19 October 2015

Bible reading in the Baird household is going through a boom time right now. The reason is a resource so simple that any Christian parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, cousin, babysitter or friend could use with younger children.

I’ll explain the resource shortly. But I should say that it’s not as though, in using it, we’ve gone from nothing to amazing overnight. Our pattern for family Bible reading has been fairly ok. During the last few years we’ve had family Bible and prayer time after the kids’ bath-time. We started almost 5 years ago when Samuel was a newborn (knowing he was still too young and squirmy to really know what we were doing).

Our family prayer book has lots more pictures than the BCP or Common Prayer. It’s a small photo album of family members and friends, and we pray through a page each night. (Seeing those we pray for really helps the kids.) Our Bible is either The Beginner’s BibleThe Jesus Storybook Bible, or The Big Picture Story Bible.

But the cause for our recent boom is a book called Beginning with God, published by the Good Book Company. It’s a supplement to The Beginners Bible. It’s like a ready-made bible reading program for pre-schoolers—simply pick it up and use!

Each page accompanies a story in The Beginners Bible, and is split up like a meal. The appetiser gets your child thinking about a topic. For example, in story of The Red Sea last week, the appetiser question is “how do people travel across water?” (Boats, swimming, bridges, etc.) The main course has a prayer, the passage to read, simple comprehension questions, closing prayers, and… sticker time!

Now at the risk of sounding gimmicky, sticker time has been a huge hit in our house. Our 2½ year old daughter has even declared as early as breakfast time that “tonight is my sticker night”! The sticker is simply a picture of the story for the child to stick onto the page. But it works.

The last part of the meal is ‘A snack for the journey’. This helps parents to have a conversation while out and about with their child (or even ideas for craft). I’ve rarely used it precisely as they say. But last weekend we were driving across Tom Ugly’s Bridge, so we talked with the kids about how God rescued his people through the water. It was brilliant. And it’s all there ready-to-go in this book.

We’ve finished book 1 and are part way through book 2 now. It will be a sad day when we finish these books and the stickers therein. But hopefully the principles will stick with us (pun!) as a family for longer (Col 3:16). As the authors say “it provides a simple way to start your child in a regular habit of reading God’s word, which will hopefully stay with them for life”. Amen!

Warmly in Christ, Jon Baird (10am, 7pm)