The Bible...and children


#1

I teach...and decided to take my little class (3 students 5-9) into a relevent Bible Study.

Because I couldn't find any good children's books that weren't too cartoony, I chose to bring my Scott Hahn's "Understanding the Scripture" text for the maps of the Holy Land.

I also taught them alot about how the old testiment leads into the new, which you can't get from the mickey-mouse moses that they read from. Their children's bibles (even the Catholic ones) were abysmal...they made the stories light and silly and removed SO much of the relevant symbols...symbols that could of been added without many more words or any scandal.

However, the 7yo attention was caught by the picture of Lot and his daughters....in a fully-clothed but semi-comprimizing position. I told her to stop looking and that her mom would explain it to her when she was older (to witch the 9yo exclaimed she was old enough to know :rolleyes:...of course she has no idea)

My question is how in the world do you keep the Bible relevant but remove some of the more sketchier parts from young eyes and ears? I mean smack dab after Noah there's sexual immorality


#2

I guess this is why the kids' versions are appropriate? :shrug:

We've never done a full Old Testament Bible study with our kids... but we DO discuss the readings at Mass, and they have heard all the "classic" OT stories...

Sorry, not much help... but maybe that's just why the kids' versions exist. :blush:


#3

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:2, topic:220024"]
I guess this is why the kids' versions are appropriate? :shrug:

We've never done a full Old Testament Bible study with our kids... but we DO discuss the readings at Mass, and they have heard all the "classic" OT stories...

Sorry, not much help... but maybe that's just why the kids' versions exist. :blush:

[/quote]

While Lot and Ham defiantly have no place in a children's bible...is it really that hard to say that some animals came in the ark by 7 (and not by 2) or that the ark was wood and saved humanity just as the cross was? And that's just a few things...or that the plagues were a big deal because the egyptians worshipped the animals? Almost every child over 5 knows that some people worship other things than God...why do Children's Bible's void themselves of it?


#4

Might give this Catholic Children's Bible a look inside at:

amazon.com/gp/product/1400315387/ref=s9_bbs_bw_d5_ir01?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-10&pf_rd_r=04CCXWG52A888Z6VFMT9&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=475956711&pf_rd_i=283155

It has additional reading in the Catechism and the Bible stories are also matched up into the Liturgical Seasons of the Mass.

It also has "activities to do" on many of the stories.

P.S. LOL about the "I told her to stop looking and that her mom would explain it to her when she was older (to witch the 9yo exclaimed she was old enough to know ...of course she has no idea)".

Thank you :D


#5

I rather like the Tomie dePaola children's Bible Stories for younger kids. They are in his typical style, so not photo-realism, but rather than a paraphrase it uses the NIV (not my personal choice but very clear for a text for kids). It skips parts but has a good selection, and you can get the OT or NT stories, or both together, and he also has a nice collection of stories about Mary.


#6

[quote="purplesunshine, post:1, topic:220024"]
I teach...and decided to take my little class (3 students 5-9) into a relevent Bible Study.

[/quote]

Great Adventure Kids:
ascensionpress.com/shop/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=502

[quote="purplesunshine, post:1, topic:220024"]

Because I couldn't find any good children's books that weren't too cartoony, I chose to bring my Scott Hahn's "Understanding the Scripture" text for the maps of the Holy Land

[/quote]

For 5 to 9 year olds? Huh?

[quote="purplesunshine, post:1, topic:220024"]
I also taught them alot about how the old testiment leads into the new, which you can't get from the mickey-mouse moses that they read from. Their children's bibles (even the Catholic ones) were abysmal...they made the stories light and silly and removed SO much of the relevant symbols...symbols that could of been added without many more words or any scandal.

[/quote]

Perhaps you should study more regarding child development. Children at this age do not have capacity for abstract reasoning. There is a reason the stories in the Children's Bible are simplified.

[quote="purplesunshine, post:1, topic:220024"]
However, the 7yo attention was caught by the picture of Lot and his daughters....in a fully-clothed but semi-comprimizing position. I told her to stop looking and that her mom would explain it to her when she was older (to witch the 9yo exclaimed she was old enough to know :rolleyes:...of course she has no idea)

[/quote]

It was inappropriate to show such a picture to that age group.

[quote="purplesunshine, post:1, topic:220024"]
My question is how in the world do you keep the Bible relevant but remove some of the more sketchier parts from young eyes and ears? I mean smack dab after Noah there's sexual immorality

[/quote]

You use the Children's Bible, you follow official texts, and you don't use adult materials.


#7

[quote="purplesunshine, post:3, topic:220024"]
While Lot and Ham defiantly have no place in a children's bible...is it really that hard to say that some animals came in the ark by 7 (and not by 2) or that the ark was wood and saved humanity just as the cross was? And that's just a few things...or that the plagues were a big deal because the egyptians worshipped the animals? Almost every child over 5 knows that some people worship other things than God...why do Children's Bible's void themselves of it?

[/quote]

Because these concepts are over the head of a 7 year old.


#8

I did not bring the books to show them the picture of Lot...but the maps and photos of real-world old testiment. I have yet to meet a child that is not facinated by maps...and yet they are sparse and very poor if that in children's bibles. (however plentiful in lego indiana jones)

At 7 a child is developing reason and can most definatly make and understand comparisons (like the ark to the cross). They can understand that some people dont eat pork (jewish children understad perfectly fine). Infact even the 5yr old was surprized and facinated by "typeology" i didnt call it that...i just used like and as. Mosas was like jesus because....the mannna from heaven is showing the eucharist...etc. In school we teach little ones basic socology and call it world culture.

And if you look at childrens books from 100 years ago (mc guffy readers) they DO explain symbolism...but they are not catholic.

I shouldnt need to defend my choice to use a text to you...it is the only accurate material readily available...my point is that its very sad that there is little material inbetween cartoon bibles and scott hahn's books that bridge the gap into truly help children understand the faith of the catholic church. Even strongly catholic families are left with mental candy...and kids dont get it besause there's nothing to get. No wonder children equate God with santa and the easterbunny...god is just as flat as the page he printed on.


#9

I agree with the other posters so far.

I was born and raised in the evangelical Protestant church, and as you know, those kids learn the Bible. Most evangelicals, including the children, can find Bible verses while Catholics are stumbling through the Table of Contents to find out where the book of Habakkuk is.

The children's teaching concept that you have to grasp is out of the Bible and found in Isaiah 28: 10--"For He says, 'Order on order, line on line, a little here, a little there..."

Other translations say, "Precept upon precept."

First, there's a big difference between the brain and heart of a 5-year old vs. a 7-year-old vs. a 9-year-old. These kids should be separate "classes." The 5-year old is not ready to learn what the others are ready to learn.

Secondly, the main thing that children of these ages need to learn from the Bible is timeline and stories with names and events, not details and concepts. Take them on a general walk through the Bible, Old and New Testament, and make sure they know all the Bible stories. There's no need to use a child's Bible story book. Use the Bible. YOU read through the stories and prepare them for the children.

One group that has done this beautifully that you might want to check out is Child Evangelisim Fellowship. Yes, it's Protestant. But when it comes to telling Bible stories without "dumbing things down," they are the masters. I taught the stories of David to a class one year, and I had to work my tail off to study the CEF materials and correlate them with the actual Bible. They truly cover it all at a children's level, and they also adapt the stories to be told in multi-age settings. Perhaps you can find a Good News Club in your city/town and take your children (You go too). These clubs teach the entire Bible over a period of several years.

Did you catch that? Several YEARS. CEF has been doing child evangelicism and catechesis for many decades, and they use the "line on line, precept upon precept" principle. Not too much all at once for children.

Another group that I think does a good job with children's Bible curricular is Pioneer Clubs (until recently, these rivalled the AWANA clubs, which I do NOT recommend because of the watered-down Bible lessons that emphasize rote memorization and include no application at all of the various lessons). Pioneer Clubs material also includes an "Application" of the Bible stories and lessons, but it is very simple and adapted for CHILDREN. E.g., out of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (which I don't believe PC covers, BTW), they would apply the principle of obeying God, even when we want to do something else. Even a child can understand the concept of obedience to God and parents.

I don't want to sound lecture-y here, but I am 53 years old and have successfully raised two daughters, and I've taught thousands of children when I was Protestant, and I was a popular and successful teacher. What I find is that sometimes, parents are convinced that their children are much more advanced than all the other children, and so they try to introduce them to adult curricula and rush them along.

Certainly some children are advanced and highly-intelligent, especially children who are raised in homeschools where both parents and other relatives are involved in their education. But children are still children when it comes to the matters of the heart and soul--they need to be taught spirituality "gradually," precept upon precept, starting with the simplest of stories and working their way up to the deep concepts and applications.

We need to be very careful to protect the innocence of our children. Just because a child understand calculus or chemistry at age nine doesn't mean that he/she is ready for homosexuality and the destruction of cities and taking of human lives by a loving but just God and the Old Testament culture that led to the incest between Lot and his daughters. This is all hard enough for adults to understand, let alone children. Build up all the other precepts first, and don't be afraid to use those "baby Bible books." Baby steps, like the Bible says---line on line.


#10

[quote="purplesunshine, post:1, topic:220024"]
I teach...and decided to take my little class (3 students 5-9) into a relevent Bible Study.

By

[/quote]

pedagogically, and this has always been the stance of the Church on catechesis of children, those of this tender age are quite frankly not ready for "relevant bible study" if you mean, as you seem to imply, study of the typological and other symbolism of sexual references in the bible. Nor are they ready for the undiluted Word unmediated by the wisdom of the Church in conveying it in language suitable for children. that is why there are children's bible story books suitable for various age levels, books for children that do explain unfamiliar terms, foods, places, persons, references etc. in the bible, children's lectionary, and other catechetical resources prepared under the guidance of the Church for her children. You should not be teaching "your little class" using any resources that are not approved by the pastor in any case. frankly if I found one of my catechists was, at this level, emphasizing the baser activities of bible personages, over the curriculum they are supposed to be receiving at this level, especially if he or she were deliberately discussing those unsavory characters whose sexual behavior was a textbook for immorality, that individual would no longer be serving as a catechist in this diocese.

best advice is to keep the college level books for students of that age or adults, same with high school level books.


#11

[quote="puzzleannie, post:10, topic:220024"]
pedagogically, and this has always been the stance of the Church on catechesis of children, those of this tender age are quite frankly not ready for "relevant bible study" if you mean, as you seem to imply, study of the typological and other symbolism of sexual references in the bible. Nor are they ready for the undiluted Word unmediated by the wisdom of the Church in conveying it in language suitable for children. that is why there are children's bible story books suitable for various age levels, books for children that do explain unfamiliar terms, foods, places, persons, references etc. in the bible, children's lectionary, and other catechetical resources prepared under the guidance of the Church for her children. You should not be teaching "your little class" using any resources that are not approved by the pastor in any case. frankly if I found one of my catechists was, at this level, emphasizing the baser activities of bible personages, over the curriculum they are supposed to be receiving at this level, especially if he or she were deliberately discussing those unsavory characters whose sexual behavior was a textbook for immorality, that individual would no longer be serving as a catechist in this diocese.

best advice is to keep the college level books for students of that age or adults, same with high school level books.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

*Appropriate *catechetical material is not just "mental candy", nor would you find santa or the easter bunny even hinted at.

Childhood development is a studied science for a reason. It has to happen at the right time.


#12

First of all, this was how to teach the importance and typeology of the Bible WITHOUT the sexuality.

And they are homeschooled kids. I'm teaching a class on stories. Our first "unit" was Cinderella from around the world. These children could identify the similarities and differences between different cinderellas, could identify the values of the Cinderellas (For instance Irish Cinderella is Catholic, Polish Cinderella is Jewish, Egyptian Cinderella worships birds, Somali Cinderella is a good cook and Indian Cinderalla is buddist). They were able to identify cultural traditions, dress and behavior. They understood that Russian cinderall had alot of clothes and South African Prince wore a loincloth because of the climate. They were able to deduct that there were similar elements in the ancient Egyptian Cinderella as there were in the Cinderella now. They did all this with picture book from the Jr. Library assisted with "Culture of the World" books. So yes they are "advanced" children if you consider that advanced.

The 9yo (much to my chagrin) is a Percy Jackson fan. More than that, she knows every greek myth ever written even the more sexual ones. (Which is up to her parents, not me). I will not indulge in those conversations, nor would I teach her sexual things from the Bible. For one, it's not my place, for two, I think that needs to be a one-on-one parent conversation. The 7yo isn't a model student but a deep thinker and a very holy child. I once (or so I thought) bribed her into doing the dishes. In the middle of the dishes she looked at me, and said "I'm not doing this even because I love you or Mommy, I want to do it because it pleases my soul to make God happy."

The 5 yo misses alot, but even he has a strong mind and asked pointed questions the other night about why the so-and-so did such and such...and telling him that it was to teach the world about Jesus before He was born. (which makes sence to him since their mom is going to have a baby and they have to do things to get ready for the baby)

Point being. They crave deeper material. And it's not out there short of adult material which also covers sexual depravity in the Bible. So perhaps they are "acedemically" advanced. But they also deserve more. And I think many of the kids I know would benefit from having parallels drawn sooner. We shouldn't have to be 25 and listing to a Carson Webber podcast before we are told that Old Testiment forshadows the new.

BTW
This unit is cavemen/indians, Bible, pre-print stories, post-print (grim's) and then modern stories, next unit is how people tell stories all over the world.


#13

Kids feed on what they're exposed to, so what they're learning isn't so much advanced ideas, but just learning *appropriate *ideas (compare, contrast, evaluate, etc) on "alternative" (shall we say) subjects.

Some of the topics in the Old Testament are just *adult *topics - the morality of these topics are hard to discuss until the children are at an age when they can handle these adult topics. This is why many kids' bibles either avoid the stories or "sugar coat" them, as in "the people were doing bad things"... naturally kids are going to want to ask "WHAT bad things?"... as a parent it's up to us whether it's appropriate to dive into these topics or to put them off for the time being.


#14

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:13, topic:220024"]
Kids feed on what they're exposed to, so what they're learning isn't so much advanced ideas, but just learning *appropriate *ideas (compare, contrast, evaluate, etc) on "alternative" (shall we say) subjects.

Some of the topics in the Old Testament are just *adult *topics - the morality of these topics are hard to discuss until the children are at an age when they can handle these adult topics. This is why many kids' bibles either avoid the stories or "sugar coat" them, as in "the people were doing bad things"... naturally kids are going to want to ask "WHAT bad things?"... as a parent it's up to us whether it's appropriate to dive into these topics or to put them off for the time being.

[/quote]

Again, I'm not saying that innapropriate stories should be included. Just that the symbolism SHOULD be. As in "Wood of the ark saved the world like wood of the cross saved the world" and "God gave bread from heaven to save the Isarelites just as Jesus gave us his bread to save our eternals souls" But there are little, if none, books that do just that.


#15

Hmmm, okay... well, I'm not up to speed on all the available books and materials out there... but we've just *DISCUSSED *those exact topics with our kids, but never used "teaching materials"... does that make sense? :blush:


#16

[quote="Cat, post:9, topic:220024"]

First, there's a big difference between the brain and heart of a 5-year old vs. a 7-year-old vs. a 9-year-old. These kids should be separate "classes." The 5-year old is not ready to learn what the others are ready to learn.

[/quote]

That was my first thought... A child's reasoning skills are so different at age 5 than at age 7 or 9.

Secondly, the main thing that children of these ages need to learn from the Bible is timeline and stories with names and events, not details and concepts. Take them on a general walk through the Bible, Old and New Testament, and make sure they know all the Bible stories. There's no need to use a child's Bible story book. Use the Bible. YOU read through the stories and prepare them for the children.

Agreed. Children age 5-9 are almost certainly not at the level of understanding complex symbolism yet. Teach them the stories and events now, perhaps with some basic symbolism if you feel they are ready (which will vary on the child's age). Then, as they grow, they gradually can be introduced to the deeper meanings and complex symbolism. Like Cat, I grew up Protestant. I learned the Bible in Sunday School from the time I was a young child, and our church used curriculums that did use the "line on line, precept upon precept" principle. As my Sunday School classmates and I grew older, the classes revisited some of the stories we'd covered before, but explored them in a deeper way.

As an aside, I still know by heart many passages of the Bible (in the NIV version, of course), and I still know the books of the Bible in order (by a song!) because of my childhood Sunday School. Some lessons do last. But if everything is thrown at a child all at once, they can get overwhelmed. I agree with Cat that gradual progression is the way to do it.

Take a look at some of the resources Cat mentioned. Truly, when it comes to catechizing children, the evangelical Protestants almost always have Catholics beat.


#17

My daughter has something called the New Catholic Picture Bible, by Rev Lovasik, which might be useful to you. It paraphrases the stories, including the kind of symbolism you are talking about, has fairly realistic paintings, and has maps in the front and back (which I agree the 7 and 9 year old would like.)

That being said - I don't think it is a good idea to use only these materials. It is an unfortunate fact that Catholics, and we Anglicans too, are pretty poor on Biblical knowledge. So while I read this book to my older kids (and they love it, though I am not crazy about the prose) I am also pretty diligent about making sure they get the straight text, just to remember. For that I use the dePaola books I mentioned, and next year when my oldest is 6 we'll start with the KJV.

Also, for maps, you could find a website with blank maps of Israel and the surrounding areas, and as you read the stories, have the kids fill them in.


#18

[quote="purplesunshine, post:12, topic:220024"]
First of all, this was how to teach the importance and typeology of the Bible WITHOUT the sexuality.

[/quote]

I don't understand why you deem it important to teach a 5 year old about typology, even if you don't use the word typology.

[quote="purplesunshine, post:12, topic:220024"]
And they are homeschooled kids.

[/quote]

Do they not have a religion textbook? All the religion textbooks I have encountered have plenty of bible stories, explanations, and connections like the ones you are talking about in an age appropriate format.

The First Holy Communion preparation has the stories surrounding the Eucharist, and the prefiguration in the OT such as the Manna, the bread come down from Heaven. So, I'm not understanding why you find these resources so lacking.

The Great Adventure Kids link I posted is a great program also to supplement the religion text.

[quote="purplesunshine, post:12, topic:220024"]
We shouldn't have to be 25 and listing to a Carson Webber podcast before we are told that Old Testiment forshadows the new.

[/quote]

Strawman.

No one has said you must be 25 before you start learing about Old Testament (note spelling) foreshadowing. Foreshadowing can be covered in grades 5, 6, 7, etc. So can symbolism and making connections.

[quote="purplesunshine, post:12, topic:220024"]
BTW
This unit is cavemen/indians, Bible, pre-print stories, post-print (grim's) and then modern stories, next unit is how people tell stories all over the world.

[/quote]

So, I'm a little confused. Is this religion class or is this English class, or is this Social Studies class? And, are you equating the **Bible **with Cinderella fairy tales and cavemen paintings? I'm not following you here.

The bible is not merely a "story." It is the Word of God. I would not teach children about the bible in the context of a unit on "stories."


#19

[quote="1ke, post:18, topic:220024"]
I don't understand why you deem it important to teach a 5 year old about typology, even if you don't use the word typology.

[/quote]

My theory is if their curious and it does no harm to their innocence then teach them. The class is more geared to the 7 & 9yo anyway

Do they not have a religion textbook? All the religion textbooks I have encountered have plenty of bible stories, explanations, and connections like the ones you are talking about in an age appropriate format.

They use the parish religion series...not that good.

The First Holy Communion preparation has the stories surrounding the Eucharist, and the prefiguration in the OT such as the Manna, the bread come down from Heaven. So, I'm not understanding why you find these resources so lacking. The Great Adventure Kids link I posted is a great program also to supplement the religion text.

Still the older two didn't know. And it's not a religion class...see below

No one has said you must be 25 before you start learing about Old Testament (note spelling) foreshadowing. Foreshadowing can be covered in grades 5, 6, 7, etc. So can symbolism and making connections.

So, I'm a little confused. Is this religion class or is this English class, or is this Social Studies class? And, are you equating the **Bible **with Cinderella fairy tales and cavemen paintings? I'm not following you here.

Its a class on the importance of stories how/why they are told. We started with Cinderlla and went through over 18 different versions from around the world. Using critical thinking questions they were able to identify what each Cinderella story subtly showed...as in the Irish Cinderella went to Mass. I'm not equating caveman with the Bible, either, but Bible stories are important in literature...a story dosn't have to be fake...just like the family stories passed down that we first started with.

The class has a few objectives to get the 9yo to think about something other than greek myths, to encourage the 7yo (not too brigh but has but a deep soul) to want to learn when it's hard and to. The 5yo is just getting him excited about school and learning. (he is an avrage 5yo but).

The bible is not merely a "story." It is the Word of God. I would not teach children about the bible in the context of a unit on "stories."

The Bible is one of the most important stories, ever. It trancends time and culture. They all know that the Bible is different, it is written by the greatest story-teller, God. Again, there's no law that sais stories have to be made up.

They are all learning that stories can have morals and meanings. It's great to see them realize the different values in each culture when it came to Cinderella. Or when we looked at the cultures of the world books. What little girls and boys their age live like outside of New England. And bringing Bible stories into the mixis actually to show them where all these lessons and morals come from in the first place. And for the most part they understand. There were cavemen (the first peoples), they were without God and God somehow reached down to them and brought His word. The 7 and 9yo get that and now are making connections to the stories they heard about Jesus in Mass.

And I'm teaching them to indulge in a little critical thinking...which I am seeing they are capable of. It used to be taught in the pioneer times becuase children needed their full wits to survive childhood. It's like that higher order of thinking thing.


#20

[quote="purplesunshine, post:19, topic:220024"]

Its a class on the importance of stories how/why they are told. We started with Cinderlla and went through over 18 different versions from around the world. Using critical thinking questions they were able to identify what each Cinderella story subtly showed...as in the Irish Cinderella went to Mass. I'm not equating caveman with the Bible, either, but Bible stories are important in literature...a story dosn't have to be fake...just like the family stories passed down that we first started with.

The class has a few objectives to get the 9yo to think about something other than greek myths, to encourage the 7yo (not too brigh but has but a deep soul) to want to learn when it's hard and to. The 5yo is just getting him excited about school and learning. (he is an avrage 5yo but).

[/quote]

I really think this is a bad approach. And, there are huge differences developmentally between a 5 yo and a 9 yo.

I know you didn't come on here expecting criticism, but I frankly find your lessons to be out of line with pedagogy.

[quote="purplesunshine, post:19, topic:220024"]
The Bible is one of the most important stories, ever. It trancends time and culture. They all know that the Bible is different, it is written by the greatest story-teller, God. Again, there's no law that sais stories have to be made up.

[/quote]

The bible isn't merely a "story." It is the Word of God.

[quote="purplesunshine, post:19, topic:220024"]
They are all learning that stories can have morals and meanings. It's great to see them realize the different values in each culture when it came to Cinderella. Or when we looked at the cultures of the world books. What little girls and boys their age live like outside of New England. And bringing Bible stories into the mixis actually to show them where all these lessons and morals come from in the first place. And for the most part they understand. There were cavemen (the first peoples), they were without God and God somehow reached down to them and brought His word. The 7 and 9yo get that and now are making connections to the stories they heard about Jesus in Mass.

And I'm teaching them to indulge in a little critical thinking...which I am seeing they are capable of. It used to be taught in the pioneer times becuase children needed their full wits to survive childhood. It's like that higher order of thinking thing.

[/quote]

Conflating bible "stories" and made up stories is, IMHO, dangerous at this age.


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