This is Day 18 in a 31 day series on Teaching Toddlers Theology. To catch up on where we've been, or view our menu of posts, go to this intro post.
Starting tomorrow, I'm going to start going through some of the individual Bible stories and sharing a few ways we add to what we're reading them and use it as a time to teach Theology. Titus loves for me to read him Bible stories, so when we finish a story, I try to ask a few questions and tell him a few quick extra things about God while he's still engaged. It only takes a minute or two longer, but after I do this time and time again, it starts to stick, and he starts telling me the story and the spiritual truths I've told him! Repetition is the key to teaching toddlers, I'm finding! :)
It's easy in the mind of a kid to learn all the Bible stories, but not find anything deeper in them besides the one application a Sunday School teacher might tell them. I know as a child, I saw the stories as disconnected and isolated in Scripture, and I think that's how kids seem to be taught the stories in their children's bibles and at church. I'm sure you might've viewed them the same way at some time or another. There's certainly nothing wrong with kids simply knowing the Bible stories, since they do provide a foundation for their knowledge and faith, but we must do what we can to connect these stories to the ONE story of Scripture! Of course it might be slightly over a 2 year old's head to try to give them thousands of years of early Israelite history or Western Civilization, but we can try to impress on them that all these stories are apart of something bigger and that God is at work and that there is a purpose for everything that happens! Start to teach them why this story is important or what God is doing in this story! Of course, the story of Scripture is the Story of God's love, it's the Story of Christ, and its the Story of how we can find God! Christ is all over Scripture, so let's point our toddlers to Christ whenever we get the opportunity! (More on sharing the Gospel coming soon!) There's a problem of sin that God has solved in Christ. Throughout the Bible there's the constant problem of sin, but there's a clear message of hope! Let's purposefully weave these themes of Scriptures into our children's minds; let's begin to teach some continuity in Scripture. Teach the stories and then start to connect them.
This may sound kind of silly to some of you. You may not understand what the big deal is. Like I said earlier, there's obviously nothing wrong with teaching Bible stories- they are important to build that spiritual foundation and knowledge of the Word. But when you come to teaching about Christ and his work on the cross, its important that they understand there is a sin problem and where it came from, and that they acknowledge their own sinfulness. Helping a toddler understand the Gospel can be difficult enough, so if you've laid the ground work already, it can help them begin an understanding of what Christ did and why it's important.
Well I hope this makes sense. I feel like my mind is kind of all over the place, so hopefully you get the point of what I'm trying to say! :) Bottom line, let's begin to connect all the individual Bible stories to the ONE story that Scripture is telling!