My little girls are starting second grade soon and I have a rather huge dilemma on my mind: if I got both of them a teen version of the Christian Bible, would they be able to read and understand it? And moreover, would they find it interesting enough to develop a desire to later take on the actual, facts-rich Bible? Having in mind that today’s schooling is a lot different than a few decades ago when there were no 3D animated movies, colour books and all kinds of entertaining but educational stuff that we have today, I was sceptical that I’d manage to introduce my girls to our religion and the core moral values of it, on my own. Me explaining the best way I know how (facts, logic and then some more logic) is just not the right way to do it with little kids, which meant I needed to get a helpful tool and think of an entertaining way to get them to participate in their spiritual education.
For small children of only 7 years old, the Bible in its most original form is just absurd. They have just learned how to read, and even if they do trouble themselves to read a chapter or two, it would be completely pointless as the Bible isn’t just a novel – it’s the most complex piece of literature in existence. So, I got them a teen study version of the Christian Bible – it’s written in a style that ‘s more understandable, and very clear, so readers can get the ‘broader’ image. It also contains maps drawn in colour, biblical quizzes, advice for family and friends and other teen issues. So basically, this can be defined as a book that guides children how to deal with the many complex situations of being a child in modern age school. After all, the Bible is a centuries old book, but the moral guidelines it contains are timeless.
It isn’t enough to just give the book to the kids and expect them to read it, analyse it and come back and ask you questions about it because they’re so excited. No, that’s more like a training session: I wanted to make them prepare themselves, practice consistency and discipline and learn that you get rewards as a result of hard work. So, I gave them a task: we’d be having Bible discussions every Wednesday after dinner and every Sunday in the afternoon. Nothing too strict since I’m not their teacher. We agreed they’d read a chapter or two before we have the discussion, and then they’d tell me all about it and explain to me what they have read. I’d be asking random questions according to what they tell me, and we’d talk. Mother-daughters Bible talks and explanations.
My plan seemed fun the first couple of weeks. Then, it started to become a little dull as they found watching TV more interesting. So I needed to spice things up a bit. I didn’t invent anything, I just took some Christian conspiracy theories I read online and shared them with them. Conspiracy theories (to the extent of their decency), are always fun. With adults they are almost infectious, and if you innocently put a dose of mystery in them, they’ll be obsessing your kids to the point of skipping dinner till they find out if it’s really true!
Bottom line is, the excuse that the Bible is a hard book to read and understand for kids just doesn’t hold up anymore. Teaching morals and religion to kids should be made fun, entertaining and mysterious enough to sparkle their natural curiosity. A good book like a teen Bible is helpful, but a little creativity wouldn’t harm them either.