My daughter Daphne will be starting 1st grade in the Fall. We’ve been homeschooling her for Kindergarten and sending her twice a week to a co-op for classes with other homeschoolers. I knew she was making good progress in math. She’s learning to draw well. And she’s supposed to be learning Spanish at the co-op (but I see little evidence of it!).
She’s doing well. However, I wasn’t sure about her reading.
My wife has been reading with Daphne every night before bed. Last night, my wife was occupied, so I sat up with Daphne. She turned to Genesis in her bright pink NIV and proceeded to read Gen 2:15.
I was stunned!
I know kids read earlier than six, I just didn’t know Daphne could do that. I knew she could read BOB books and other simple readers. But I didn’t know she could pick out an adult book like the Bible.
She tends to memorize things instead of read them so I turned to Mark 1:1-3 and I asked her to read that. She did. Slowly. With some hesitation and stumbling. But she read it.
I felt a tremendous sense of pride. Parents will know what I mean. It’s one of those genuine fatherly feelings you get.
Normally, my kids look to be praised for trivial accomplishments. “Daddy, look at this scribble I made!” “Daddy, look at this” [sticks leg up in air]. I don’t know what other parents do, but I don’t praise that kind of thing. I’m not into phony self-esteem culture. I prefer to praise real accomplishments appropriate to their age. And I try to be generous with that—to look for real accomplishments of skill or character (which they might not even be aware of) and high-five them for that.
And Daphne reading that one verse was one of those moments.
I was really proud and impressed. Daphne saw that and was just beaming. The last few nights we’ve read one verse together. Just one. That’s about all she can handle at this point. But its enough. And frankly, that’s more than a lot of adult Christians I know!
At the risk of proof-texting, as a father, I often think of this verse:
“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut 11:18-19).
Although this verse is about the Mosaic Law, I think it teaches us an ageless principle of how faith gets communicated to the next generation—i.e., you have to talk faith with your kids.
Every generation needs to be evangelized. Do you just talk to your family, friends, and co-workers about God’s Word? Is that a normal thing for you?
I talk faith with my kids. Sometimes it’s intentional—as in, I’m trying to teach them a lesson—but most of the time that happens because faith in God’s Word is part of the fabric of my marriage with Abby. We talk Jesus. We talk God. We both read the Bible regularly. And now one of my kids has started reading it, too.