Read the Bible.
Read from a children’s bible every day with your children or class. It can be a short passage, a story, an event in the life of Jesus, a famous story from the Old Testament. What makes this powerful, however, is consistency. These great stories are like the alphabet of meaning that we give our children by telling and retelling them. One day they will return and help them find meaning in their lives as adults.
Talk about what you read in the Bible.
After you read a passage together with your children, ask some curious questions. What do you think Jesus felt like when…? What is it like to be blind? What do you think the blind man was thinking? What would you have said to Jesus if you were…? Questions engage minds and hearts and lead to prayer.
Watch the Bible.
Watch Bible movies with your child. Somehow what is on television is more real than a book, but in any case it involves more senses and makes a greater impact on our hearts and imagination. The beautiful images and moving scenes will stay with your child a lifetime.
Make connections between what excites your child and a story in the Bible.
If they like adventure, there are plenty of adventure stories in Exodus and the life of St. Paul. If they like to pray, read the story of the Annunciation. If they like to babysit, read about how Jesus loved the children and called them to himself so that he could bless them. If they like a mystery story, try reading the book of Esther or Ruth.
Read the Gospel reading for Mass ahead of time together.
Sometimes children can get lost in the homily at Mass on Sunday. Before you go to Mass, tell the story that is being narrated in that Sunday’s Gospel reading and together pick out one important thing you and your child want to remember.
Color the Bible.
Coloring books are easy to find that depict the events of the Bible. Even while you are reading the story, or retelling it in your own words, a child can color it. Coloring is a meditative activity and can help the child enter more deeply into the story.
Pray the Bible.
The Bible has its very own prayer book. The book of Psalms contains 150 prayers to God that have been said for thousands of years by Jews and Christians alike. Choose a couple verses appropriate for children and pray them together. You can learn about prayers of praise, prayers of sorrow, prayers of petition, prayers of gratitude.
Hint: Here is a great place to go to look up where a story is in the Bible: https://www.biblegateway.com/
By Sr. Kathryn Hermes, FSP