Friday, February 01, 2008

Short attention span?

Here is a video of Joanna telling the little boys the Bible story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. (She went on for quite a while, but the clip is short, as I kept running out of memory.) I really tried to get the attentive look (which to the untrained eye seems like a "dazed" look!) on Sammy and Giddy's faces,. They have heard this story plenty of times.

Common educational research asserts that most kids (especially the very young) require lots of visuals, lots of hands on, and short amounts of information. We have not found that to be a requirement (though our kids enjoy that too, of course). Sammy and Giddy are 4 and 3 years of age respectively. We have found even our young children, with just a little explanation, will listen and follow stories straight from the Bible (even KJV) for long periods of time, with no props or visual aids! (It does take a little narration in the ear during Bible reading time.)

We didn't know this from the beginning of our parenting career. I (Debbie) taught Sunday school and children's church for multi levels for over 10 years, and never even tried simply reading the Bible to the children. With our own children we really looked for good "children's Bibles" with pictures. However, we soon realized that by relying on these, we were missing alot of details, and the illustrations were instilling certain limitations on the story that were not in the Bible anyway.

For the little boys (Sammy, Giddy and Noah) we occasionally read the entire book of Jonah in one sitting, and they pay attention, and you better not skip a detail! In fact, we have found that we can occasionally pause and they will fill in the next few words.

We have found having several Bible stories fairly memorized (creation account, resurrection story from John, Noah and the ark, etc.) really puts the children miles ahead when they begin learning phonics and want to read from their own Bible! Whatever they can't sound out becomes a "sight word." We have not found any "look-say" related problems, and spelling is not a major problem with any of the kids. In fact, the child who struggled most with spelling has made great progress -- NOT from a spelling program, but by reading and copying the Bible!

This is not because OUR kids are exceptional, but because the amazing way in which God has wired the brains of children. Evolutionists can't figure it out, why we are so wired for language from such an early age! Yet the Bible says over and over "these words" should be taught to the children...

"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them dilligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

The Bible has no pictures either, yet "from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:15)

Several years ago, I recall my friend Brenda explaining her surprise in teaching a Sunday school class. One morning, she decided to forgo the curriculum and just open the Bible and have the kids read something: They loved it!

As our brother Art has well said, "Children memorize their favorite stories word for word. Do you want them to learn the Bible or fairy tales?"

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