Fall 1983. My siblings and I zigzagged around apple and pear trees at a family friend’s orchard, in search of fallen fruit to grind into cider. I remember the day so vividly because we played with a gigantic apple-eating black lab and gulped the crisp fall air eagerly waiting for the special autumnal juice.
Summers 1983-1987. Unless it was raining, we played on the swing set and built cities in our sandbox until dusk, knowing that when Mom called us inside for the night, she would read to us in our parents’ toasty waterbed before we drifted off to sleep in our own beds.
For as long as I can remember. Worshiping together at church on Sunday mornings, we sang hymns and heard stories about Jesus (it wasn’t just about the cookies and punch we’d enjoy during fellowship time before Sunday school!).
These are the memories that shape your children’s future as adults. Spending time together as a family, among siblings, and as a church family help create who your children will become—and how they will interact with other family members, friends, and the world.
Attending church and Sunday school regularly as a child certainly helped develop my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I learned the stories of Jesus through storytelling, sure. But it was more than that. My parents, pastors, and Sunday school teachers helped foster an understanding of how much Jesus loves me through colorful and creative activities, special snacks, and heartfelt lessons and discussions. Engaging children’s five senses helps solidify key biblical messages to stay grounded for the rest of their lives.
But it was more than the Sunday and Wednesday gatherings. Reading devotions every day as a family brings together messages learned in church, and ways to share activities at home, in the car, or on vacation. This is your opportunity to weave the entertainment of storytelling with family time and learning about God’s Word.
And now as an adult, while I don’t have children of my own, I enjoy watching the children at church (a few of them are my nieces and nephew) as they learn about the Gospel. Seeing the wonder in their eyes as they learn about God’s love makes my heart soar. As a writer and an editor, creating content that shares the Good News with children compels me in a way that no other work does. I feel God at work when I write a new product proposal or edit stories that are biblically based—because these types of stories for children were so uncommon when I was young.
I encourage you to pick up a children’s devotional (I can recommend a few if you need some ideas!) and start reading with your kids. Creating loving memories while learning about Jesus Christ will instill values in your family like no other lesson curriculum can.
Kristen Gearhart is managing editor of Keys for Kids, a daily devotional for children and their families. You can learn more about the products they produce and publish at keysforkids.org.