Teaching “Jesus Loves Me”

This is one of my favorite family videos of all time. (Watch it before reading further! You’ll love it too… I promise!)

Every time I listen to little Sarah hit that high note, I smile. I love it! Jesus loves Sarah! Jesus loves me! Yet how do we teach our children this truth and how to love him back?

There is no formula.

We can not take them to church (check), read the Bible (check), say bed-time prayers (check) and say we have discipled our children. Reading the right parenting books, Christian schooling, holding to high standards of modesty, or choosing our children’s friends will not ensure that our children will have pure hearts. We can not put them in the right programs. At the same time, keeping them with us constantly will not “do the trick.”

The longer I parent, the more I see my shortcomings and strengths quite plainly by simply being around my children. The other day one of my children obnoxiously sat next to me chomping on her cup of crushed ice. Just as I was about to snap, “WILL YOU PLEASE STOP?!?” Daniel, with a smirk on his face kindly requested, “Honey, I know you picked up that habit from your mother, but please stop. It’s annoying.” OUCH! The same child LOVES salads and vegetables for lunch and enjoys getting outside to run… habits that I’ve picked up this past year that she is emulating! Seeing this makes me smile. It’s my goal for her (and all my children!) to see more positive than negative qualities in me. For good or bad, our children learn by example. That is indeed a challenge that involves a true desire and effort by us (the parents) to be growing in the Lord.

When it comes to instilling a love of Scripture and a heart for God in our little ones, the same principles apply. More is “caught than taught.”If I read my Bible first thing in the morning , my children will often come downstairs, look at me, and grab their Bibles too. However, if I’m on the computer checking e-mail, they will do the same.  It is true “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” When I am impatient and short -tempered with the children, they become so with one another.  Thus, to disciple your children, first cultivate your relationship with Christ. Pray. Read the Word. Seek growth and model a teachable spirit.

When my oldest child was entering kindergarten, we began the practice of regular family devotions. In the early days of our parenting, devotions consisted of a very short Bible story during breakfast. Daniel read while the children ate. That way they wouldn’t interrupt as much! We’ve done many different things over the past ten years. Some families just read the Bible and that is wonderful! We’ve read books of the Bible, Bible storybooks, done themed studies, and even studied hymns or traditions around the holidays as part of our devotion time. We discuss and we pray. However, there is so much we could do and we are always seeking to grow in this area. This year, we’d like to set aside a weekly time of family prayer because we find that we often are rushed after our breakfast devotions. We’d also like to memorize more Scripture. We are not perfectly consistent. There are times I must leave the table and discipline our youngest. There are times we get blank stares. There are times it feels we are just “checking the devotional box off our to-do list.” However, there are so many times that I know the children are learning life-changing truths. So often they engage, ask questions and are awed by God’s word! I am so thankful for my husband who “keeps on keeping on” when it comes to daily Bible reading.

While there is no perfect resource other than the Bible itself, I have found some books and CD’s that have been helpful over the years.

Music is such a gift from God! When my toddlers or preschoolers are cranky, putting on an upbeat CD changes the mood. My favorites are:

Sing the Word: Musically, these are absolutely beautiful. I’ve bought over a hundred of them over the years to give as baby gifts and birthday presents. My favorites are God Our Provider and Great In Counsel and Mighty In Deed. Each of these CDs have a whole chapter of scripture set to music. What a blessing to hear young children able to sing a whole Psalm! Visit the site and listen to the samples. I just love them!

Hide ‘Em In Your Heart: These are older CD’s but so sweet. I can not listen to them without thinking of each of my children as little ones. You must see Esther sing to “God Loves A Cheerful Giver!”

Seeds of Faith: These are great too! They’re more “big kid” and “pop” sounding. My 5-10 year olds love them!

I could list hundreds of books but I’m going to stick to just a few of my all time favorites…

ABC Bible Verses: A Bible verse for each letter of the alphabet.

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Bible story points to Jesus. This book has wonderful illustrations and helps children see the “big picture.”

Right Choices: My children have enjoyed this little book about making good choices. I like it but often go a little deeper about “why” right choices are made in each illustration. I will admit to skipping one or two pages when mine are really young because the school situation described is irrelevant for our family. However, I do like this little book. It’s a great way to discuss “right choices” to preschool children.

Training Hearts Teaching Minds: This is a resource helpful in teaching the shorter catechism. I think it would be best for children 5 and up.

Parenting With Scripture: It is so important to speak God’s Word continually to our children. We should “preach the Gospel” to them daily in our interactions with them. By no means have I arrived in this area! I mess up. I get angry. Yet even when I fail, I desire to humbly express my sorrow and model a desire to grow. This book points parents to Scripture so that we can more effectively point our children in the same direction.

Doorposts Charts: I love these visual reminders to be diligent, bless others and resolve conflict. These are wonderful little charts to hang up and refer to often. Click on each chart on the website and you will see how practical and wonderful they are!

The above resources are for young children and I know there are many others. I may post with some of my picks for older children at another time. Feel free to leave comments with links to your favorites! Blessings as you seek to teach your children about God’s Word!

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-8

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One Response to “Teaching “Jesus Loves Me””

  1. Amy Foote Says:

    Good stuff Tina! I love your mothers heart in this. We used the Doorpost materials when our children were younger. Still have quite a few books I am holding on to for my grandbabies.
    Blessings <3

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