I’m starting to become aware of a way that I teach my children. I’m not talking about the systematic instruction for school, but the day to day instruction that typically begins spontaneously. (yes, I know some curricula use a variation of this idea for school, but I’m talking about spiritual instruction.) Here’s how it works:
Usually something happens. Maybe it’s a memorable conversation; maybe it’s a memorable fight among siblings. Sometimes the beginning is something I’ve read in my devotions. Then I start thinking of ways to reinforce what I am teaching. Usually, by the time I’ve exhausted the subject, I’ve used music, storybooks, nature, the Bible, prayer, and much conversation.
For example, in the back of my mind I remember the importance of teaching my children to know and love the World, as Christ loved the world (that’s one of the reasons I think geography is important for a Christian to know). The book Lindsay brought up, Material World, had made me think some more on this (but still had not done anything). Then this morning I started reading Daniel, and I decided to let my kids get their leftover slushies from Sonic out of the freezer, sit on the couch, and eat them, BEFORE BREAKFAST, while I played the first three chapters of Daniel. I stopped the recording every so often to explain what was going on.
When we were all done, we went to the piano and we sung a few Daniel songs. We talked about doing right even when others are not. We talked about persecution for believing in God. And then I was reminded that we’re in the middle of Ramadan, and I still haven’t talked about that. So we decided to go to the library to find some books (we’ve not been to the library in months, so it’s a good time to go). Of course, then I’d like to read some stories about the persecuted church, so during naptime I went to visit the Voice of the Martyrs children’s website. I haven’t been here in awhile, but the website is well done and has much: profiles of children in persecuted countries; information about countries; videos, games, and recipes. It’s a terrific resource. Later we’ll take a look at this website and
And as I think of it, isn’t this a good way to address some of the materialism facing us in America? Score one for the “think of all the starving children in Africa who would be happy to eat burnt toast” argument.
Here’s the cluster so far:
- Bible recording (Daniel 1-3)
- Storybooks about Ramadan from the library
- Getting out the globe and talking about persecuted Christians in Muslim countries
- Kids of Courage website
- making a meal from one of those countries.
Just like a conversation, the cluster of instruction will ebb and flow. Sometimes we’ll stop and completely change what God wants us to learn. Sometimes we might turn our attention to something new, even if the old lessons are yet unlearned. Sometimes something we’re learning will remind me of something I’m learning, and the instruction will take another turn. Now I’m wondering if I can actually do this intentionally. We’ll see.