Imagine this… You’re a dad who loves his kids. You want them to grow up to know Jesus. You’re convinced that reading the Bible is a great thing to do. But you just don’t know how to do it. And where would you even start if you did give it a go? You’re worried you might muck it up. What if you look a bit stupid? And your wife is watching on! And she’s just so good at this. You could imagine you might feel like giving up.
Now some of you may have to imagine that scenario. But for lots of us, there isn’t much imagination needed. Our hearts are in the right place. We know what we should do. We even want to do it. We just don’t have a clue where to start. Well, here are 4 super simple things you can do when reading the Bible with your kids, that will be super helpful for them, and hopefully might give you some confidence in doing it.
1) Smile and Laugh
Ok, this might sound like a random place to begin, but I think it’s really important. If you are smiling and laughing in and around Bible time, it sends a clear message to your kids. Dad thinks this is good and enjoyable stuff. Your vibe will speak in volumes to your kids. If Bible reading is obviously a chore, and a time that you just have to get through, your kids will pick up the same attitude. But if it is the best part of your day (or at least the vibes suggest that’s the case – even if it is still a hard time to get through!) then that will tell your kids how much you value Bible time. It’s not lying if you’re not feeling it in the moment, as long as you truly believe it is super valuable time. You are pulling your energy, body and emotions in check, so they line up with what you hold to be true. So smile, laugh, have a good time.
2) No Shame
You might feel a bit self-conscious acting out Bible stories, or changing your voice as you read narratives, but your kids will love it. Dad having fun and getting into something is soooo good for our kids. And when you really get into retelling Bible stories – it will tell them what you think of the Bible. It is worth it! They will love this time with you. Fall down when Goliath dies. Be the donkey that Jesus rides. Pretend to cry when Jesus dies on the cross. Dress up as King Solomon. Whatever. Just get into it and your kids will get into it. (It may take a few goes for them to get into it, but persevere).
3) Throw you kids around
Ok mums reading this – don’t freak. Dad loves the kids too, and it’s ok for a bit of rough and tumble! And dads – how much do your kids love a wrestle or tickle? And you know what? I can’t think of a Bible story that can’t be told with a bit of bodily muckin around. God made bears and lions and flamingos, all of whom liked to play-wrestle. Moses threw the 10 commandments down when he saw the Israelites had made the golden calf. Lazarus died (and I’m sure it was a death that involved lots of heaving and drama and falling down onto the couch). The storm blew everything around until Jesus told it to be quiet. God saved his people (in pretty much every single story) and they celebrated by throwing their kids up in the air in great joy. God closed the mouths of the lions for Daniel, but they ate up his enemies – which clearly feels ticklish and fun when dad eats his kids! Whatever the story is, get some fun bodily interaction with your kids.
And if you find a Bible story that you don’t think it’s possible to do this for – leave a comment and I’ll have a think of how you might do it!
4) Jesus is the Hero
Kids look up to their dads. He is the hero of their family. And there is something so right about this. This gives you great influence – for good or bad. One way to use this for good is to make sure that Jesus is the hero of the Bible story. Jesus is the hero of the day. Jesus is your hero! As they see you reacting wildly to what Jesus has done, and exclaiming, “Woah! Isn’t Jesus awesome!”, they will slowly but surely see that Jesus is the hero of the Bible, and they will want him to be their ultimate hero. You will be a hero of a dad if you point them to the great hero. And you can also make Jesus the hero of Old Testament stories by saying how epic Jesus is by being better than whatever happened in that story!
You can do it
Dads – these 4 things aren’t too hard, are they? Laugh. No shame. Throw your kids around. And make Jesus the hero. Start with only one of them if you’re feeling nervous. Just smile, laugh and be excited with your kids that it’s Bible time. And slowly build up til you’re doing all 4. You will never nail all 4 of them every time. Probably not most times. But if, over the years, you keep doing them again and again, the impact on your kids will be unimaginable.
See other For Dads only posts here.