"... giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..."
When our children were smaller and starting to understand things in a more practical way, we started teaching them about the Lord. At first, it was just helping them raise their little hand when a song of worship came on or when Daniel would play his guitar. They would watch me dance and sing in our kitchen and they would mimic me in praise. Then we began asking them "where does Jesus live?" And they would put their hand on their heart or say "...in my heart." We would read scripture and tell them stories of Jesus or accounts of the Bible. They were little but I always felt like in time, they would understand.
Now as the kids have gotten older, we do very practical things to teach them about the Lord. Both of our children (ages 4 and 5) have asked Jesus to live in their hearts. They both said that they wanted to live in Heaven some day and we prayed the prayer of salvation together. Nora was 3. Braden was 4. Even though they seem young, they have great understanding of what this means.
Each day, we talk about Jesus in some way. It is common place in our home to say "God doesn't want you to disobey your parents." or "would Jesus want you to treat your brother that way?" We talk about the enemy and read scripture.
More than anything, though, we talk about life and things that apply to all of us. Nora is very intrigued by the injustice of children who suffer.
Children without parents, children without beds, children without food. Anything that seems unfair touches her heart and she wants to discuss it daily.
Some ways in which we teach the kids about Jesus that are simple?
*Make up songs that go with verses from the Bible. We recently learned 2 Thess. 3:3 in song form!
*Talk about healing. All kids know about sickness. This is a great way to explain a God who is big, mighty and able! Also, praying over them when they aren't feeling well or when they get a boo-boo. Start this at a young age and they will experience great faith because of it!
*Listen to worship music--music that not only talks about the Lord but praises Him.
*Teach them about the Christmas story. This year we have already talked about the 3 wise men walking through the cold, dark night to find the baby Jesus. The kids understand cold. They understand very dark. So they can kind of understand how difficult that must have been for them to do!
*Make a "Thankful tree."
We just did this last night with a large branch from our yard and torn up construction paper for the leaves. Being thankful for the people you love, the things you have and that which is most important to you is a great way to teach your children that others may not be as blessed. It's also a great way to teach them to be thankful for things that may be difficult. We should give thanks in all things, the Lord says, and although that is often a sacrifice, it is vital to them learning that life is full of the unexpected...but it is always worth it to be thankful.
Another way to teach your young children about Jesus and apply this teaching every day is to start by showing them their world and explaining that the Lord created the things that they see everyday. Trees, grass, the sky, their friends, siblings, etc.
These are things they can actually see, touch, smell and feel. They will understand better about a God who made these things than about a God who is distant and untouchable.
Another thing that I believe is key in teaching your kids about Jesus is living out your life authentically. This means that when I yell at the kids or act in a way that I feel was wrong, I apologize quickly. I teach them that love means forgiving and about a God who forgives us everyday because He loves us.
It also means that I am not always perfect but that they see that and experience grace. I can show them grace as well and use that as a teaching tool for how the Lord cares for us.
Of course I believe that praying with your kids daily is essential to them learning about a personal relationship with God. Eventually they will want to pray and even if it is silly, quick, or unintentional--it is vital! What they say isn't as important as the act of prayer itself. It's teaching them that speaking to their Lord is necessary.
These are just a few things that I believe are important or have proved effective with our kids. I am so thankful that daily talk of Jesus is present in our home, even among the kids. They are wild, chaotic and loud--as am I, but their hearts are good. They are honest and informed and that is just incredible.
Are there tools that you use in teaching your kids about the Lord?
What are some things that you believe are key in teaching them about God?
Leave me a comment here or on our facebook page!