Making the Most of Story Time
Welcome to our first “Reach Thursday” post! I wanted to begin with an article (and a video next week) focused on serving our children and grandchildren, with the end goal being that they might someday serve others with radical generosity for the sake of the kingdom!
So let me ask: as a dad, mom, or grandparent, what comes first to your mind when you hear the phrase “Story Time?” Guilt? Joy? Stress? Opportunity?
When it comes to telling stories to our kids and grandkids, I have observed a slightly tweaked maxim to hold true.
They get out of it what we put into it.
Now granted, a lot of times when they are younger, we can usually be okay by simply grabbing one of their favorite books and reading it. They love the book, and love getting to postpone their bedtime. “Read it again!”
But I trust that you are desiring to not just slide by with a minimum of effort every night with this high calling (Maybe every now and then, we all need grace, right?). There is so much potential to instruct our young ones effectively in the truths of Scripture, and to do so in a way that engages them and impacts them for Christ. Here are a few ideas that I found helpful, and one or two that I wish I had done:
Read from a good illustrated children’s Bible. There are many incredible ones to choose from!
Read Christian books geared towards children. Our kids can still quote certain pages from a kid’s books on Jonah, and are now reading the same books to their own children. And don’t forget the classics: our four enjoyed the Chronicle of Narnia series.
Make up your own stories, and characters. My version of this featured a young honey bear named Sri Lanka, and his friends (and a few enemies). This gives you the ability to craft a story to address a specific need you are observing in their lives, and to have some good creative fun.
Share stories about missionaries. There are kid versions of different heroes of the faith. This is one idea that I wish I had pursued. What could be more exciting than to have one (or more) of your kids decide to go into the mission field someday because God used you to spark this interest in them? (Having missionaries over for a meal when they are on furlough is another great way for them to hear incredible stories!)
And what about telling stories during these challenging days of Coronavirus? When our kids are tugging on our skirts and jeans all day? Our youngest daughter Ruthann came up with a neat idea. She is daily connecting on Zoom with her two sisters and her six nephews (with her four kids listening also) and reading “The Wingfeather Saga” aloud. This is a wonderful collection of children’s books written by Andrew Peterson, who is also a gifted songwriter (we sang his song “Is He Worthy?” last Sunday).
So let’s make the most of story time. It’s not about doing it perfectly ever night. It’s not the end of the world if you have a rough week and miss a few nights. But by God’s grace, he has wired us all with a love of stories, and for storytelling! May the ultimate story—the gospel—resound beautifully in their hearts in these days of felt uncertainty. Enjoy!