I have had many opportunities over the last few years to invest in the lives of children, teens, college students, adults, and seniors. I have found that something is missing among people in general. It was not until my junior year of college that I understood what was missing. What am I talking about? READING!!!!
If anyone hated reading, it was me! I hated books. In fact, I never read a book all the way through until college (Wow, did I just say that for the world to see?). As I work with teens and children, I have found a dislike for reading. As a person who works with, and invests in children, teens, their families, and the church, I feel it is extremely important that we teach parents how to change this downward spiral. Here are some options I have for you:
- Have a lot of books: It is important for us to have books in our homes! I never had ANY books until college. When I got married (right after graduating from college) I had three bookshelves full of books! Now Jenn and I have an office that is filled with books! Books help to stretch our minds, and will help kids/teens/adults in many different ways. Check out this article.
- Have a love for Bibles:Of all the books Jenn and I own, we have more Bibles and Bible resource books (commentaries, Bible dictionaries, concordances, and Bible background information and charts). We have a love for the Bible! It is almost a love of ours to have different Bibles. While we have the Bibles we use daily (NKJV Women’s Study Bible for Jenn, and the ESV Study Bible for me), we also have different Bible translations to reference or read for something different as needed (NIV, NASB, NRSV, Message, Amplified Version, Chronological Bible). If you own a lot of Bibles, you are able to focus your life on the Word. Having different translations helps you have a Bible that your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, parents, and friends can read. NOTE: I believe that which translation you choose does NOT matter as much as finding one that is Faithful.
- Connections: This is probably the HARDEST part of being a parent, teacher, or person who invests in the lives of children and teens. Many people find that the Bible is “boring” because they don’t see how it connects to everyday life. My suggestions
a. Know your Bible: this will allow for you to take everyday situations and connect them to the Scriptures. This will help to show the significance of the Bible in their lives. See where Jennifer did this very thing right here.
b. Encourage your family to read their Bibles! I have friend who has a family reading time before bed. He uses 15 minutes before going to bed to read the Bible. This also allows for a time to pray over your kids, hugging and kissing, and a chance to “tuck them in” Just find a time that works for your family where you can all (YES EVEN YOU) can be in the Scriptures daily!
4. Talk to your spouse about what you are reading: Of all the books, articles and blogs I have read about having a successful marriage, I have found a common thread: Date Night! Jenn and I have a date night weekly. This could be anything from a movie night at home, or going out and eating at your favorite spot (we like Sushi Land). Use these times to talk about what your reading, what your learning, who you talk to (as for ministry things), plans for the next week, etc. These help the two of you to connect, encourage and pray for each other. It also shows your kids that “mommy and daddy” love each other. It also allows for you to join them in their reading and discussing adventure (but on an age appropriate level).