What’s it like in your car when you drive your kids to school? In ours, it’s often frantic. We rush to get out the door and clamber into the car, just to get to school on time. Other days it’s an opportunity for one of my boys to annoy the other… until fighting ensues; or, we drive in silence listening to the radio. But, every so often, something different and meaningful happens. Let me tell you what happened today.
This morning was not a frantic one. We got out the door and into the car in a timely manner. I turned on the weekly podcast from our church and my boys began identifying the voices and the laughter they heard. Then unexpectedly, Tristan, my 7-year-old son asks me, “Hey Mom, what are you learning on Monday nights?” I had to stop and think for a moment. Do I give a quick answer, or do I take some time and actually explain what I’m learning? You see, on Monday nights I go to a women’s Bible study. We are working our way through the Bible, following God’s plan of redemption. In my head I’m thinking, how do I give a quick snapshot that a 7 and 5 year old can understand… and one we can discuss in the 10 minutes it takes us to get to school…without oversimplifying the matter.
So, after a couple seconds, I began by simply stating that we were going through the whole Bible and looking at God’s plan to save the world. I talked about how at the beginning, in Genesis, God created the world – plants, animals, and people.
I asked my boys, “After God created people what happened next?”
“Adam and Eve ate the fruit they weren’t supposed to eat,” they answered.
“That’s right. They disobeyed God. They chose to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
“Mom”, Tristan pipes in, “what’s knowledge?”
“Knowledge is understanding,” I explain. “Before Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit they only knew good. They didn’t know pain, suffering, or sin. When they chose to eat the fruit they weren’t supposed to, then they understood between good and evil. And so, evil entered the world. From that point on, the Bible is God’s plan to save his people.”
I then tied in what they were learning in Sunday School and what we have been reading at home from the Bible, about Abraham and his family. God chose Abraham, and Abraham obeyed. It was through Abraham’s family that God chose to save the world. Jesus came from the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God’s plan was to save everyone, but not all people are saved.
Finally, I asked them, “What do we have to do to be saved?”
“Love God,” William, my five year old, chimes in.
“That’s right, we need to choose to love God and to believe in Jesus.”
“Mom, I choose God,” says William, “I love Jesus.”
My heart swells as I hear my boys affirm their love for God. That was my special moment today, and likely for the week.
I share this for a reason: this conversation was possible only because it didn’t happen in a vacuum. Several factors were at work to bring this conversation about:
We are connected and committed to a church that teaches them through God’s word.
We read the Bible together as a family. Discussions about Jesus, God, the Bible, and the condition of our hearts and the world are not uncommon. These stories we’ve read and talked about also provide a point of reference for current conversations.
They see their parents studying God’s Word, going to church, and discussing their faith.
Tristan was asking me a question I ask him all the time, “What did you learn in Sunday School today?”
Your kids don’t have to be the one to initiate conversation regarding faith. You can take cues from everyday life to teach truth, or to connect them to concepts they are already learning.
Here are a couple of resources I mentioned:
The Bible I am currently reading with my boys – “The Gospel Story Bible” by Marty Machowski. It’s a great Bible, and you may also like “The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones. Both are available on Amazon.
The Bible study I am working through at church. (Psst, it’s not just for women.) http://www.stjohnsvancouver.org/media/Bible-study-resources/2011-overview-studies.pdf