What would be the best way to expose my children to Scripture? How could I raise them so that Scripture and reason were the foundations to their faith? In other words, how do I combine stereotypical Protestantism with stereotypical Catholicism (in regards to Scripture and reason)?
How about praying the rosary as a family. Reading the scripture passages that correspond to the mysteries. That away it will be combination of prayer and scripture.
Teach songs with scripture in them. Pray scripture together, read scripture as a family daily.
Children’s Bible stories. That’s how my parents did it. I had a Children’s Bible (a 'My First Bible" or something) that told about all the characters and what they did with pictures. Sometimes my parents read to me, sometimes I read it myself. I can still rattle off tons of Bible stories because of that, even if I’m not sure of where they are in the actual Bible. There’s probably a way of rectifying that, such as later on as they got older reading the true story with chapter and verse numbers.
As to reason, just raise them to think logically. Start off with small apologetics arguments, such as “The mother of a King is called the Queen Mother. Did Jesus have a mother? Who was she? Is Jesus a King? Then what does that make his mother?” <- that argument is especially good for a May Crowning.
How about praying the Divine Office together as a family - that is really just a collection of verses and passages from the Bible, but put together in the form of a prayer, so that your children are introduced to the idea of being ‘in’ the scriptures in prayer, rather than just studying them from the outside as a piece of sacred literature.
Hmm, that gives me an idea, but I’ll put it on a new thread.
But how do I practically go about it? I can’t expect my kids to sit down with their family every evening when they’ll be busy with their own things. Prayer is great… but often we won’t get to those great passges like in Proverbs 8, Job 28, the Wisdom of Solomon, etc. There’s much to talk about and think about and not necessarily pray about. How can I establish this kind of reading of Scripture in my family?
Focus on the Gospels, in particular the parables about the Kingdom of God, where Jesus says “The Kingdom of God is like…” Those are usually great for small children. I would stay away from the Old Testament until the age of reason because God’s justice is very hard for small children to reconcile with God’s love and mercy. It’s even hard for adults to grasp. They need to establish a relationship of love with Jesus first. Then they will be better able to understand God’s justice at the proper time. There is a time and a place for it, but birth-about age 6 or so is not the time. The psalms are good, though, and certain passages in the Old Testament. Ask lots of “wonder questions.” For example, read the passage about how the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed and say something like, “I wonder what Jesus meant when he said that? I wonder how the kingdom of God could ever be like a mustard seed?” And see what kind of answers you get. You may be surprised. If you can, show them a real mustard seed and point out how tiny it is, and just gaze in wonder with the child, inviting them to meditate on this great mystery. In other words, make the faith tangible and don’t be too anxious to give them all the answers right away. Let them gnaw on it for a while. If for some reason they get confused and start to go off the deep end, you will know and can set them straight again, but let them wonder. Let them enjoy their faith. This is how Jesus did it. He didn’t give us all the answers. He gave us a parable and he let us think about it for a while. That’s because we grow spiritually much better when we come to conclusions on our own. Of course we need guidance so we don’t go off the deep end, but learning is generally much more successful when it is done with an attitude of discovery and wonder, IMO.
Get a nice children’s Bible, and read it to them as a bed time story. Each one of my children has had their entire Bible read to them several times. My boys especially liked it, and would always beg me to read them one more story and one more story each night. My 13 year old still enjoys me reading him books on theology and philosophy at bed time. Some of the recent books I have read to him include A Travel Guide to Heaven (Anthony de Stefano), Ascent to Truth (Thomas Merton), The Way (Josemaria Escriva), and How to Think About the Great Ideas (Mortimer Adler). My four year old even ejoys listening to these, and will refer to some of the concepts days and weeks later. I think it all started with the Bible stories though. All three of my sons also like to have me pray the rosary at night if they are having trouble sleeping.
Even as teenagers, our children were required to attend the Evening prayer office. We would give them the opportunity of doing the readings and the prayers. They seemed to enjoy it but even more, to expect it. Now that they’re grown, I am really glad we did this.
I agree about the children’s bible stories… start there and move up as they grow up!
When they are old enough to read on their own, get them The Picture Bible. It’s not explicitly Catholic, but I have not found anything in it that disagrees with or is detrimental to the Church.
I had one of these when I was a child, and I read it cover to cover 8 or 9 times before I lost it in a move. I never lost my familiarity with the Bible from that time, and even had a Scripture teacher in high school comment on how well I knew the Bible. I can’t tell you chapter and verse like many Protestants can, but I know the stories and can talk relatively knowledgeably about them.
My daughter got one for her 7th birthday. She also read it at least 8 or 9 times cover to cover until it fell apart. We have not been able to get the binding repaired, and I am thinking I should just buy her a new one, because she loved to read it over and over again. And she is a pretty knowledgeable 9 year old when it comes to Scripture!
I really think this is one of the best ways to get kids familiar with the Bible. It’s drawn like a comic book, and I know that even today if I sit down with it, it sucks me in and I’ll read it for hours.
You have to pick a time and make it an unchangeable part of the daily routine, What’s more important God or their other activities? Saying you don’t expect them to do this instead implies the other things are more important. It is us parents that have to set the tone… “This is what’s important enough to do daily and this is what isn’t” You may not say that with words, but you WILL say it everyday by what you do. Same goes for any parenting issue… brushing teeth, eating healthy food etc.
7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
This is a big help, but I am merely being practical. I don’t necessarily intend to have a lot of time set-aside for Scripture, though I will definitely have some. As from the passage you quoted, I intend more for it to be a part of our daily living: talking about Scripture in the car, referencing it in regards to a specific matter in the news, etc.
Besides, I want my kids to have time to establish relationships with others, to identify God’s gifts by acting in accordance with their interests, and to work on developing the skills to share knowledge with peers.
just 15-30 minutes a day can make a HUGE difference and shouldn’t stop kids form spending time with their peers. If the evenings are impractical, how about getting up 30 mins early and doing it in the morning?
The easiest way is to take them to Mass as often as possible. During school breaks and summer vacation, if you can go to some daily Masses, even better. Discuss the readings from Mass. Over the years, you will have covered virtually the whole Bible.
You can also look at cathecismclass.com These are classes based on the lectionary for varying age levels and really do a great job of bringing the Scripture, the cathecism and daily life together.
Haha, you live in a very special world, Syele.
No, I understand. I’m very excited now.