What Are They Learning?
Research shows that one of the weakest areas of learning is in the field of religion, morals, and ethics. Since religion is the basis for moral and ethical behavior, it's a good topic with which to begin.
In the book of Isaiah, it says that "a little child shall lead them." But, children can't lead the way to a useful, peaceful future if they don't know how! Obviously, they must be taught by parents, school teachers, Sunday School teachers, coaches, and other mentors. From this group, parents are usually the most effective and influential figures in a child's life.
Research shows that one of the weakest areas of learning is in the field of religion, morals, and ethics. Then, as parents and grandparents, we must "step up to the plate" so our youngsters can learn the fundamental lessons of life and be true winners. While every family operates and every child learns in a unique way, there are many tested and successful methods to encourage an understanding of religion. And since religion is the basis for moral and ethical behavior, it's a good topic with which to begin. Here are some for you to consider:
- Teaching Bible history. It's fun when you have a Bible Trivia game. Play it several times a month at the table after dinner or on your Family Night.
- Problem solving. The well-known phrase "What Would Jesus Do?" can be used during education problems and relationship challenges. WWJD does illicit good conversation. Show the importance of a moral and ethical life.
- Everyday prayer. Don't save daily prayer or meal time grace for special occasions. Pray together each morning. At dinnertime, ask for "Today's Good News" and expect kids to share. Give thanks for the sharing of good experiences, no matter how small. (This positive conversation cuts down on complaint time.) Pray individually with each child at bedtime.
- Sunday School sharing. Expect children to remember the things taught in their religious training classes. On the homeward commute Sunday morning, regularly ask, "What new thing did you learn today? How could we use that?" On the way to church, remind them that you'll be asking those questions later.
- Encourage outreach. See what youngsters can contribute at church - putting up hymn numbers, leading the singing in Sunday School, serving on a committee. Check with your church to see what youth opportunities are available. Regular outreach to the community, not just at holiday times, can also be enriching.
- Mentoring. If your church doesn't have a mentoring system, see if you can get one started. This means that every youngster is teamed with a non-related adult. This adult can make a weekly phone call showing interest and encouragement, send cookies to a camper or away-at-school student, just talk and listen, treat a youngster to lunch or a movie, etc. This contact with other church members increases a child's support system and the importance of religion.
- Playtime. Invite a fellow Sunday School student to join your child for lunch and the afternoon on Sunday. Many kids feel they are alone in their religion and such contact is strengthening - plus fun.
- Storytime. Use Bible stories as bedtime stories. There are many books available to help you if you aren't a knowledgeable Bible storyteller. Be sure to ask about the point of the story and how it is pertinent to today's living.
- Make it fun. While religion is serious, it is also useful and fun. As youngsters learn more and more Bible stories, encourage the playing of charades - each participant silently acting out a story while others guess who it is or what event is depicted.
- Utilize grandparents. These important resources can also tell stories, sometimes take kids to Sunday School or church, and set grand examples of ethical living. Sometimes youngsters will confide in a grandparent more easily than in a parent.
- Write it down. Obtain for each child a small lined book that can be used for recording favorite Bible quotes and prayers, and for writing down experiences where prayer has made a difference.
- Set an example and share. Let youngsters know how much God means to you in your life. Give examples of His guidance. Express gratitude. Live a moral life.
- Make religion useful. There is no challenge that the Bible can't handle. Turn to God often and teach children to do the same. "...all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children." (Isaiah 54: 13)