“The Holy Scriptures may be learned by children as soon as they are capable of understanding anything.”
When I opened Genesis 1 to start my adventure through the Bible together with our children, we had three kids ages 4, 2 and around 9 months. My plan was to read through the Bible with them, one chapter a day, Monday through Friday at breakfast.
Now, you know that having breakfast with a 4 year old, a 2 year old and a nine month old is an adventure in itself. And yes, I was attempting to eat and read the Bible.
No surprise — it was chaos!
I was sure that they were not paying any attention. Honestly, I’m not sure I was totally focused either. But I kept trying.
God was gracious. (No surprise there, right?) It didn’t take me long to see that even though it seemed like they were not paying attention, they were hearing.
After experiencing three days of kids looking out the window, asking for more food, and blurting out unrelated questions while I was trying to read, we arrived at day four. Chapter 4 of Genesis is the story Cain and Abel.
Breakfast was as crazy as the previous three days, and when we finished I sent my kids off to play in the living room. While I was picking up plates from the table (and the floor) I noticed that my older two children were playing . . . get this . . . they were playing “Cain and Abel.” They really had heard even though they were not paying attention.
This is not really a new concept. I bet this has happened to you. Have you ever tried to tell your husband something private, thinking your little one was occupied and not listening? Then an hour later that child pops over and asks what you meant when you said _____ to dad. And then he or she repeats everything you said to your husband . . . verbatim.
Kids have this remarkable ability to look like they’re not paying any attention but soak in a lot of what is going on around them. The same principle applies when you read the Bible. They often look like they’re not listening but you’ll be amazed at how much they’re taking in.
When your child is squirmy and loud and asking “When are you gonna be done?” while you are reading God’s Word, whatever you do . . . don’t lose heart. They’re hearing more than you think. And don’t lose sight of how important it is to tune in your heart, and the hearts of your children, to the Word of God.
So, as the chaos swirls around you, just be faithful and keep reading God’s Word. Keep teaching your ears and your kid’s ears to listen for the voice of God.