Back To The Basics

by | Sep 15, 2022 | KidZone, Stephanie Holmberg

Ask any elementary child what the best TikTok content is right now and they will tell you.  Ask a child what their favourite YouTube channel is, they will describe it to you in detail.  Ask any child what the next big thing is in toy trends and they will excitedly share why they have to have it and how it will make their lives so much more fun!

Maybe you have heard the sayings, “Children are like sponges, they are going to absorb everything that is around them…” or “Children are mirrors, they reflect back to us all we say and do.”

We like those sayings because they encapsulate the innocence of children and remind us how careful we need to be in what we model to them.  The thing is, our children are way more influenced by outside forces than we could ever imagine.

Our job as parents is to be the gatekeeper to these influences.  We may do our best to buffer some of the toxic waste out there but at some point, our kids will come face to face with it and have to choose how they will respond.  And this is where the greatest offence comes in…how we prepare our kids for what the world offers.

As a children’s pastor, I have spent hundreds of hours with children.  We prepare great programming that we pray will light a spark for Jesus in their hearts.  We are always pointing the children back to the Bible but here is where it gets complicated…some children know that the Bible is God’s Word, but most don’t know anything else about it.  The Old Testament and New Testament, chapter and verse are foreign concepts to them.  Bible illiteracy has quickly become the norm.

In 2020, the United Kingdom Bible Society surveyed British children and found many could not identify common Bible stories. When given a list of stories, almost 1 in 3 didn’t choose the Nativity as part of the Bible and over half (59 percent) didn’t know that Jonah being swallowed by the great fish is in the Bible.

British parents didn’t do much better. Around 30 percent of parents don’t know Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, or the Good Samaritan are in the Bible. To make matters worse, 27 percent think Superman is or might be a biblical story. More than 1 in 3 believes the same about Harry Potter. And more than half (54 percent) believe The Hunger Games is or might be a story from the Bible.

How do we help kids navigate biblical truth from fiction?  How do we prepare them to respond well to a world that is dishing out many options, both good and bad?

Here’s the answer, we point our children to Jesus and teach them the living Word of God found in the Bible.  The Bible is the foundation of the Christian faith.  And whether we choose to read its pages or open up the latest Bible app…it is there where we find God’s answers for today’s questions.

So how do we conquer biblical illiteracy with our kids?  Here are some ways to get you started:

1. Read the Bible together as a family.

Find a short passage of scripture (remember this is not to be exhaustive), and read it together.  Ask your children some questions to help them process what they just heard:  What stood out to you?  What confused you?  How can you apply this to your life?

2. Read separately and discuss together.

Have your children who are at a higher reading level spend some time reading the passage during the day on their time and then discuss it together later at the dinner table.

3. Tape Scripture to your kid’s bathroom mirrors.

Every day they will be reminded of strong biblical truths as they go about their hygiene activities.

4. Find a cool Bible that you kids will enjoy reading.

There are so many options to choose from:  comic book bibles, colouring book bibles…