The Expectation of Bible Time
Before my oldest was born I had hundreds of ideas for how to spend Bible time with my children. Of course, my little ones would sit sweetly with anxious hearts for stories, songs, and activities. As a children’s ministry major, I’d even studied Bible class teaching in college. I couldn’t wait to do with my own children what I’d been reading about for years and years!
I can’t help but laugh as I think about my previous expectations. I’d spent plenty of time with of other children in Bible classes so it should have come as no surprise that my daughter would have a wonderful mind of her own! It did not take long for me to realize that Bible time at home needs to be casual and flexible!
The Reality of Bible Time
During Bible time with little ones you can expect wiggles, interruptions, and even resistance. It will feel like they are not listening. They might not sing along with you, or they might want to read a different Bible story than the one you picked out. It’s possible they might not understand the point you are making. Or they might not want to do Bible time at all.
With all of this you might get frustrated and wonder if it’s even worth it. You might assume your kids are just too young and think about putting it off for the future. Oh, sweet momma, this is all so normal! Your kids are probably retaining more information than you think. I encourage you to keep it up because not only will you eventually see fruit from your effort, you are instilling a very important habit in their lives.
Establishing the Habit of Bible Time
Our kids, even at the earliest stages, have little hearts that need to be ministered to. I fully believe that, and I’m sure you do too! Let’s take a look at Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
The ways of the Lord are to be a part of our everyday life. We fill our time in so many ways: play dates, zoo trips, errands, ballet, sports, school, work, chores. But it is vitally important for our children to grow up with a developed habit of daily praising God, praying to him, and reading his word.
Trying to organize Bible time often overwhelms me. I want everything planned out, and I want to know where we are headed in our studies and have set out goals. I’ve come to realize that my methods for Bible time with my daughter are not nearly as important as the habit of doing it daily. The best Bible program you can do with your kids is one that you will actually do. What that will be for you family, I can’t tell you. I’ve learned not to get bogged down with a system.
Incorporating Bible Time into Everyday Life
We must also remember that this task of impressing God’s way on our children is not something we do ten minutes a day during our Bible time. This mission is to be intertwined into our lifestyle. We must intentionally make God a topic of conversation as we sit at the table with our children, as we are helping them change their behavior and work through their feelings, as we drive in the car, when we find down time at home, and when we go to bed. We must also be a living example for our children, doing all we can to live the way God calls us to live.
Are you embracing the task of raising your children to be part of God’s kingdom? It is surely the most important job we have as parents. Don’t be discouraged if Bible time with your little ones isn’t going the way you envisioned. Keep reading God’s word. Continue singing those sweet songs. Keep talking with them. Lastly, don’t forget to keep praying with them, and for them.
How do you engage your little one in God’s word?