How to Teach Busy Kids about God

On that day tell your son, “I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.” — Exodus 13:8

“My kids are too busy!”

Our world is putting increasingly large burdens on our children. Whatever happened to the days when children would come home from school at 2 or 3 in the afternoon and play baseball together in the park, build forts in the woods, or explore the wonders of a nearby creek? These days, it seems that children are busy from sun-up to sun-down.

At least my son is.

Our daily routine looks like this:

  • 7:00am — Wake up, eat breakfast, prepare for school.
  • 8:10am — Leaving on the bus for school.
  • 3:50pm — Arriving at the bus stop from school.
  • 4:00pm — Snack and winding down from school.
  • 4:15-6:30pm — Homework
  • 6:30-7:15pm — Dinner
  • 7:15pm — Video game, TV, family-time.
  • 7:45pm — Getting ready for bed.
  • 8:00pm — Bedtime.

I’m still surprised that a kid in 3rd grade will have 2 hours of homework regularly. Granted, my son isn’t the most passionately motivated student, but he’s pretty bright nonetheless. The bottom line is that in my son’s entire day, he has perhaps 30-60 minutes to just be a kid, and some nights, he goes to Cub Scouts or has another activity.

Should our church start a Sunday School?

So here’s the question: How do I teach him the Bible the way I learned it? Of course, I went to a Christian school and my activities seemed to all revolve around Bible education, and I actually learned stuff. My kids are not going to Christian school, and our church doesn’t have a Sunday School program or Wednesday night “Club” program.

So I’ve been thinking about how to teach my children about God, how to get them to memorize passages from the Bible, and how to get them to think deeply about the central issues of the faith, and I took a lot of encouragement this morning from the verse I quoted above.

On that day tell your son, “I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.” — Exodus 13:8

God instituted the Passover and other ancient festivals as visible ways to pass the lessons of faith from one generation to the next. It’s as if God is saying the best way to teach your kids is to make it memorable, regular, and part of the flow of daily life.

I’ll say that again. Teaching our kids about the important issues of the faith involves primarily these things:

  • Make it memorable (fun).
  • Make it regular.
  • Make it part of daily life.

How we do it

So, in our family, we read from the Bible and talk about it every night. Most nights, my wife does it, but when I can, I’ll join them too. The kids actually love it. They used to fight over whose Bible we would read from, but now we are on a rotation.

How we can improve

Nevertheless, there are three things I’d like to change about that time:

  1. I think I should make a greater effort to be part of it every night.
  2. I think we need to work on making it more memorable (pictures, charts, diagrams, whatever).
  3. I’d like to add some spiritual disciplines to our daily lives specifically Scripture memorization, acts of service, and perhaps even fasting if there’s a way to do that with kids.

What about you? How busy are your kids, and have you been successful at helping them learn about God?