My first post in the series, Flourishing at Home, was 8 Ways Reading Aloud Will Revolutionize Your Home . We discussed 8 (I guess that was obvious) reasons we all should implement this practice in our homes.
This post is focused more on how to probe our children and take full advantage of the discussion that reading together fosters. These discussions provide fabulous opportunities to help grow our child’s worldview biblically. A child’s worldview provides the soil and seed from which his/her character sprouts from. Biblical worldview is essential to grow godly character.
5 Areas of Discussion to Help Cultivate Your Child’s Worldview Biblically
1. Discuss Truth
What is truth, anyway? There’s relative truth, and there is absolute truth. It is fundamental that our children understand the difference between the two. Reading aloud gives us ample opportunity to prepare them for discerning truth in the real world.
In the book, “Red is Best”, of course the little girl declares with complete bias that, “red is best!”. Is it true that red is best? Well, it is to this little girl, and that is okay. For me, blue is best. It’s not a moral issue. Amoral preferences (such as colours and tastes) are relative. They can be different for different people.
If she were to declare that Jesus is not the son of God, the children need to know that her declaration does not change or affect truth. The fact that Jesus is the son of God does not change, it is not relative to opinion. It is a biblically declared and absolute truth.
They need to understand what truths are absolute, and why. We can compromise on all the other stuff, but not the absolutes of scripture.
2. Discuss and Evaluate Societal & Cultural Issues
These issues may be more or less obscure, depending on the book.
Books will reflect contemporary societal issues. We may catch subtle gestures provoking doubt in our child of his gender (or what determines it) or his sexual orientation. Why does our society believe that one can choose his sex? Is this true?
We can teach them evaluation of these issues they will face with a heart of compassion and an emphasis on the need for the gospel. It also eliminates the awkwardness of these issues spontaneously popping up in public amongst a mixed group, and strong opinions. It will prepare them for these opportunities, and can even give them gospel opportunities through them (which will only be achievable if they’re prepared for it).
There will also be opportunities to evaluate cultural belief systems in the light of truth, right and wrong.
3. Reading Aloud Gives Opportunity to See Life From a Different Vantage Point
I think seeing life from another’s point of view, and understanding that we all process life and information differently is essential in growing in compassion, humility, and respect for others. Literature often offers us a variety of vantage points on the issues of life, and we are wise to seize the opportunity to discuss these with our children.
4. Discuss and Grow in Discernment
Books give a plethora of opportunities to grow in discernment.
Choices, for instance, are a fact of life, and we are faced with them everyday. We make good choices, and we also make bad choices. Characters in the stories we read are no different. It is easier, however, from a third person point of view to make objective decisions. As the reader, we can seize the opportunity of evaluating one’s circumstances in a biblical, objective way. We can ask questions like, what choice would you make? Why?
Stories provide perfect object lessons to apply the biblical truths we are teaching our kids during family devotions, and that they are learning in their own time in the Word.
5. Discuss Critical Thinking Skills, Life Skills, and Logic
My son struggles with logic, and so I try to take full advantage of as many opportunities as I can to help him in his reasoning. Helping a character problem solve within the context of a story we are reading is a great step toward personal problem solving.
Learning to think critically and solve problems are life skills that will help us to adapt within whatever context the Lord has us in our life. The ability to adapt will help us to embrace where we are when we’re there. I believe this is a major component that fosters a contented rather than resentful spirit. This is important if we are to flourish in our christian life.
When we moved to the Middle East, this is one area I felt unprepared in. There were a variety of problems to solve- missing ingredients for favourite recipes, how to homeschool with no English resources, how to help my children embrace a culture that doesn’t embrace them etc. We were able to have lots of hands-on opportunities to grow in this area. I learned a great deal about how to improvise, for instance. To make do, and find joy with what we did have. These skills are part of problem solving… had I been more equipped in this area, I think some of the stresses and resentments of my first couple years overseas could have been eliminated.
Well, there we have it. I am sure you will find, as do I, that these times of discussion are simultaneously as good for us as they are for our children.
In the next Flourishing At Home posts, I have prepared some picture books we have loved as a family. We sure have found some treasures along the way… but we’ve also learned to treasure the simple.
Please check out the blogs I link with listed on the side bar to the right (or at the bottom if using a mobile device)