"A principal thing to write in the notebook of our minds in the area of human relationships is: When people insist on perfection or nothing, they get nothing. When people insist on having what they daydream as a perfect relationship, they will end up having no relationship at all. When people waste the time they could have - by screaming for more - they will have no time at all. The waste of what could be, but demanding what cannot be, is something we all have lived through in certain periods of our lives, but which we need to put behind us with resolve." -Edith Schaeffer, What is a Family?
Perfection or nothing: I've laid down those terms far too often. It's a lose-lose proposition.
I do it less now than I used to. There's nothing like having five children to erode your cherished illusions that things will ever be perfect.
If you've been reading here, you know that nothing is perfect around here. Even what matters most to us - teaching our children to love and follow Jesus - happens imperfectly.
We make our table gatherings an invitation to read the Scriptures together, to pray, to talk.
And milk spills. And Colin sings, "Deck the Halls" or Andrew says a potty word. Camille tattles, Audrey needs more milk, Nathan's asking for another helping of lasagne. Night after night, we undergo an assault of sensory data. We are the victims of entropy.
But we keep trying. We read the Bible, we pray, we work to memorize Scripture together. We muddle through, believing that God will make some use of the imperfect methods, the imperfect us.
Are you looking for some great resources to use with your children to teach them about Jesus? I've got some tried-and-true suggestions for things we've used with our own children. The New Year is a great time to start the habit of daily Bible reading as a family.
Resources and Reviews
(The reviews in quotations have been quoted either from the publisher directly or a published review of the resource.)
(Infant/Toddler) The Bible in Pictures for Toddlers, by Ella K. Lindvall
“Seventy of the most loved stories from both the Old and New Testaments, re-told in an entertaining and expressive manner. Easy for a toddler to follow along as grown-ups read.”
“This award-winning series, a bestseller since 1982, is available in four volumes and draws from both Old and New Testament stories. Each story is followed by simple application questions to teach children that the Bible is not just for long ago times, but for today, too.”
“No child is too young to begin learning about the greatest love story of all-God's love for his people, as portrayed in the Bible. David R. Helm and Gail Schoonmaker collaborate to create a beautifully illustrated book of Bible stories especially for children, written with simplicity. Rather than simply retelling the most familiar short scenes from the Bible, this book presents the "big picture"-the unified story running through the Old and New Testaments. This delightful book will help children learn the Bible's whole story and begin to appreciate the fulfillment of God's promise to his people.”
“Written for children ages four and up, The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the one story underneath all the stories of the Bible and points to the birth of a child, the Rescuer, Jesus. Complete with 44 Bible stories, The Jesus Storybook Bible paints a beautiful portrait of Jesus and invites children to see that he is not only at the center of God’s great story of redemption—he is at the center of their story too. Children and adults alike will be captivated by the beautifully written narrative and the original and unique illustrations by accomplished artist Jago. Lloyd-Jones’ powerful gift of storytelling draws the reader into the greatest adventure of all time in an exciting page-turner that kids (and adults) find hard to put down.”
“Simple, lively retellings of Old and New Testament stories are presented in 366 (Leap Year is included) segments for daily reading.”
(Ages 6+) The Child’s Story Bible: Catherine Vos
“Originally published in 1935, this beloved Bible storybook is still a favorite with today’s children, parents, and teachers (including Ruth Bell Graham). More than 200 stories from the Old and New Testaments are retold in simple language. . .while remaining faithful to Scripture. Colorful illustrations enhance the text.”
Toddlers/Preschoolers: Hide ‘Em In Your Heart, musical CDs/DVDs by Steve Green
“Hosted by Dove-award winning Sparrow recording artist Steve Green, Hide ‘Em In Your Heart Volumes 1 & 2 introduce children to Bible verses in a fun, interactive way. Through easy-to-learn songs and illustrations, this CD/DVD combination will stimulate young minds and nurture their faith in God. Psalm 119:9&11 says, ‘How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.’”
“Seeds Family Worship was planted when worship leader, Jason Houser, was asked to write some songs to help kids remember the verses from his church’s summer Bible school. Jason began writing songs and singing them for the kids and families at church. The songs were well-crafted, catchy, and taken straight from scripture. Families liked them. . . a lot. From just a handful of songs, Seeds Family Worship was planted – providing God’s Word set to music for thousands of families all over the world. We are gladdened by stories of worship times at home, scripture memorized, and object lessons taught using Seeds songs. The sixth Seeds Family Worship album – Seeds of Character – has just released. In total, Seeds has grown to over 60 portions of scripture set to music!”
"There is no easy, push-button method of teaching your children the truth about God, and there is no romantic, smooth, undisturbed section of time in which to do it! Just as life is not made up of neat little packages of time for other things, so this matter of having good intentions, but always being disturbed in scheduling the 'right time' for Bible reading, prayer discussion, reading Bible storybooks, or answering questions can go on so long that the precious years are gone!"
-Edith Schaeffer, What is a Family?