I call it Bible in the Bathroom.
When I heard a well-known Christian speaker mention that she writes a verse or two on a three-by-five card and tapes it over the bathroom sink, I thought I’d give it a try. I admit, I was desperate. Every one of my previous attempts to introduce regular Bible study into our family’s routine had flopped. Badly.
At dinnertime I’d tried reading a verse or two with a brief commentary geared toward children. The kids pronounced it boring after a week.
I’d experimented with various Advent and Lent devotional booklets, even some that included games and other gimmicks, but their eyes glazed over by the third day.
I’d tried scripture straight-up — an Old Testament story or one of the more interesting parables — but the boys preferred to discuss Minecraft over their macaroni and cheese.
My husband Brad wasn’t keen on the idea of Bible in the Bathroom. He suggested I might want to peel the scotch-taped index card off the tile and stash it in the cabinet when we had guests over for dinner.
“I’m not taking it down just because we have guests,” I announced, all high and mighty, standing in the living room with my hands on my hips.
“But think how you would have reacted just a few years ago if you’d spotted a Bible verse taped over someone’s bathroom sink,” he reminded me.
True. I would have deemed the person a creepy, freaky Bible banger, remembered suddenly that I had a “dentist appointment” and made a beeline for the front door.
Honestly, I’m no good at evangelizing. I’m about as likely to inquire if you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior as I am to ask what size pants you wear. Still, I decided to try Bible in the Bathroom for one reason: I want to introduce my kids to the Bible in a way that didn’t feel like a burden or punishment to them.
I didn’t talk about the verses with the boys, except to suggest they might want to read the card while they brushed their teeth. I didn’t expound on the scripture or explain why I chose the particular verses. I simply taped a card to the tile and changed it out once a week. At the very least, I figured, it gave me something to ponder while I flossed my teeth and plucked my eyebrows.
One morning a few weeks into the project, my son Noah turned to me, toothbrush in hand, as I gathered towels for the wash. “You know,” he said, leaning to spit into the sink, “sometimes I think about these Bible verses when I’m at school. Sometimes they help me worry less.” A couple of weeks later, Rowan began to remind me when it was time to change out the verse.
Clearly a softer, subtler approach to Bible study is the best option for my kids right now. As much as I want to dig into the parables and discuss deep questions with them over dinner, they aren’t ready for or interested in that. They may grow into it…they may not. Right now, though, I’m glad that a few words from the Bible occasionally offer them a little light to see by as they walk through their days.
What about you? Do you have any tips for doing Bible study with kids?
*This post ran last Saturday in the Lincoln Journal Star.