What we teach our kids about God matters.
How we teach our kids about God matters.
Because what and how we teach them about God shapes what they believe about God and his character. Think about the song “O Be Careful, Little Eyes.”
O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see
Here we tell our children to be careful about what they look at. On the surface, this seems like a good message for our kids, right? We need to teach them about controlling their eyes, looking at things that are positive, edifying, and pure. But there is that line, slipped in as if it is benign, about “a Father up above and he’s looking down in love.” The message we are communicating is you better be careful because if you aren’t, if you slip up, he’s watching, waiting to pounce if you screw up.
So, be careful little eyes what you see.
Unintentionally or not, we just taught our kids something about God. Not that he is good and merciful, but that God is to be feared. That he will judge them. That you have to be good enough by disciplining yourself to watch what you see, what you hear, what you do, where you go, and what you say hoping he will look down on you with love. Ultimately, God’s a really scary judge, and for all our talk of him being loving you better be careful.
You see, what we teach and how we teach our kids matters.
Which is why I love Matthew Paul Turner’s new children’s book God Made Light. Children’s books are always a shot in the dark. Few are really good. Most are a few words slapped on a page with no story, no narrative, no point. And with access to so much good material, it’s sad that so many Christian children’s books become a paper bound catastrophe just like all the others. It is hard to find children’s books that aren’t overly simplistic, moralistic, or filled with bad theology about God. This is why I love this book. Matthew has done an amazing job of writing a book that is not only fun, but teaches children that God made a wonderful world full of light for them to enjoy, and the most amazing thing is that the light of God shines in them.
That’s what I want to teach my son.
A couple of weeks ago, my son and I went for a walk on the railroad tracks behind our house. Along the way we stepped on a ground hornets nest and, unsurprisingly, they got pissed at us. Luckily, they stung me first and when I realized what happened I turned to Luke and yelled, “Run buddy!” He took off running while I danced like a madman. In the end, I was stung seven times and broke my flip-flop as I ran down the tracks. He got away unharmed. Since we couldn’t go back the way we came, we ended up walking the tracks to the nearest road, and then followed the road back to our house.
That night, as I was tucking my son in to bed he looked at me and said, “We had quite an adventure today, didn’t we dad?”
“Yes, yes we did.” And then I said, “You know why God made train tracks, and bees, and sunshine?”
“So we could have adventures like that. God made everything we like because he knew we would like it and he wants us to enjoy it.”
You see, what we teach and how we teach our kids about God matters.
This lesson is exactly what God Made Light does. Through beautiful rhymes it teaches kids about the Creator God who loves them enough to create a world were they can go “through the woods tramping.” It teaches them that God is good and created space in the world for them to “wage flashlight wars.” And best yet, it teaches kids that each one of them bears the light of God in their person, and that they can
Shimmer and shine;
be a beacon so bright –
’cause when God made you, child, God made light.
As parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our kids about God. This book is a huge help by giving us words that reveal God to our children while reminding us as parents what childlike faith looks like.
I love this book. My son loves this book. I’m positive you and your kids will love it too.