Tuesday, April 09, 2013

How to draw "the fear of the Lord"

We received a really great question from a parent of an 8 and 5 year old:  How do you draw "the fear of the Lord"?  It appears so often, I feel I need to include it.

Here are some ideas:

The "fear of the Lord" is kind of abstract, isn't it.  You can't draw it all by itself.  It reminds me of another abstract that we have had to teach our children:  the word "no".

With our oldest children, we didn't really consult God's Word too much; we were christians, but we relied on popular "wisdom" and we got the vibe that you don't teach "no" before age 2 or something like that.  I don't know, we just felt like it was frowned upon to expect little ones to understand that.  

The way it played out was that one day, we finally realized "This is ridiculous," and started telling our toddler "no".  So one day, they woke up, and there was this new expectation on them.  That went over less than stellar.  It made for a challenging and stressful transition to say the least.

With our last two babies, we taught "no" very early.  We started at around 5 or 6 months old!   It was easy!  Well, actually it was fun.  They would innocently grab an object, and we would say "no" (no spanking or yelling) and remove their hand.  Maybe we would do that 14 times in a row.  "No" doesn't mean much of anything without context.  So, we never just said "no" to them; we always said it in context with what he was doing.  No pictures! 

It was really teaching more than discipline.  That is what made it fun.  It was kind of an experiment.  (Like, we have experimented with at what age they would become ticklish as babies.)  When they started understanding "no", were just amazed.

A side benefit is that at this age, children have have very short attention spans.  So we didn't have to deal with the dedication and perseverance of a 2 or 3 year old wanting to jump off a table... and always getting there after impact.  When working with a little one, you have the benefit of their almost total immobility.  So all of our "no's" are successful; we can control their environment!  There is so much less stress just patiently repeating things to a 6 month old versus chasing down a 22 month-er who is RUNNING to the bathroom with the can opener.

Our youngest is a year now, and he understands "no" across many contexts.  If he crawls towards something and we say "no", he understands!  We haven't attained perfect obedience, BUT we do get some, plus we are seeing a child who is more content with not getting what they want all the time!  (Contentment is a lesson for LIFE!  We need it as much as he does!)  He understands "no" is a dead end, and, with his short attention span, he will then interest himself in something within his palette of choice, such as his toes or the corner of a table.

Well, that was kind of an aside, but the point is:  while "no" is very abstract, in context, it is completely understandable even to a very young child.  That transfers to the teaching of many concepts in the Bible.

An excellent article is "Teaching Our Children to Understand the Bible".  It gives concrete examples of defining such abstract concepts through studying the Bible as a whole.

Another booklet we have found helpful is "How to Teach Your Children a Verse a Day" on our website.  It gives many ideas for illustrating verses when you are not just talking about an ark or great fish.  

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