You have purchased (or borrowed) your first Bible and Me book and now you are wondering the best way to use it with your child or children. There really is no best way that will fit every child or every family or every classroom, but I do have some tips for you that have worked with my children and my classrooms that I can share. Before we get to the best ways to use the books, I want to share the reason I wrote the Bible and Me series. I began writing them simply for a most selfish reason – I needed them. As a children’s ministry director, one of my most important roles is to help parents minister to their own children. Many parents want to lead their children through the stories in the Bible, but they have no idea where to start or how to do it. After more than 20 years in children’s ministry, I could tell the stories, relate them to the kids’ current life situations, and enhance the learning with additional activities, but struggled with how to get that information to the parents. That is how the Bible and Me series came to be and I pray that it will be beneficial to you and your children.
Read the story with your children and ignore all the questions. I read the stories in The Bible and Me series many times with individual kids or groups before ever addressing the questions on each page. Give you and your child a chance to just enjoy the story for what it is! Like any other book you would read with them, let them ask questions about what they see and hear as you read the book to them. Kids won’t memorize the story the first time or the second time, they love the repetition of a good story. Remember when they were little bitties and you read the same story to them approximately one billion gazillion times – because they asked for it! Allow them that time with Bible stories too. Jeri Hanson has created fantastic illustrations for the Bible and Me books that your kids will love and want to talk to you about, so let them. Enjoy the stories! That is my first tip.
Next Best Use
Once you and your children are familiar with the story and characters, now begin to use the life application questions with your child. Take the time to read through all the questions in the book on your own – without your child. Think about which questions are most useful to your child at this time in their life. If it is almost their birthday, then in Noah and Me definitely use the questions on the first page about when they were born. If your child is being teased and is struggling to stand up for themselves and their beliefs, then use the questions on page 8. I feel the best part about the life application questions is that you can use them for years. Some questions are perfect for your 4-year old and others are perfect for your 10-year old. What is most important about these questions is that it helps you -the parent – guide your child as they grow to realize that the Bible stories and the people in the stories are just like them and God is teaching them through these stories.
Picking up the book and reading the story text and every question straight through expecting your children to answer each question on each page. Yikes! The story will get lost, your child will get tired of answering questions, and you will feel extremely frustrated and say “these books are no help at all!” Please don’t do this. I truly wrote these books with such high expectations that they will be a tool to help parents lead their children through the Bible stories guiding them see what a helpful treasure these old, old stories can be to us now. You may not have been raised in a church, you may not take your children to church, but you do want them to know about God and Jesus. You do want them to know that no matter what God loves them and has magnificent plans for them. That is what I hope the books in The Bible and Me series can help you accomplish.