Intentional Teaching

Thursday, January 03, 2008 7 Comments A+ a-

I had a coffee date with Sarah on New Year’s Day and it was a wonderful visit! Kid-free time equals uninterrupted, one-on-one time and it was so uplifting. We were able to catch up on each other’s lives, hear about the struggles each of us are currently facing, and basically soak in each other’s company. I went home feeling light-hearted and refreshed.

One of the things we discussed was intentionally teaching our children about God. I, for one, tend to forget about intentionally teaching Devyn and Hudson. After all, they’re going to church and Sunday school, Devyn attends BSF Bible Study with my mom once a week, and she’ll even start attending a Christian preschool next week. I forget that so much of her learning is going to come from me… at home. Plus, she’s really getting to an age where she grasps concepts and can dialogue with me (to an extent) about her thoughts. And so, I’ve resolved to start intentionally teach my children.

I’m not really sure how that’s going to look. We already read from her Children’s Bible and we pray before meals, at bed time, and any other time that she asks to pray but how do I intentionally teach them? (Any ideas or thoughts are hereby solicited.) We have started with this book titled, First Virtues for Toddlers. My parents gave this to both Devyn and Hudson for Christmas and I love it! Here’s a list of the twelve stories in the table of contents: Kitty Show Kindness… Piglet Tells the Truth… Bunny Loves Others… Duckling is Patient… Tiger Forgives… Puppy Makes Friends… Squirrel Says Thank You… Bear Obeys… Lamb is Joyful… Lion Can Share… Panda is Polite… and Koala Does His Best. Now at breakfast, after I’ve finished feeding Hudson and while Devyn is finishing her cereal, we read a story or two, say the verse that’s associated with the story a couple of items, and end it with Devyn’s resounding “Amen!”. I think this is going to be a new routine, hopefully every day. I know there will be days I forget, there will be days I just won’t do it, and days that I’ll need those reminders myself. But I pray that I’m planting seeds that will eventually take root in their lives.

And again… please share any thoughts or ideas with me. I’d love to hear how other mothers are intentionally teaching their children about God.

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

7 comments

Write comments
Carrie
AUTHOR
1:41 PM delete

Two books came to mind that are beautifully illustrated as well:
(Both by Kathryn O'Brien)
I'd Be your Princess - a royal tale of godly character and
I'd be Your Hero (Currently on the shelf in my sleeping son's room so I don't know the subtitle)
They are wonderfully written with Bible verses on each page that correlate with the Godly character trait.

Reply
avatar
7:29 PM delete

This post was interesting because I just went hunting online today to try to find some stuff for Cosette! I did find one interesting book at CBD, I think it was called 'ABC Bible verses', or something like that. I'll let you know what I think when I get it.
And I think if we're 'intentionally' thinking about teaching our children about God, then it should just kind of 'mold' itself into our whole day, right? Our meals, our discussions, our video choices, the books we read to them....I know, easier said than done :)
I'll be praying for you on this journey, because I'm right at the same point!

Reply
avatar
Christina
AUTHOR
11:38 AM delete

Hi Jenn, just a warning...this may be a very long comment. :-)

Intentionally teaching our children about God is so important. And sharing ideas is also important because we can learn so much from eachother.

Here are some things we do at home:

We have a devotional time together. We usually read from a childrens Bible, I let the boys pick which one. We either read right through it or I will choose one story and elaborate on it including activities and/or colouring pages. The latter is more of a pre-planned thing. The internet is a good resource for ideas.

We then do our "prayer jar". We have a jar that we decorated that has a whole bunch of things/people to pray for. We got stuck in a rut of praying before meals and before bed only so I wanted to start teaching them that prayer is talking to God and we can do that at anytime. I have included things like, church, various ministries, each other, countries, non-Christians, family members etc in the prayer jar. They each choose one from the jar and we take turns praying for that "topic or person". I hope I'm explaining this properly. At first I would pray and Tyler would repeat after me but he has the idea now so prays on his own. They love it and ask for prayer jar time. It's cute.

We do scripture memorization by putting verses to song. I spend 6 weeks on one verse because I found skipping from one verse to another was too much for them, they weren't sticking. But by spending this much time on each one, they now know 3 verses very well. We usually use the tune to "Are you sleeping". I can give you the list we're working on if you'd like.

I just found this book online:

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=2300074&event=WL&item_code=WW

I haven't ordered it yet but plan to. It's a simple book that goes through all the major themes in the Bible. I thought it would a great addition to our devotional time.

We also have a worship time where we put on some praise songs and sing and dance together. The kids love singing songs to Jesus. I am trying to show them that loving Jesus is so much more then a Sunday morning thing, it's an everyday, inside and out thing that is extremly fun and joyful. They love Donut Man CD's and Hilldong United (Hillsong's childrens ministry) the most. I also play these CD's in the car or just because. They are filled with great truths that the kids tend to sing even when the music isn't playing.

The last thing is I try to tie everything back to God. When we are taking a walk and the kids stop to look at a tree, I say that God made that beautiful tree. When they share nicely I say that by sharing they are loving eachother and that is exactly what God wants us to do. When Tyler asks me why the sky is blue a hundred times :-) I say because God is so creative.

I told you this was going to be long....sorry. :-)

Please share any other thoughts you might have on this topic. I love learning new techniques. ((HUGS))

Reply
avatar
AndiMae
AUTHOR
3:44 PM delete

Oh, Jenn! I can totally relate to this post! I have been thinking so much about this same topic lately- I am anxious to read the comments you will get. Great suggestions from you and your readers so far...

One book that has really encouraged me in this area is: "A Mother After God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George- lots of really practical ideas on how to teach your children about God.

Happy Weekend!

Reply
avatar
pedro
AUTHOR
12:29 PM delete

Jenn,

I think a lot about my upbringing and the upbringing of friends who grew up in the church. Some follow the path, and others don't. I know that some friends who don not now walk with Christ have had a hard time reconciling what they have been taught about the faith with the daily struggle of living. I don't know how to overcome this unfortunate disconnect for our kids, but I have a feeling that it involves our own daily crucifixion as parents, and thoughtfulness about exactly how what we say matches up with how we live.

It sounds like you have a great start. Keep teaching your kids by example and through teachable moments, like when you took Devyn to the mall to donate the toy for Christmas. Look for opportunities like this year-round.

Last year, my friend Phil wrote a post on his blog
about a children's Bible that he bought for his kids called The Lion Illustrated Bible for Children. Based on his recommendation, we just purchased one for Anna.

Reply
avatar
Wendy
AUTHOR
4:39 PM delete

We've used a prayer jar for a couple years. Everyday the kids draw a name out of it and we pray for that person. They have loved this.

I am reading "Leading Little Ones to God" w/my 7 and 5 yr. old right now. I would recommend this book for your kids when they are a little older.

Besides reading the Word, praying at night and before meals, I try to talk about God in everyday life. Pointing out things he has given us in everyday life that we should be thankful for, beauty in creation that he has made, etc.

When we are at a store and see someone acting angry or sad, etc. we talk about it and pray for that person as we drive home.

Music - keeping a Christian radio (or CD's) station on in the van and at home. I've been amazed at what they have learned through music, specifically verses put to music.

Reply
avatar
O Mama Mia
AUTHOR
5:48 PM delete

Intentional teaching is the best gift you can give to your children.
We have (& use OFTEN) the ABC Bible Verses mentioned above. It will be one of "tools" I'm sending you. We have our favorites that I'm sending copies to you.
Prayers, sweets!

Reply
avatar