I have worked with teenagers and young adults for about a million years and here’s a truth you cannot shake lose from my little soul: those who are taught to love and value the Word of God are about a hundred miles ahead of everyone else in terms of real life success. It’s remarkable the difference that it makes.
Because of this firsthand information, Steve & I have taken every opportunity to teach our kids to love the Word. Maybe because we’re older or maybe because he’s a boy and we know how hard it is to be a boy-of-valor in a fallen world, we’ve been especially strategic with Josiah in this area.
Here is the very first bible Josiah had:
My love for this book knows no bounds. It’s simply brilliant and there are lots of versions (for Dads and Daughters, etc.) I read this whole book to Josiah before he was six months old, while I nursed him. My philosophy is: if the Word of God really is living and active then why would I wait even a day to start pumping it into my kids’ spirits? Also, this is my gift-of-choice for every baby shower I attend!
Next, came this amazing bible:
I first bought this for Whitney at Easter when she was two years old and I was uncertain as to how to communicate the story of the crucifixion without scaring the soup out of her. All my kids have had it, all have loved it. Some day I’ll tell you how a story in this book set 5-year-old, Tess, free from fear of talking to people. Seriously, the Word of God is POWER for living!
Next for Joe:
If you read my blog often, then you know my love for Eugene Peterson’s work runs deep and I wanted Josiah to experience it as well. I picked this one up when Joe was about 7 and just starting to read chapter books. I gave it to him with a beautiful (and manly) blue highlighter and told him to go crazy and mark that thing up! It may sound silly to have a kid highlighting his bible, but I really believe that it’s one of the things that got him hooked on daily devotions. He loved breaking the “no writing in books” rule and finding something to highlight kept him engaged in what he was reading. When I look at the things he chose to highlight, I laugh and laugh – but I tell you the truth: I will treasure this bible til the day that I die. Josiah read this bible cover-to-cover and got a prize at the end. This may cause some livers to quiver in disgust but I totally believe in rewarding my children for spiritual discipline.
So, when the time came for him to get a real bible, I took him shopping and told him he could have any one he wanted but he needed to pick carefully. We sat him in a cushy chair and started piling them up beside him. First question: hard cover or soft? He held them and thought. Opened them and closed them. Repeat. Hard cover. That narrowed things down and then he started reading. He checked out book introductions and special features and then he read the same passage in a couple of them since they were different translations. Could I just share that he chose the passage about King Josiah and oh my goodness how cute is that? Anyway, he ended up choosing (without any hesitation), this:
It’s a great one! (and, yep, that’s his class picture back there.)
Next, we shopped for journals and here’s a little note to journal makers everywhere: sometimes boys want them and so maybe we could back off a little on the hearts and flowers and rainbow brite and make something in a basic BLACK. Because in Josiah’s world? Black and blue are pretty much the only acceptable man colors out there. Anyway, here’s where we landed:
It’s a great journal with cool features like scripture memory cards.
With every Bible purchase, you gotta have new accessories, so:
Monsters, Inc. highlighters – because he’s a 9-year-old boy, that’s why. Seriously, the more they like the stuff, the more they’ll use it.
Wonderful, beautiful, sticky flag markers which I am now showing him how to use. What kid doesn’t love sticking stuff on other stuff? What adult doesn’t love it? We have these guys in 5 different colors and they are a joy to my heart. I’m a simple girl.
No kidding – these are my favorite mechanical pencils. They have ridges on the side so they don’t roll and really great erasers. They’re cheap and perfect for bible notations (I always mark the date that I’m reading at the top of the chapter because I love being able to see that in my bible and easily go back to that date in my journal. I also make all kinds of outlandish notes like the greek root number or “PAY ATTENTION TO THIS, BO! YOU DON’T WANNA SCREW UP!” That kind of thing is what the pencil is for.)
So, Josiah’s all set for PB & J (Prayer, Bible & Journal) and he is seriously SO excited. I didn’t get him a devotional because I really want my kids to learn that they can extract stuff from the Word themselves. Around their freshman year, I get all my kids My Utmost by Oswald Chambers (who I credit with having helped raised my oldest daughter) and that’s pretty much where they start with devotionals.
That’s our bible-buying story. Here’s to kids who will grow to love and treasure the Word of God with their whole hearts.
P.S. Thanks to Tess for lending me her photographic skilz without charge.