Monday, February 13, 2012

Why our kids don't read their Bibles & why we can still hope:

If your children are wearing-out their Bibles and come to you about once a year complaining they've "worn the cover off of another Bible," this post isn't for you.  If, on the other hand, you are like many adult Christians I know & hear from, and your kids rarely if ever read their Bibles on their own...  you may not like this post, but I think I know why our children aren't reading the Scriptures more often.

In most any congregation, the future is held in the hands of the children.  We live in the here-and-now, but we hopefully are preparing a legacy worthy of passing on too.  Our next generation needs to have a solid Biblical foundation, which can only develop through devotion to personal study. Even if your children or mine aren't taking on "leadership" roles, we still want them to know the Bible well, for obvious reasons.  

As a minister, thinking my kids would naturally be "as interested" in reading their Bible is probably as realistic as expecting Mike Dell's kids to come up with their own line of PCs or Howard Schultz's children to open the next new coffee enterprise.  That's so close to being on the verge of an exaggeration maybe I should say, my interests aren't automatically going be my children's.  Fair enough.

Still, one of my greatest desires is that my children, and your children, were spending more time in the Scriptures. I wish dearly they'd read their Bibles with an insatiable appetite for God's Word. I think, personally and collectively, I/we might be the reason our kids aren't voraciously reading their Bibles.  I'm not saying it's 100% our fault, but, we might be in the equation... 

It pains me to say this, but maybe I've taken the mystery out of God's Word.

Somehow, have I been too ready with an answer for Biblical questions?  Acting like an expert, maybe the spark of the Bible was dimmed or too simplified when I instantly tried to relieve a question's tension...  instead of telling them to dig deeper?  Perhaps I've chewed my children's spiritual food (gross) too well and didn't let them cut their teeth on the Word?

Maybe there's another reason, maybe we've made the Bible so accessible they've never developed a craving and hunger for it.  So maybe they're like the kids in the proverbial candy-shop...?

Could it be we are the reason our children don't read their Bibles more often?  Has an overexposure or readily at-hand answers and easy consumption of the Scriptures watered down and stifled a felt need in our children?  Did we give too much without asking enough in return; i.e., have we "covered them" with easy-answers but we've never asked them to explain the tough passages to us?

Worse yet, could it be I haven't lived-out a "good enough" example?  When I speed in traffic or get gruff with the garbage man when he knocks over our can, did my kids see the dark side of me? 

On the other hand, I never saw my parents open -- let alone read a Bible when I was a child.  Not once.  Even so, I'm an avid daily Bible reader regardless of what my parents modeled for me as a youth.  I'm guessing some of you frequently read your Bibles, and it's not the result of a nagging parent who compelled you to read.

(With my SNL "Church-lady" voice) Could it be, Too much homework? Football/Dance practice, X-box, Facebook, texting, Twitter, Netflix, Twilight, Disney, etc-etc can't be our scapegoat either.  Our kids have free will, and they can exercise it for good too.  We have an obligation to our children to provide the right path, pray for them, and to model with consistency certain practices (like reading a Bible every now and then).

I doubt there's an easy answer here.  A single theory won't satisfy.  I guess we could ask our kids "why don't they" carry they Bibles around like they do their Ipods/cell phones, but then they will say "they have" a Bible on their electronic devices...  does this give me reason to hope?  Perhaps. Perhaps, with enough prayer and encouragement, one day, they'll surprise us!  


1 comment:

Kerry Doyal said...

Good word - thanks for the reminders, challenge & comfort.