I realized this recently as I have begun sharing those timeless stories with my young children. Have you ever tried telling a Bible story to a young child? How did that work out for you? Here are a few reasons I have found it difficult to share the Bible with kids.
1. Fairy tale confusion. – We tell kids fairy tales all the time. We tell stories of mystical lands where magical things happen and everyone lives happily ever after. And then we tell them stories from the Bible set in far off lands where amazing things happen and God loves everyone.
While I clearly understand the difference between the two kinds of stories, it can be difficult to work a logical disclaimer in when you are working with a preschooler’s attention span. I try to be clear that Bible stories are true and the other stories are just for fun, but I usually feel like that is lost in translation. That’s pretty troubling for me.
2. Magic vs. Miracles. – Again, I know the difference. But how can I clearly show my son that God tying up the lions’ mouths to save Daniel means so much more than Tinker Bell using pixie dust to help Peter Pan escape from Captain Hook? How can I expect my kids to see the truth in Jesus healing people when I can’t do the same for them? I have no idea how to explain the difference between “magic” and the all powerful nature of God. I hope that understanding will come with age and maturity (on my part and that of my children), but that does not make it easier to work with in the mean time.
3.Death. – Oh my goodness. As I have become numb to the details of many Old Testament stories, I have apparently forgotten how much death and destruction takes place. Do you remember how many people died in the beautiful story of Noah’s Ark? EVERYONE! I can try all I want to focus on the pairs of cool animals, the huge boat, and the promise of the rainbow, but I know it is only a matter of time before my son asks what happened to all of the other people.
I understand that death is a part of life, and that is a conversation I will have with my children soon enough. But as I teach them about a God that loves them and His Son that gave up His life for them, I’d prefer to let that marinate for a while before telling them about the just, wrathful side of God.
It seems this has turned into a “confess your fears” session on my part, but I am okay with that. Surely I am not the only person concerned about the best way to share my faith with my children. From what I hear, that is kind of a big deal.
What fears do you have about sharing your faith with your children? Do you have any tips to help others in the same situation?