It’s not always easy for children to wrap their young minds around a God that they cannot seemingly experience with their senses. After all, everything that they learn about the world is done through seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, and smelling! So how can we make God as real to our children as a bright red apple sitting on the counter or the comforting touch of a parent after a fall on the driveway or the thrilling sound of a train passing by? Here are a few ways to proactively do so:
- Using Catechism. For centuries, the church has used catechisms (a series of questions and answers designed to be memorized and recited) as a way of transmitting foundational biblical truths to its members (both old and young). During daily Bible study or family worship, parents can encourage their children to learn and practice reciting these catechisms and in doing so, children are being given a framework from which to view God. For the youngest children in the house, our family used the First Catechism: Teaching Children Biblical Truths (published by Great Commission Publications). Children will learn the answer to questions such as; Who made you, Where is God, Can you see God.
- Through Creation. Tying in nicely with the use of catechism questions, is the use of the world around us, God’s marvelous creation, to further develop your child’s understanding of God. For instance, the very first catechism question your child is taught: Who made you? The answer, of course, is…God did! From a very young age, children can learn to identify themselves as being fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves them and takes care of them. The second question is: What else did God make? The answer is: All things! When your child explores the world around them, take the time to ask them: Who made that bird? And they will delightfully respond, God did! Beginning in the younger years with a worldview that sees all things as being created purposefully and magnificently by a Creator God allows children to experience with their senses the wonders of God’s creation! As children get older and begin studying more complex areas of creation (Physical Science, Biology, and Chemistry, for example), they will dig deeper into the marvels of God’s world and truly see His handiwork in all areas of life!
- In Conversation. Never underestimate the amazing ability that children have to absorb information! At times they might seem too young to understand, however, through your everyday conversations with your child, you are presented with the opportunity to “show and tell” in a very real way how your faith is a part of your life (how your relationship with God affects all that you do). Praying before you eat, for example, demonstrates the importance of taking the time to be thankful to a God who lovingly provides for us. Reading the Bible together, even if it’s a children’s bible, allows conversations about biblical truths – all of which reveal the character of God! And the character of God is ultimately what defines what our relationship with Him should look like!
In the book of Matthew, when Jesus was asked which of all the law was the greatest commandment, His reply was “Love the Lord with all of your heart, with all your soul, and with all of your mind.” This is the beginning framework for developing a relationship with God. Through the use of catechism, exploring of creation, and in every day conversation, parents can help young hearts, minds, and souls pursue a path of knowing and loving God.
Tracy LaBreche is a homeschooling mom of 6 kids, ages 16-9. Tracy helps her husband, John, run Covenant Classical Schools & Daycare (they are working on opening their 8th school this fall) in the Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama area. In her spare time, which is rare these days, she enjoys reading a good book, sipping a glass of wine, hanging out with her family and living the adventure of life with her best friend and husband of 17 years.