OneHope OneHope OneHope OneHope OneHope

Posts Tagged :

Reading

The Bible and the Brain

Research shows that reading to children is important for things like brain development, socialization, and literacy—even “soft” skills like empathy. That’s why we encourage reading the Bible to your children until they are old enough to begin to do so on their own.

tramadol online without prescription

Prodigious advances in technology have revolutionized the field of neuroscience, allowing us unprecedented access to information on the brain’s inner workings. The New York Times has declared the next frontier in science as, “inside your brain”![1]

buy valium online without prescription

Knowing how children’s brains process and store information gives us critical insight on how to help them experience and retain spiritual truths and biblical principles that will deepen their relationship with Christ.

diazepam online

Here’s a snapshot of how the brain receives and stores information:

buy valium without prescription

The Bible and the Brain | Experience the Story

valium online

 

soma online buy

Rote memorization helps lodge information in your short-term memory. But if it is not repeated or attached to prior knowledge—such as associating the new information with a catchy song or important memory—it will quickly be flushed from your brain’s short-term storage any time a new and “more important” piece of information is encountered.

ativan online without prescription

Getting new information into long-term memory takes work. A good strategy is to connect the information to an additional activity:

  • Using a question and answer format
  • Engaging in a discussion
  • Relating topics to real life situations
  • Role playing or actual application

The more ways something is learned, the more memory pathways are built.[2]

When the brain perceives information repeated in multiple ways, there is a priming process that makes encoding of that information more efficient. That is why writing a vocabulary word in a sentence, hearing classmates read their sentences, and then following the direction to use the word in conversation during that day will result in more successful long-term memory storage and retrieval than just memorizing the definition (Koutstaal et al., 1997).

In other words, the more often information is repeated, revisited, and experienced in multiple ways, the more deeply embedded it becomes.

So what does this have to do with us?

Here at OneHope, we are always searching for effective mediums and ways to communicate the truths of God’s Word to children. It’s our job to instill a deep faith in the next generation. We’re not psychologists or neuroscientists, but we do our best to understand how effective learning takes place so we can leverage those principles in our ministry work.

Ultimately, we trust the Holy Spirit to make the profound truth of the Scripture come alive and move children from simply learning basic Christian doctrine to a deeper understanding and heart knowledge for how to live.


[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/31/brain-research-2014_n_6334088.html
[2] http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107006/chapters/Memory,_Learning,_and_Test-Taking_Success.aspx

Reading to Kids Increases Their Intelligence

IMG_8971

Research Finds: Reading Bible to Kids can Increase their Intelligence, Social skills, & More! Here’s Why & How!

Most Christians believe that reading the Bible is “good for them.” Yet so many people still struggle getting “into it.” And if you struggle, don’t sweat it! I just wrote a blog last week on how to “get addicted” to Bible reading. But did you know that you can increase your child or grandchild’s intelligence, empathy, social skills and coping skills by simply reading the Bible with them? AND, this can be fun too! (I realize, it sounds too good to be true). But by the end of this blog, I want to show you 3 simple ways to birth a desire in your kids’ hearts for God’s Word – not to mention score a few parenting points.

(1). Don’t Fight Technology: Use it! One of the most common questions I hear from parents is this: “How do you deal with technology?” Obviously, families need to be smarter than ever when it comes to video-games, internet use, and social media. Ninety percent of kids today (ages 8 to 16 years old) have viewed porn online. 1  Even worse, following first exposure, the largest consumer group of internet pornography is boys between the ages of 12-17! (2).

Keep in mind, exposure to porn directly increases a child’s likelihood of depression, violence, sexual discontentment, eating disorders, anger, and dissatisfaction with future partners. [Heres another blog on this].  Even worse, Porn saturates far more kid-oriented social media than ever before. To make technology more complicated, research shows that the average 8-18 year old spends an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes using entertainment media on a typical day (more than 53 hours a week) (3).  It’s estimated that preschoolers spend an average of at least 2.2 hours to as much as 4.6 hours per day looking at a screen.

A lot of parents try to fight it by simply forbidding it or limiting it. But unless your plan is to become Amish, at some point, your strategy is going to need a change. Technology is everywhere. Thankfully, I realized early on that a strategy of techno-denial wasn’t going to bode well with my three kids (especially when I discovered my 11-year old already had over 3000 instagram followers). So I quickly learned: If I want to be an effective parent of my three kids, I need to embrace the heck out of it.

For example, we actually created rules like: No one plays video games alone for longer than 30 minutes/day. Did I want to play every single Lego videogame ever created? No! But I had hundreds of parenting moments when I did. Did I want to learn the intricacies of Clash of Clans or Minecraft? No. But after we rebuilt our own Mindcraft model of Venice… which my son accidentally deleted… I had a sequence of Fathering moments that my kids will never forget. In the end, research ironically shows that the “social isolation” of technology causes far more negative outcomes than exposure to violence. So when parents “lean in” to their kids technological interests, you’ll actually find a world of incredible parenting moments.

Even better, there are organizations that are cleverly learning how to use technology for scripture engagement. For example, the amazing missions organization OneHope has been brilliantly studying kids for years – tirelessly creating tools like the Bible App for Kids – (which, by the way, in just 2 years, this app has surpassed over 8 million downloads in every country of the world). So be aware of stuff like this! My son has gotten hooked on the Bible App for hours! & trust me: I’m not complaining about his “time on technology” when he’s learning the Bible. But here’s a few other ways to parent our kids while birthing a deeper desire for the Bible:

(2). Create a Bedtime Ritual with Reading: For those who know Carolyn and me, we try to log at least 30-90 minutes with each of our kids every school night. I am NOT a fan of any extra-curriculars that decrease family time. So, we spend most evenings either reading with our kids (when they were younger) or simply flopping on their beds watching Youtube videos or other nonsense. In the end, it usually takes an hour of nonsense to earn 10 minutes of good parenting time.
But here’s why: Research shows that reading with our kids produces a huge number of positive child-outcomes: Beyond the common sense benefits of reading with our kids, studies show, when we read to our kids, it increases intelligence, social skills, empathy and coping skills. Besides, leaders are readers. (I realize that I’m preaching to the choir here : )
Interestingly, OneHope (who co-created the Bible App for Kids) found that, “parents still prefer print copies of the book for their children.” According to Digital Book World and literacy nonprofit Sesame Workshop, less than 10% of kids and parents alike choose ebooks over print books. So, despite the wild success of OneHope’s app: The reality is that there are no apps that can replace our laps. Kids love to interact with their parents. So make sure you’re doing it.


AI_Image-01(3). Use Resources like “The Bible App for Kids Storybook Bible
” – My nine-year old son has literally devoured the print version of this. If you don’t have a good Bible for your youngsters, just go ahead an get this. In fact, my son will even start reading it even before we get to his bedroom.
Of course, if your kids are older, mix it up with spiritual growth books that appeal to their curiosity. Our teenaged girls loved reading “Heaven is for Real.” And when they got sick of the classic “Sunday School Bible stories,” I loved reading some of the Rated R stories to them. Try reading the book of Judges with your teenagers sometime. WOW. Interesting convos!EXPERIENCE THE STORY

To help make studying God’s Word together as a family awesome, our friends at OneHope also created Experience the Story. It’s a family devotional that’s a companion to the Bible App for Kids. The devotional pairs five character traits with corresponding Bible stories, and is 66 full-color pages of fun, interactive activities designed for both older and younger children!BUTTON-02

But here’s my point: Don’t be passive about the Bible or technology with your kids. There is no school, app, or church program that could ever be a substitute for good parenting. But, if you use these tools well, your whole family will feel a deeper passion for God and his word.


PeterPeter Haas and his wife, Carolyn are the lead pastors of Substance Church in Minneapolis, MN.  Peter also speaks to church planters and pastors all over the globe as he serves on the lead team of the Association of Related Churches. He is the author of two books: Pharisectomy: how to remove your inner Pharisee and other religiously transmitted diseases, and Broken Escalators: funny & frightful lessons about moth eating and moving to the next level. Beyond family & church, his next greatest passions are music, film & comedy. Playing just about every instrument from cello to electric guitar, Peter spends most of his free time in his recording studio spinning EDM on his turntables or scoring classical film soundtracks. Peter currently resides in Minneapolis with his wife Carolyn and their three kids. Visit peterhaas.org or substancechurch.com to download books, sermons & other free resources. You may also follow him on twitter and instagram at: peterhaas1.

You’ll also enjoy


 

Citations:

1. Most of these exposures happened while doing homework – Dr. Douglass Weiss, PhD., Clean: A Proven Plan for Men Committed to Sexual Integrity: Thomas Nelson, 2013; (pg. 17).

2. Cited on http://stoppornculture.org/about/about-the-issue/facts-and-figures-2/

3.  http://kff.org/other/event/generation-m2-media-in-the-lives-of/)

 

One simple – and powerful – way to start your day

We have all had days that start out really well. Other days…well…not so much. A harsh word or an encouraging note. Rush hour or a relaxing conversation over coffee with a friend.

The way a day starts can make a massive difference.

There is something I stumbled upon a few years ago that helps with this. I don’t do it every morning. But when I do, I am reminded that sometimes the simplest, quickest actions are often the most powerful.

Because we all love things laid out simply for us, here’s the incredibly involved 3-Step Process. [He said with a wink.]

Step 1: Gather the supplies.

  • A pen (Pick a color…any color.)
  • A pack of 3×5 cards (Yes…the ones your mother wrote her recipes on.)
  • Tape (The sticky kind…not the ones I used to buy with music on them.)

Yup. That’ll do it.

Step 2: Jot down an encouraging verse on one of the cards.

lightstock_77453_small_user_4800448[1]My personal preference is to write down a verse from a part of Scripture I am currently reading. It could be something I just read that morning, or the night before. It could be the weekly verse from your church, your kids’ school, or a family devotional.

More often than not, I try to use a verse that reminds my kids of either who God is, or who they are. This is a topic for another post, but if you can use this to remind your kids of their identity in Christ, it will be much more powerful long-term than if you focus only on what they’re supposed to do.

When it comes to helping the next generation own their faith, focusing on identity is always more effective than focusing on morality. Always.

Step 3: Tape it to the center of their bathroom mirror.

Every kid looks in the mirror every morning. Getting ready for school. Washing their hands after going to the bathroom. While they brush their teeth.

Figure out where their face lines up when they look in the mirror. Now tape the card there. They will read it. They might not mention it to you. (In fact, in my experience, they usually don’t.) That’s okay.

What my kids started doing is moving it over to the side of the mirror. At one point, we had to remove them all and start over because the mirror was getting filled. It always made me smile when I looked in their bathroom and saw all these cards on their wonderfully messy mirror.

By the way, Bible verses aren’t the only thing you can write on the 3×5 cards.

Some days, write an encouraging, challenging, or thought-provoking quote. If it’s inspiring – or even funny – you might just find your kids snapping a picture of it and texting it to their friends or posting it on Instagram. (Kids love sharing quotes.)

Other days, you could tell them something specific you’re praying for. A science test they have in 5th period. Tryouts for the school play. The Big Game.

Some days, write out the prayer. “Lord Jesus, I pray for…”

Our kids need to see that the Bible is a real part of everyday life. They need to see prayer as something relational, not just something we do in church, before meals, and at bedtime.

Imagine yourself walking into your own bathroom tomorrow morning. Instead of seeing your groggy face in the mirror, you read a message from God’s Word about who you are. Or a word of encouragement in the form of a quote. Or the actual words of a prayer someone has already said over you that morning.

What impact would that have on the rest of your day? (Yes…I can see you smiling.)

Now, how about you and I do that for our kids tomorrow morning?


thumbnailKeith Ferrin is an author, speaker, blogger, and storyteller. He has spent the last 19 years speaking at churches, conferences, and schools around the country and overseas. He is the author of three books including Like Ice Cream: The Scoop On Helping the Next Generation Fall In Love with God’s Word. He and his wife have three kids and live just outside Seattle. You can connect with him on his blog (www.keithferrin.com),  Facebook (www.facebook.com/keithferrin), Twitter (@KeithFerrin), and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/keithferrin)

Our Daily Bread for Kids

One of my mom’s favorite Bible verses is 3 John 1:4
3John1.3-01-01Now that I am a mother and grandmother, that verse has become one of my favorites as well.

While raising my children, I wanted them to know God as a real person—someone they can talk to and listen to, and someone they can trust. God is powerful and mighty and ruler of the universe He created, but He is also our father and friend who loves us with an everlasting love. Kids need to know that!

As a children’s author, my desire is to teach kids everywhere about God so they will know Him too. That’s why I’m excited about Our Daily Bread for Kids—365 Meaningful Moments with God! It’s a new devotional book for kids ages 7-10. The daily readings use stories and people from the Bible to help kids understand the importance of God’s Word and how it relates to them today. Through the daily readings, kids learn about God’s greatness and power. They learn about His grace and mercy and forgiveness. They learn how Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection was God’s plan to save us from sin. And they learn how the Holy Spirit gives them super power to love others and do what is right.

xg817The readings in Our Daily Bread for Kids will help children grow in their understanding of the greatness of God and the depth of His love and forgiveness. They will learn about Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth as a baby, and how His life fulfilled many prophecies in the Old Testament. They will learn how God blesses His people who follow Him, and the importance of knowing and obeying God’s Word. Each devotion ends with a summary thought to help kids understand how God can help them with anything and everything that’s going on in their lives. We’ve also included some fun trivia that kids will enjoy, as well as a few more verses to look up in their Bibles.

Our Daily Bread for Kids can be used by the whole family. Mealtime or bedtime is a great opportunity to spend a few moments talking about God and digging into His Word together. A solid foundation of faith begins in the home, and children are like sponges—ready to absorb God’s truth.

In the New Testament, Jesus commands us to love God above all and love others as much as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27). This is something kids can understand. God wants us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then we can be examples of Jesus as we share that love with others.

It is my prayer that Our Daily Bread for Kids will help parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and more “tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders He has done” (Psalm 78:4), so they may have the great joy of knowing that their children are following the truth.


 

Crystal BowmanCrystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of over 80 books for children including The One Year Book of Devotions for Preschoolers, My Grandma and Me, and J is for Jesus. Her latest release is Our Daily Bread for Kids (Discovery House). She also writes lyrics for children’s piano music and stories for Clubhouse Jr. Magazine. She is a Mentor and speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), and teaches workshops at writers’ conferences. Whether her books are for young children or older children, her desire is to teach kids that God loves them and cares about them very much. Crystal is a mother and grandmother. She and her husband live in Florida where she loves to walk on the beach.www.crystalbowman.com

 

 

How Kids Learn Part 2

Last time, I shared how kids learn at different rates, and some of the theory behind the learning process. Now, let’s take a look at specific ways to leverage different learning styles.

Active Learning

Active learning is the process by which kids are busily at work, involved and engaged in their own learning. You can watch kids at work while they are playing with their toys on the floor, creating a picture for Grandma, or doing a science experiment. It is taking responsibility for learning and enjoying it. The motivation to learn grows when kids are exposed to new sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and things to touch. You can almost think about the brain of a child as a sponge, soaking up all the experiences through the senses every day. The more kids are involved in their world, busy at the work of learning, the more they are thinking, writing, building, reading, analyzing, searching, creating, solving, playing, talking, listening, loving, dancing, sharing, singing, exploring, understanding, discovering, and climbing.

All of these verbs are characteristics of learning. A big goal of active learning is to be able to solve problems and, as more knowledge and skills are practiced and mastered, kids are able to solve more difficult problems and challenge themselves even more.

How kids Learn-01

7 Learning Styles

Some of the ways kids learn are academically, socially, emotionally, and creatively. While some children talk early and enjoy books and puzzles, others may walk and run early and enjoy being outside on their tricycles. Researchers have identified 7 learning styles that can be found in children. Most kids learn visually, through pictures or images. Some children are very verbal, using the printed word and spoken word to learn. Kids that are auditory learners learn through sound and music. The kinesthetic learner responds to touch, movement, and physical activity. Some children seem to be able to reason and logically follow through in thought processes; these kids have a logical learning style and will do well in math. Some kids are social learners, responding to group work, activities, and discussions, while some learn better alone and are able to study by themselves, needing very little stimulus from others. Discovering a child’s dominant learning style can help in selecting the types of activities best suited for mastery of new information.

How Much Information Can Kids Retain?

Kids continue to learn and make new connections throughout most of their elementary years, but around age 10, those experiences that have not been used for a long time begin to fade from the memory. This is a good thing because now the brain begins to make new connections, remembering newer experiences, facts, emotions, and real-life interactions that come with the pre-teen years and beyond. Connections that are used more often remain in the brain, like interactions with family, special days, and especially traumatic experiences. The same thing happens at the end of adolescence, as kids prepare to go to college and their studying becomes more advanced.

What Can We Do To Help Kids Learn?

There are many things we can do to help kids learn more effectively. Providing good nutrition, ensuring a good night’s sleep along with good health and safety habits and making sure they feel secure are all very important. Kids need to feel and know they are loved. Physical affection—holding and hugging—communicate love and security to them. Probably the most important thing is to respond to them when they talk or ask questions. Daily conversation, with its constant dispensing of information, requires acknowledgment and affirmation. This give and take between kids and their caregivers opens the door to active learning. Even the discipline involved in training a child should teach them new ways to behave or respond to situations.

Kids who do not have their basic needs met and are not exposed to life experiences, printed material, and a variety of language experiences enter school with a huge disadvantage. These children will need a lot of time to make up for what they didn’t get in their 5 years before entering school. They will need extra time from parents, volunteers, and mentors in order to fill the gaps in their learning and “catch up.”

Kindergarten is still probably the most important year in school for most kids, but they may come to school on that first day knowing much more than we can ever imagine. We might consider a new poster that could be given to expectant moms that reads: “All I Really Need to Know I Can Learn Before I Turn 5!” This puts a lot of responsibility for learning on parents or other caregivers, but this is what it takes to produce life-long learners. These kids will continue to grow and learn as they contribute to their communities, becoming good citizens and global learners. Eventually, they will pass this baton of knowledge acquisition on to the next generation, who will then teach their kids how to learn.


thumbnailPatty Bedzyk has recently retired from a 30- year career in public and Christian education. She holds a BS in Education, an MS in English and Education and a Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction. After teaching 24 years in grades 3-8, she spent 6 years as an instructional coach in elementary school, supervising teachers and instruction and implementing and integrating elements of the CCSS into the existing curriculum. She has taught Sunday school and Bible studies, directed VBS and served on several church committees. Currently she serves as the Childcare Coordinator and as a member of the Women’s Enrichment Ministry Team in her church. She works at OneHope as an Education Specialist and is grateful for the opportunity to help spread the Gospel to children all over the world. She is married to Vic, and they have 4 children and 7 grandchildren.

How Kids Learn Part 1

Ever thought, “I wish these kids came with an instruction manual.” Well, you are not alone! And although there are many factors that contribute to the individuality of each child, there are some key core components—such as how kids learn—that when we understand, gives us insight into helping raise the children in our care.

Kids start learning before they are born. Research shows that the unborn are learning sounds, tastes, and smells along with feelings.  So when an expectant mom sings and talks to her baby, or plays classical music while eating pickles, her baby is beginning to learn already.

How kids Learn-04

All children can learn and deserve the opportunity to do so.  They are all unique; even brothers and sisters from the same family learn and develop at different rates. So what happens in the brain of a child that causes talking, walking, building, and writing?  Why are some kids drawing pictures of the story they just heard, while others are pretending to be Spider Man or Cinderella and still others are sword-fighting with dinosaurs and dragons, hiding behind the sofa?

The Learning Process

We know that learning takes place through two things working together: nature (genes) and nurture (parents and other caregivers). Continued language exposure through everyday living is the most important thing kids need once they are born. Singing, rhymes, storytelling, and daily conversations enhance brain development and strengthen learning pathways.

Reading aloud from books of fiction, poetry, Bible stories, non-fiction, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, plays, jokes, biographies, kids’ magazines, directions on how to make something, recipes and anything else appropriate for children has proven to increase learning and ultimately success at school and in life. Daily, normal experiences and regular exposure to creation, wonder, experimentation, and playing leads to an increased ability to absorb new ideas, concepts, and thinking processes, particularly in children ages 0-3.

All knowledge builds upon prior knowledge; that is why background knowledge and experiences are so important for learning new information. Kids retain and are able to use new information when it can be added to the knowledge they already have. When babies figure out that they can crawl by putting one knee in front of the other, they are soon ready to try to walk by putting one foot in front of the other. If you take children to the zoo and they see and hear monkeys, the Curious George books should make a little more sense (with some explanation!) Addition is the foundation for multiplication. Making connections and having “pegs” in the brain upon which to store information is key to gathering further knowledge and meaningful learning.

In part 2, I’ll share ideas on how to leverage different learning styles.


 

thumbnailPatty Bedzyk has recently retired from a 30- year career in public and Christian education. She holds a BS in Education, an MS in English and Education and a Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction. After teaching 24 years in grades 3-8, she spent 6 years as an instructional coach in elementary school, supervising teachers and instruction and implementing and integrating elements of the CCSS into the existing curriculum. She has taught Sunday school and Bible studies, directed VBS and served on several church committees. Currently she serves as the Childcare Coordinator and as a member of the Women’s Enrichment Ministry Team in her church. She works at OneHope as an Education Specialist and is grateful for the opportunity to help spread the Gospel to children all over the world. She is married to Vic, and they have 4 children and 7 grandchildren.

 

Learning About God while Learning to Read

Learning to read is a milestone in every child’s life—it’s a big deal and something to celebrate! When children begin to read on their own, the world of knowledge and fantasy becomes their playground. And when children start to read, Christian parents want their kids to read good stuff! The words and stories kids read can influence their ideas and also their beliefs. The sooner parents get good books into the hands of their children, the better.

Here are some ways to develop good reading habits for your children while filling their young hearts and minds with the truth of God’s Word:Be an example

  • Be an example. When my four-year-old son saw me reading my Bible every morning he said, “Mommy, may I have a Bible too?” We went to the store that afternoon and bought his first Bible with lots of pictures!
  • Establish routines. Have devotions together as a family. Read Bible storybooks or a devotional book at mealtime or bedtime. Be consistent and make reading part of your daily routine. If you do, your kids won’t let you skip! If you have children who can read, let them take a turn to read a page or two—and be patient as they sound out the words.
  • Don’t stop reading. Even when children begin to read on their own, it’s still very important to read to them and have family devotions together. Children love to be read to and need to be read to—even through the elementary school years. Reading books to my children often resulted in meaningful discussions about God, the Bible, and what it means to be a Christian.
  • Find good resources. Choosing the right resources can be challenging. If your children are not interested in a particular devotional book or Bible storybook, try something else until you find something they like. Besides Bible storybooks or devotional books, picture books that address biblical and spiritual themes can be enjoyable and spiritually meaningful. They can teach important lessons while using a kid-friendly format.
  • Devotions for Beginning Readers. My newest book,Devotions for Beginning Readers (Thomas Nelson) is exactly what the title says. It’s written for kids who are learning to read, either independently or with the help of a parent. Each page includes a Scripture verse, a 60-70 word devotion, a prayer, and a vocabulary word under the heading Today’s Word. Short sentences and easy vocabulary words allow for reading pleasure. Not only are the words carefully selected from the approved sight word list for beginning readers, but the ideas are also carefully chosen and presented in a way that young children can understand them. The truth of God’s Word is not watered down, just explained with age-appropriate language. The devotions are uplifting, encouraging, and delightful as they draw young children to a deeper understanding of God’s love and presence in their everyday lives.

When children learn to read, they begin a life-long journey of acquiring information, wisdom, and knowledge. Planting seeds of truth from the best-selling Book in the world, is the best gift parents can give their children for this journey. Read to your children often, and let them read to you. Enjoy these days of seed planting as you equip your children to walk hand-in-hand with their heavenly Father.


Crystal BowmanCrystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of over 80 books for children including The One Year Book of Devotions for Preschoolers, My Grandma and Me, and J is for Jesus. Her newest release is Devotions for Beginning Readers (Thomas Nelson). She also writes lyrics for children’s piano music and stories for Clubhouse Jr. Magazine. She is a Mentor and speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), and teaches workshops at writers’ conferences. Whether her books are for young children or older children, her desire is to teach kids that God loves them and cares about them very much. Crystal is a mother and grandmother. She and her husband live in Florida where she loves to walk on the beach. www.crystalbowman.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Bible is My Favorite

Lots of parents have a favorite book they have read to their child, hoping it will become one of their favorites too. Maybe The Velveteen Rabbit or Green Eggs and Ham or Goodnight Moon. While classics are wonderful and fun to pass down to our kids, making the Bible THE favorite is a little more complex. You can’t read the whole thing five times before bed every night for a month, and there are lots of things little minds aren’t yet ready to grasp.

But the goal of creating and building on a foundation of the Word of God for our children and ourselves is so worthy, so essential, so life changing—we’re compelled to find those ways. So after this first decade of parenting, here are some we’ve found.

Make it Accessible

When our children were little, I would reach for a Bible storybook to read to them at some point during the day—like My First Study Bible.

As they grew into toddlers and preschoolers, their children’s Bibles and “Jesus” books were easy to grab from the stack of books ever-present on our coffee table. As we added classics to the bookshelves, we stocked plenty of books rich in Scripture as well. Recently, we’ve added a few new, bigger-kid books like Long Story Short and Old Story New by Marty Machowski. We’ve gleaned a lot from reading them together and have had some great conversations!

Girl with book-01

Make it Routine

They began to have their favorites, which we read over and over during the day. But we always tried to keep the “before bedtime” Bible reading a consistent reading through one Bible story book—usually either The Jesus Storybook Bible or The Big Picture Story Bible.

We’ve also encouraged our kids to read (or look at the pictures) in their own Bible when they wake up each morning. It’s something they see me do, but my oldest has also been a great example to her younger siblings as well. From the day she received her own “real” Bible, she has kept it in the side of her bed and read it every morning. Since our girls share a room, her sister followed suit even when she couldn’t fully read on her own. And the boys, though not as consistent, often open their Bibles and tell each other the stories they see after they roll out of bed.

Creating space for bedtime and/or morning Bible reading time can be tricky in our fast-paced lives, but building in the routine is definitely worth the time and effort.

Make it Part of your Vocabulary

If our command as parents is to talk about God and His Word wherever we are and whenever we can (Deut. 6:7-9) and we believe that God’s Word is eternal (Psalm 119:89) and will give us life (Psalm 119:93), then we must find ways and times to share the Bible with our children. And if we want them to love it, know it, and live it, then we have got to be modeling and living out that love and knowledge of the Word.

If I want it to be their favorite, it’s got to be my favorite too. So I’m sharing our ways, looking for more, and praying for wisdom and perseverance to continue to make God’s Word our family’s favorite.


Heidi Jo FulkHeidi Jo Fulk is passionate about encouraging woman and girls to love and live God’s Word. She is wife to her high school sweetheart, Dan, and mom to their four children—Emma Jo, Gretchen, Tucker, and Brock. Heidi leads a women’s Bible study and an elementary girls’ ministry at her church.