Thursday, September 06, 2007

Books, bathtubs, catechisms, and chairs

This is the start of a new series of posts on how we developed a family worship practice with our children; I plan to start from the very early years and work my way through chronologically. I had planned to do this in Sunday School during our study of the classic book Thoughts on Family Worship, but I don't think we'll get back to that book for a while so I'll give my own thoughts here instead. Also, I don't plan to spend time on the why of family worship; for that, see the book I just mentioned (or Ps 78, Eph 6:1-3, etc).

My earliest memories discipling our children involve books, bathtubs, catechisms, and chairs. I'll take them in that order. Among our favorite books for very young children are The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes, and the Read-Aloud Bible Stories by Lindvall. The second book is good at not showing images of Christ (the first does, I believe). Kristin may remind me of others and if so I'll add them in the comments section. Also, Kristin has been effective in teaching our children when they're little to sit still and fold their hands when being read to. This has paid dividends in corporate worship.

I'll take the next two together. Bathtubs are a great place for teaching and reviewing memory work with a child (a captive audience). We started with the First Catechism and some basic memory verses. Actually I abbreviate some of the answers in that catechism so that even a 2 year old can show progress. Faith can give the answers to the first three questions. And I try to explain some concepts along the way, too, at their level. "Glorify God" means showing others how good God is, etc.

The last topic for this post is chairs. I remember when the children were very little having them sit in chairs during family worship. At first family worship only lasted for a few minutes and it was really us training them more than a time of the whole family worshipping together. We would line up the dining room chairs in a row and have them sit still while we did catechism, singing, or prayer. As long as we had a consistent time each day to do this, and we got off the sofa, we would see improvement little by little in our children's ability to sit still and participate.

Other points I want to mention in future posts on this series: joy in family worship, singing and music, long-term and short-term memory work, prayer lists, Bible reading, liturgy, Sabbath, missions, guests, and hypocrisy. I look forward to your observations, too.

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