Cain killing his brother, I asked one of her brothers to tell her the story of Cain and Able.
He told her the story in complete detail and we then got to have a conversation about what happens in our hearts when we are angry and how unrighteous anger against someone is a sin and not something that is funny. And although this conversation was much longer and more time consuming then just telling her that what she said wasn’t very nice, it was pretty important for all of us.
My daughter got to learn more deeply about anger, my son was able to teach her about the Bible and practice some leadership skills, and I was given a quick assessment into my kids’ knowledge and retention of what they have been learning and what they know and don’t know in terms of their biblical literacy. And all of this came from simply “talk(ing) of them when you sit in your house” after school while we were prepping and eating snack.
These kinds of spontaneous spiritual conversations are super important and we all need to have them all the time as Deuteronomy 6:6-7 instructs but they also need to happen daily at specific and planned times - just like instructing your kids to brush their teeth. Below are some resources I believe will help you to do this during your family devotionals. I know there are tons of other resources that can do these things, but here are a few books that I believe should be in every Christian home and I will break them out by age appropriateness just in terms of what I have seen work for attention spans.
Everything a Child Should Know About God by Kenneth Taylor and Jenny Brake
From Marty Machowski, author of The Gospel Story Bible, “Everything a Child Should Know About God” is a pre-school dynamite! Kenneth Taylor explains our incomprehensible God in ways even a four-year-old can understand. Get a copy for your family and introduce your young children to our amazing God and the life transforming, powerful, message of the gospel.”
We are currently using this for our family devotional and it has sparked great conversations with all our kids age 7-12.
The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm
From Trevin K. Wax, Managing Editor, The Gospel Project, “When serving as a pastor, I frequently purchased and gave this Bible to families with young children in hopes that the parents would read and absorb its message. Here’s a Bible storybook that shows the biblical story from Creation to New Testament - a book that anticipates Jesus in the Old Testament and makes his crucifixion and resurrection the proper climax of the New Testament. My wife and I love it. Our kids love it. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
3 and up:
The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sallie Lloyd-Jones
From Tim Keller, Senior Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City “I would urge not just families with young children to get this book, but every Christian - from pew warmers, to ministry leaders, seminarians and even theologians! Sally Lloyd-Jones has captured the heart of what is means to find Christ in all the scriptures, and has made clear even to little children that all God’s revelation has been about Jesus from the beginning - a truth not all that commonly recognized even among the very learned.”
Our family uses this bible so much we are on our second copy. The first was getting worn out so we ripped it apart and use it for our advent devotional with the pictures hanging on the wall in our living room each Christmas season. It is an invaluable book to have in your home and to give to friends!
6 and up:
The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski
From Timothy Paul Jones, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Family Ministry, Southern Seminary; editor of The Journal of Family Ministry “I could speak at length about how much I recommend Marty Machowski s books to churches and indeed I do, along with books from a long list of other authors. But Marty s resources for families and children also appear on a far shorter list that places them in a more significant category for me: they are books that I actually use in my home. Again Marty has provided us with a God-centered, Scripture-grounded, gospel-driven resource that orients the minds of children toward the wondrous works of God.”
I hope that theses books bless your families as they have blessed ours!