Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Family Devotions

I've always complained that one thing that frustrates me about public school is the way our government makes social problems the responsibility of the classroom teacher. Many social problems in recent history have resulted in legislation requiring schools to teach children about the issue, thus making schools responsible for teaching what I believe should be taught at home. Some examples are sex ed, dietary habits, and very recently, financial planning.

Now I totally understand that many children aren't fortunate enough to have families that discuss anything together, much less difficult issues. And I realize that its better for children to be taught these things in the one place where they are together and all will be reached, which is the public school.

But I worry that it takes the load off the family from doing something that I think is its job. I don't want to have the attitude of, "Well, the school teaches our kids how have healthy eating habits, so we don't need to worry about it."

So now that I'm off my soap box, here is the issue that I'm having: I feel like the church and the family have this same relationship. I believe the church's job is to HELP the family teach their children about Jesus. I want our kids to learn about Jesus primarily at home. And while I know that modeling daily living and conversations with our Emily are effective ways to teach, I also wonder if we should be doing more. We read her toddler Bible to her, we've gone through the whole thing over the past few months. Its a great little kids Bible that has just about every story from the old to new testament. We've gone through a nightly devotional with her, but when it was over, I never found anything to continue with. I want to make sure we're not relying so much on our church teaching our kids, that we've given up the responsibility to do so at home.

Now I'm looking at family devotionals, and talking with Scott about implementing them during our evenings. I've had a few different ones that looked interesting that I need to look more closely at, and we need to find a protected time each night that would allow us to do this. Does anybody have any advice about how their family devotional time works in their house?


Sam said...

I agree with you completely. I've stopped being surprised by parents that ask Tom why their teenagers aren't following Jesus like they want them to...completely putting the responsibility of their child's spiritual walk on the youth pastor's shoulders (the guy that sees them for maybe 2 hours a week!). I've always looked at the Children's or Youth pastors (heck, even the Senior Pastor) as someone to guide parents, to help supplement, and to lead you on what is ultimately something we have to take personal responsibility for and action toward. Unfortunately, the church in general today tends to see them as event planners and entertainers.
I've struggled to find family devotional material, even with the help of our Children's pastor. It either tends to be rather dated, a little too Fundamentalist or just pointless fluff. We do love The Jesus Storybook Bible. Tom brought a copy home over 3 years ago from a conference, and Caleb and I still read and discuss through it about once a year. It covers the "big" stories of the Old and New Testament, but all pointing toward The Rescuer (a name for Jesus that I've found to be far easier for little ones to grasp than Savior). Caleb's also really enjoyed being read to from "the big Bible" (mine) since he was little.
I've finally decided the best I can do is to make the Gospel available in as many ways as I can - through Children's Bibles, the kids own big Bibles, through our actions and prayers and words. We've also done our best to encourage and answer their questions, taking them directly to Scripture as often as possible.
And now I apologize for how long this comment is!

Anonymous said...

Try "God's Story for Me" Gospel Light.
104 Bible stories with a short application with each one. Excellent for preschoolers. K,1,2 may be able to read it themselves.

Mike said...

Your blog has been recommended to us as an interviewee's favorite blog!

We would like to do an interview with you about your blog for Blog Interviewer.

We'd like to give you the opportunity to give us some insight on the "person behind the blog."

It would just take a few minutes of your time. The interview form can be submitted online here Submit your interview.

Best regards,

Mike Thomas

Katie said...

Hey Malisa, I've been thinking about this very topic lately myself. If you do find some good stuff please post updates so that I can use it too :) I too believe that the church should support & assist the family in spiritual training (not the other way around as is so often the case). Great post!