I do a lot of eye rolling with BSF materials. But sometimes they’re really solid.
This week’s home training lesson (for those of us with young kids) is a good example. The topic is “Preparing your child to face disappointments.” The Bible story from class was about Jesus on trial, and how bad things happened to him even though he was innocent. God (including Jesus) were not surprised — they were willing to undergo the bad things for the sake of their love for us and what they would accomplish.
There are two bits that I especially love about this lesson.
First, that we should comfort our children in their distress — to care, listen with understanding, let cry, hug and hold, etc. There may be opportunity for teaching, even for discipline, but let comfort be a priority when our kids are distressed. This is what God does with us. He doesn’t just abandon us to suffering, or tell us to keep a stiff upper lip — even though he doesn’t always take away or prevent bad things, in them he consoles and comforts us.
Second, “It is both wrong and unkind to mislead your child into believing something that later he will find not to be true.”
What a great sentence.
I am sure some of you will be thinking, “Right on! Don’t try to make your kids believe in your religion.”
Others might be thinking, as jumped into my mind, too, about such stories as Santa Claus. I have no real issues with him as a story, but I really don’t think the “magic” of believing he’s real outweighs the distress of learning otherwise later. I’d rather focus on the “magic” of the true miracles of Christmas, and let Santa join the nice but fictional characters on the book shelf.
What the lesson was emphasizing is that, while we don’t need to focus on the negative, we should be careful about how we talk to kids when trying to comfort them. “God does not promise that airplanes will never crash. He does not say that all sick kittens will get well or that lost toys will always be found or that injections at the doctor’s office will not hurt.” Likewise we shouldn’t skip the “hard” parts of Bible stories — although they do need to be handled with care, with an eye to God’s purposes — like connecting Jesus’ painful death with the gift of eternal life.