Book Review - Big Truths For Little Kids: Teaching Your Children To Live For God

“You’re turning into such a good boy!” I said to Ben, now 16 months, thinking of how much progress he, our most needy, fussy baby, has made.

“He’s not good,” Paul, 4, playing nearby, bluntly stated. Yes, he was right; “good” was the wrong adjective. Increasingly pleasant, loving, often delightful, occasionally even obedient, but not “good.”

This led to a discussion about why Ben is not good, and what kind of nature he, as well as Paul, I, and everyone, has.

“And what should you do when you sin?” I asked.

“Pray.”

“Why?”

“Because it glorifies God,” he replied simply.

Yes!! And then we continued to talk about why our repentance brings glory to the Father.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

This conversation was the fruit in part of a terrific book we’ve been using to help our children memorize the Children’s Catechism.

For centuries parents taught their children Bible truths using catechisms. One of my mom’s earliest memories is learning the catechism as a preschooler in her tiny Presbyterian church in Scotland, Indiana nearly 70 years ago. But somewhere along the line parents and churches have in large part fallen away from using this simple question-and-answer, memorization tool to train children in righteousness. Encouragingly, in recent years more and more parents and churches are again finding the value in teaching doctrine to their children in this systematic way.

In our church junior high children take a class called, “Dads, Kids, and the Bible” where, you guessed it, dads teach their children Bible doctrine as they study and memorize the catechism. Our oldest three, so far, have been through this class, and can generally pull out most answers, but more importantly, they have a strong understanding of basic doctrine.

While this class is great, we have never done a consistent job in teaching the catechism to any of our children when they were young. All our previous attempts have been pretty short-lived. This year, however, has been different, thanks to a great book called Big Truths for Little Kids.

Written for children ages 4-8, Big Truths uses stories about a Christian family and their neighbors to illustrate the biblical truths taught in the First Catechism. The authors of this book are Susan Hunt, a grandmother and a P.C.A. pastor’s wife, and Richie Hunt, a children’s pastor who happens to be her son. I love how the authors teach the importance of glorifying the Lord in all we do. My young children really enjoyed the stories, though at times they were a bit too tidy for my 9 year old.

If you have questions about why not just teach the Bible alone, or how men of faith have used catechisms in the past, you might want to read a book my brother-in-law, David, gave us. Rediscovering Catechism: The Art of Equipping Covenant Children by Donald Van Dyken offers a historical background of catechisms as well as gives practical ideas for teaching our children. Here’s part of that author’s answer to that first question:

Catechisms, properly written and used, never take the place of the Bible. On the contrary, they direct our attention to the Bible, excite our interest in its glories, and bring together its truths. As a catechism charts the main features and outline the grand themes of Scripture, we are led to an orderly understanding. Thus our reading and study of the Bible are more profitable, our life is more fruitful, and our praise and thankfulness to God are more intense.


Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.
For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they shoud put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments. - Psalm 78:1-7

Comments

Kara said…
Was that one of your PHS reviews or one just for fun? It's very good!
Anne said…
Thanks, Kara. No, this is not one of my PHS reviews. I just think this book is very good, and wanted to share it with others. - Mom
Hi, Anne! I found my way to your blog through Mrsd's. I'm a new blogger myself. There's a lot of garbage out there, but I really enjoy your blog. I look forward to reading more in the future!

I attended a Christian junior high school, and I remembered learning through a catechism. I'm not sure I could answer word-for-word now what the answers were, but I certainly credit it for a lot of my Bible/theology/doctrine knowledge. These things must be taught purposefully. It is not the sort of thing that is "picked up" naturally.

Thanks again for a great blog!
-Jen
Anne said…
Jen,
I really appreciate your kind words. Sometimes I wonder just why I am doing this blog thing anyway. :)
Rebecca Nugent said…
Keep blogging, Anne! It is a real blessing to others!
-rebecca

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