Cody and I have been struggling to figure out how to teach Sophia WHO God is. We desire for her to grow up differently than we did. We both knew the name of God, but we didn’t KNOW God. That’s a huge difference. It’s like saying you know the word/name mom, but you don’t know them. It’s like having your favorite name picked out for your child, but not actually having your child yet.
We have been trying to teach her that the bible is truth, so that when we teach her scripture, she knows she is learning truth. She has a remarkable memory (when it comes to scripture, yet she forgets where she just put something, haha!) and she has been retaining verses much better than expected, but we realized they were just words to her. How do we change this?
Then it hit me. We have to teach her in a way that SHE would learn. Cody learns by reading and listening. I learn by seeing. We are both in ministry school together and he can sit and look at his notes the entire time our teacher is talking and walk away with a much deeper knowledge of our lesson than me. If there aren’t pictures, clear descriptions, or some sort of hands on learning, then I won’t retain anything our teacher just taught.
Sophia is in a unique spot where she spends every other week with her bio-mom, and every other week with her father and me. Our houses are very different. She handles those changes like a champ, but we are learning how to use those changes to help grow her closer to God instead of letting them be something that annoys us, frustrates us, or occasionally upset Sophia.
Our house doesn’t do a lot of tv. Don’t get me wrong, we can sit and watch Netflix or binge a show, but to be honest, Cody can’t sit still for very long. We will usually watch one movie a week with Sophia, and we rarely actually watch the entire thing since we are strict on her bedtime. We are aware, however, that she watches a lot of tv at her mom’s house. She has grown use to the difference, but I realized that we could actually use that difference for her good.
She desires to sit in front of the tv, like most children, and get sucked into the storyline and grow to love the characters. How does one then use this desire to teach her to get sucked into God’s Word and grow to love Him? By using her SIGHT as her learning mechanisim. We don’t plop her down in front of the tv for hours as long as its a Christian kids show, but we do use the tv as a learning device.
Here’s what I mean. This week Sophia has been very afraid of the dark. At her mom’s house she usually sleeps in her mom’s bed, which has taught her that she will only be brave if she is in someone else’s bed. We have a strict rule in our house that our room is off limits, so she doesn’t get to sleep in our bed. Therefore, we have to teach her that the dark isn’t bad, but that your thoughts can scare you. We tried the whole “think of good things before you go to sleep and you’ll be less afraid”, and that works, but it doesn’t help her grow closer to God.
Therefore, Cody has started teaching her more about Jonah. She knows the story, but she didn’t know about Jonah’s prayer. She didn’t know that Jonah prayed in his distress and knew that God was going to answer; which He did. We read Jonah 2 to her and talked through it. She grasped some of it, but the bible can be tough for a 5 year old.
The next night we wanted her to learn that the bible is fun, factual, and God is always there! We used our back living room as a blacked out obstacle course. She was given a flashlight and had to find her way to the end, which contained a treat. We taught her that:
- The bible is the light that shows your way in the dark.
- Jesus is the light of the world and is always present, even in the dark.
- If you trust God in the dark places, He will get you through.
Needlesstosay, she loved that lesson. She used her sight, her imagination, and flexed her trusting skills.
We then all watched a short movie together. For Christmas she got a set of 52 bible stories on DVD. We watched the episode of Jonah, and the one of the Holy Spirit. She was engrossed in them and wanted to watch more. We shut the tv off and talked through the lesson we had previously learned and asked questions about the show she had just watched. We then all prayed together.
She is also a huge fan of music and loves to learn songs. Let’s use that! I searched and searched for the perfect song on YouTube that would also teach her some dance moves. We found the song “Jesus What a Friend” by Motions. SHE LOVED THIS! She wanted to do it over and over again. Here’s proof that she had a blast!
This is proof that every child can learn about Jesus. Every child can grow to love God and KNOW God. It just takes time and commitment on our part. As their parent’s we are called to teach them in the ways of the bible. Keep coming back for more unique and fun ways we have learned to teach Sophia about our God and King!
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