Monday, March 3, 2008

What do you leave out?

We've been using Danielle's Place for our Kid's Church curriculum. It's been perfect for us--it engages the kids in fun and creative ways, our oldest child until recently was 5 (most of the lessons are for preschool-grade 2), is easy to use, and is inexpensive ($50/YEAR!). We've been using it for a year and a half, and still have lots of lessons to do.

We're now making our way through the Old Testament. I was surprised that Danielle's Place didn't really have any lessons on Abraham or Issac, so we've been supplementing with resources from Mission Arlington. It doesn't have the same level of activities (like no craft templates), it's in the same spirit as Danielle's place--very active learning oriented and child appropriate.

This week's lesson was on the birth of Issac. To simplify things, we left out the part about Ishmael. Even though it explains a lot about why the world is the way it is today, it didn't seem appropriate to talk about it with 3 and 4 year olds.

When I was talking with my mom about ideas for the lesson (got any good games, Mom?), she said, "you're not going to talk about Abraham sacrificing Issac, are you?"

My first response was, "why not?" I thought about Revelation 22:18-19--I don't want to be guilty of adding to or taking away from the Bible (though this passage refers specifically to Revelation). I don't want to omit major ideas from the Bible just because they're not appealing.

And then I thought about it from a kid's perspective--it is pretty scary. I can see why Danielle's place doesn't have a lesson on it--even the Mission Arlington's preschool version is sanitized--the putting Issac on the altar is left out.

It is a hard lesson. How do we teach that God wants us to put Him first, above EVERYTHING--family, work, hobbies, even the things he's promised us--without scaring the kids?

It also made me think--are there portions of the Bible I "leave out" because they make me uncomfortable or are scary?

God, guide us in what is appropriate for us to teach our children...while teaching them the whole truth.


Jen said...

I think our kids handle things better than we think they will. And, as an added bonus, if we give them the whole truth--albeit, in a fashion and manner they can comprehend--they will be exposed to WAY more truth than most kids are exposed to. Our pastor's wife shared with me once (when I was asking her advice about how to impart the truth of the Word without scaring the girls) that I should never second-guess God's wisdom in the Word. If He is drawing my kids into a love relationship with Him and the Holy Spirit is stirring their hearts, then I should leave the details up to Him. In other words, pray about the method I use to deliver the Word, but not the actual message.
But, I agree that I sometimes want to gloss over certain aspects of scripture because they are unappealing or seemingly irrelevant. That's why I'm so thankful for inductive study and the cahllenges it brings. Boy, does it challenge!!!

Haley said...

That's interesting you bring this up, as I have recently been struggling very much with the literal, and implied, concept of Abraham and Isaac. In fact, Thursday after Life Group, I just broke down before God, and Jordan, about how I didn't feel I would ever be willing to place my son on a altar, and yet, in a way, it feels like I am doing that very thing by taking on the responsibilites of a Life group leader, and it scares me to death!

Love Bears All Things said...

There are things in the Bible that scare me, too. We don't understand so much of it and aren't supposed to I reckon. Having a Father who was willing to sacrifice his most loved child because God told him to would be one of them. If we read about someone caught in the act of preparing to do that today and they gave a similar reason for doing so, how would we feel about it? I think we have to use the Bible in age appropriate ways. God is a loving God and He wants us to put Him first in our lives.
Good post.
Mama Bear

Heather said...

I like what Jen said about praying about how the Bible is presented, not about the message itself. I remember learning the story of Abraham and Isaac when I was in elementary school. I don't remember being scared by it. But I was a little older maybe than your little audience.

Great thoughts to ponder as we raise our little one.