Illustration from The Jesus and Me Bible Storybook (Tommy Nelson, 2014)
Let’s face it, “Because I said so” isn’t the strongest of parenting techniques.
Sure, it may work in the moment, but when it comes to teaching our children lifelong lessons and conveying moral values, it falls remarkably short.
Proverbs 6:23 instructs us to…
…train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.
As parents, we often teeter that fine line between disciplinarian and softy.
In one instance, we can’t imagine ever getting mad at that precious baby we gave birth to and in another, we need someone to step in for us so we don’t lose our minds.
Similarly, we can’t simply tell our kids to believe in Jesus and expect them to follow suit.
Sure, they may dutifully believe, attend church with you, and even memorize verses, but what happens once they move out from under your roof?
If they haven’t internalized that belief to the point that it’s transcended from religion to relationship, chances are Jesus will remain nothing but a storybook figure in their minds.
So what’s a parent to do?
Instead of forcing the Bible into our kids and hoping they become a Jesus follower as a result, let’s demonstrate the love Jesus has shown us so that they seek out more of Him in the Bible and in their own lives.
Kids can sometimes mistake the Bible as a rule book and thus, miss not only the moral training behind His words, but more importantly, miss the love that inspired them.
That’s why it’s so important to start as early as possible by focusing on Jesus with our children so they begin to fall in love with Him and truly understand the depth of His love for us.
When kids fall in love with and become a follower of Jesus, all the moral training falls into place.
Because getting to know Jesus and falling in love with Jesus means more than just telling His stories, we need resources to guide our children in building a lifelong relationship with the Lord. The Jesus and Me Bible Storybook begins that relationship by revealing the amazing – and personal – love of the Savior for each of His children.
By creating and carving out family devotion times, you communicate the importance of not just reading God’s word, but actually discussing what it means in your lives and more importantly, how it can be put into practice. While our children may initially have difficulty understanding God’s words through biblical text, they can more easily identify with the stories and lessons that come to life through resources like The Jesus and Me Bible Storybook.
Just remember this: nothing can ever replace the consistent, caring teaching passed down from a parent to their child. Because when a child not only hears, but also sees their parents living out the lessons from Jesus, they begin to instill them as their own moral compass that will guide them throughout the rest of their lives.
What lessons did you learn from watching your parents live out Jesus’ love that you hope to model for your own children? How can we help our children fall in love with Jesus and see the Bible as God’s love letter to us, not a rule book of morals to follow?