October 2016 – Kids love asking questions. They feel the need to ask why clothes are a requirement, why meals cannot consist of ice cream alone, and why Mommy and Daddy look so tired. Yet, in the midst of asking simple questions, kids can also raise profound issues, sometimes leaving parents speechless.
Fortunately, there are tools that can help parents teach good theology both to themselves and to the next generation.
Using catechisms is a great way to engage children and feed their natural inquisitiveness while teaching biblical truths. Although the word may be unfamiliar, catechizing refers simply to teaching by asking and answering questions.
The most well-known Protestant catechism is the Westminster Shorter Catechism. The Catechism for Young Children is a simplified, introductory version of the Shorter Catechism. Both can be found online at reformed.org or in printed form.
A recently developed catechism gaining favor is the New City Catechism. Its strength is that the children’s answers are taken directly from the adults’ answers, so parents can learn as they teach their children. The catechism can be found online, or through free apps at Android and Apple app stores.
Animation and quirky characters in cartoons such as Theo (theopresents.com) and Owlegories (owlegories.com) keep children’s attention while telling great stories that teach deep lessons.
Theo guides children through a careful study of systematic theology. The stories are engaging, the teaching is convicting, and the presentation is entertaining.
Owlegories was designed with a similar vision. Thomas Boto and his team sought to create lovable characters who find lessons about God in everything around them.
“Our driving purpose is to communicate the truth and love of God to our kids first,” Owlegories creator Thomas Boto told AFA Journal. “We walk a fine line between teaching deep enough to be engaging but not so deep that we lose the kids. That applies to making a fun show or doing family devotions.”
Find reviews of Owlegories volumes 1, 2, and 3 at afajournal.org in 2/15, 4/16, and 9/16, respectively.
For families who want to teach through music, Seeds Family Worship takes the words of Scripture and sets them to catchy music. The team has produced several albums, each with a unique theme.
Songs are simple enough that anyone who plays an instrument can play for family worship. Free chord sheets are available at seedsfamilyworship.com.
To the parent who feels he doesn’t know enough about God, Boto said, “You know more than you think. Be confident and get into God’s Word with your kids.”
To the parent who finds it difficult to teach on a child’s level, Boto said, “There are wonderful tools out there to help you. Reach out to your community and see how other parents are teaching their kids.”
The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity (DVD) by Alex McFarland and produced by AFA and Focus on the Family is an invaluable aid for parents. Available at afastore.net or 877-927-4917.