To start off…Study the bible with the children.
Looking back to how I was when I was a kid, seems so different to how kids are nowadays. Our manners are a reflection of our way of life. For this reason, contrary to what some may think, good manners should hold an important place at home. In this, as in other aspects of family life, parental example is of prime importance. I also deem spiritual food is as important as emotional well-being. What has the bible got to do with all these?
Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it.”
Many may regard the Bible as old or useless, but the bible sets the standard of what good manners are.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.
Young years are formative years and this is the best time to still in them the principles given by the Bible. Some may argue that children are too young to get much from Bible study. But if they can repeat TV commercials word for word and learn catchy phrases on certain programs, certainly they are capable of learning Bible principles. Even 1-year olds can already point to the illustrations in Bible based books (at least that’s how it is with my Daniel).
However, knowing some Bible principles is different from understanding where and how to apply them. This is particularly true in the case of children. There is the need to recognize this and the need to constantly help children to understand the whys and wherefores. For example, a child may be told not to steal. This does not mean much to a youngster with no sense of property rights when he sees something that he wants as just ‘something he wants’. Explaining that taking things that are not one’s property makes him a thief and would make God unhappy (this is well understood by my 2 older children) is a good start…At one time when Alexie was around 4, we saw a new lipgloss lying on the ground. She stared at it for some time then looked at me and said, “Mommy, I’m not going to take that cause we don’t own it.”
Studying the Bible with children is a sort of protection both for them and the parents. I somehow see the fulfillment of 2 Timothy 3:1 -3 happening and its scary. It goes: 1But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, 3 having no natural affection…
I have seen how the kids respond to our bible studies and I think this is better than reading them a fairytale story before going to bed. Twenty minutes before sleeping and twenty minutes when they awoke isn’t much but I’m sure they would learn a lot.