Sometimes, it’s hard to know how to teach your kids about Jesus in a natural, authentic way. There are those rare moments when they ask a deep question out of the blue, or when life presents a lovely “teachable moment” and we manage to have the presence of mind to run with it. But sometimes we miss those moments. Or maybe those moments come when we’re not really in the best frame of mind. In our family, we try to have a regular weekly time to intentionally share about God with our kids, but it can be hard to do it without sounding like a broken record or a parrot.
For the last couple of weeks, my son has been repeating the phrase “God made everything.” It has come up every couple of days, and while I was pleased to hear it at first, I just feel like there is so much more for him to ponder than that. It felt like a classic “Sunday school” line, and I was never able to steer our conversations much deeper than listing things God made, or trying to talk about how well, I mean, God made the people who made the cars…
We were on a long drive yesterday and I had the urge to share more about Jesus with the kids. We’ve been dealing with some challenges lately, and as much as I want to take matters into my own hands, I know in my heart that there is no amount of love or good intentions that can fix this situation, or all the bigger ones to come. Something in me desperately wanted to let Jesus back into the equation, not just in my own heart, but for all of us.
So we were going to talk about Jesus. And God. Where would I even begin? I had to think for a bit. We’ve gone over the story of Jesus’ birth a lot lately (after all, ’tis the season!), but I wanted to connect the baby Jesus to something real and present. I didn’t have my favorite kid’s Bible on me, and we had already listened to these Bible songs so many times that the lyrics were easy to tune out.
Maybe I would teach about the things he said when he grew up? Or talk more about God’s grace? I could try to share a story of how God had worked in my own life, but… all of the stories that were coming to mind were stories I wasn’t ready to tell just yet. I tried to think of what some of our children’s devotionals have talked about, but nothing felt right. I was craving some real, authentic conversation–not just one-way instruction. And then I remembered something.
A while back, one of my wise friends shared a simple and wonderful idea. I think we were discussing ways to intentionally teach about and worship God together during family devotions, and she talked about how she and her husband would teach a praise song to their two young boys. These were songs we might normally sing during a Sunday church service. As they explained to their kids what the lyrics meant, it presented a natural opportunity to share more about God, what we know from the Bible, and our goals as his followers.
So I picked out a familiar favorite from my youth, and cheerily pitched my idea, “Hey there’s a song about God I really liked from when I was younger. Can I teach it to you?”
“Sure,” they said.
“Ok. It goes like this, My Jesus, my Savior–do you know why we call him our savior?” I asked.
“Because he saved us from our sins so we could be with him forever!” replied my daughter.
The girl knows her Sunday school answers. Which is good, I guess… but I felt even more urgency to have authentic, real conversations about God!
“Yes, that’s why we call him that. Okay, so My Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like you,” I continued.
“Mama, what does lord mean?” she asked.
“Yord,” my three year old piped up.
I’m glad he was listening.
And we went from there. We were able to talk about what praise meant, other ways to praise God, how God can comfort us, what a shelter is, what a tower is, whether or not the bad guys attacked the tower with guns or swords and did they break the glass and did it get everywhere? And do people REALLY have guns? Like, in the REAL WORLD? And Mama, why do policemen carry guns?! …But Mama, there aren’t REAL bad guys in the world, right?
Well, there are. But God gave you Mommy and Daddy and your teachers and family to take care of you and you don’t need to worry about that. BUT ALSO that’s why it is good to know that God is your comfort, shelter, and tower of refuge and strength. Even when bad things happen–and they will–you know that in the end, after all things, God is bigger than all of that. And He has already won and you can be sure that no matter what happens down here, you will be able to spend forever with Him.
And that was just from the first two verses.
I was so happy to share one of my favorite songs with them, and even more delighted to dig into who God is and what that can mean in their lives. We are also going to ask a police officer why they have guns next time, because apparently none of my answers satisfied her.
On the way home today, she asked me to keep teaching her the song, and it turns out she had already memorized several lines. It was sweet to sing and discuss with her.
Memorizing Bible verses is great, but there is something about music and song that can really stick in a different way. I’m happy to remember that there are already so many great songs set to Bible verses, and so many truths written into the songs that we sing every week.
If you are looking for ways to share about God with your kids, try this out! You might be the one starting the discussion, but kids are so inquisitive. When they realize this is something you’re happy to dig into and talk about, chances are they will be happy to let their inquiries loose and really wonder and think about who God is. I hope you have some real, authentic, and meaningful conversations in your future!