When do you give your child their first Bible?
This question was recently asked on a homeschool forum that I frequent. My answer?
As soon as they can read!
As soon as one of my children has passed the sounding-out stage and is legitimately reading, they are presented with their first Bible, complete with case. They are very proud to have their own Bible. They take them to church, they use them for reference in homeschool, and — joy of joys — they are free to highlight the verses they learn with a marker! A marker!!
As this illness started dragging me down in the last few years, I found it more and more difficult to drag myself out of bed as early as the children. And so I started to stall them. It’s time for breakfast? Well, did you brush your teeth? Are you washed? Did you dress?
My children soon became very independent in these tasks, and were finishing them too quickly. And so, I added another pre-breakfast task. Is your room clean?
Have you ever asked three or four young children to clean two bedrooms all by themselves? At first, it took forever. But they soon became more proficient at it, and I was forced to find another pre-breakfast task if I wanted to stay in bed past childrise. Did you read your Bible?
There! I was guaranteed an extra 15 or 30 minutes, and my children were developing a daily discipline and devotion to Bible reading.
At first, Encylopedia Boots read a chapter each morning to the others. When Safari Boots learned to read and was presented with his Bible, he was very proud to take his turn reading. And just last year, Shiny Boots learned to read and thus earned her own Bible, and started a new morning routine — she preferred to read her Bible by herself, not taking turns with the boys.
At first, I wondered if she would actually read it without her big brothers as accountability, but it soon became clear that she very much enjoyed her time in the Word — she actually sings her Bible chapter. It is so sweet to wake up to my little five-year-old daughter singing her Bible to her two baby sisters every morning.
We are told to give thanks in all things. Even illness. Without this illness, I would not have had my children doing independent daily devotions. What a sweet blessing it has been, and I pray that it will set the solid foundation on which they will build the rest of their lives. This is exactly how God turns suffering to joy. Amazing, isn’t it?