Soundtrack: Beastie Boys "Brass Monkey"/Christopher Cross "Sailing" - gotta love the shuffle...

There's this great story in Joshua 4 where, in the midst of crossing the Jordan into the Land of Promise, Joshua has some guys pick up 12 stones to pile up later on. The rock pile has two functions - it's a visual trigger for a communal memory. Every time they see the rocks, the generation that passed through the Jordan will flash on that day. But it's also a faith transmission tool. Joshua intends it to provoke questions in a generation then unborn. And then the Jordan generation can tell their story/God's story to their kids. And how surpassingly cool that the rock pile's a dialogue initiator, not a lesson/sermon provoker?

So, what are your rock piles? What are the places, objects, rituals that prompt your kids to ask spiritual why questions? And - I am so bad about this - how do you dialogue with rather than monologue to your kids about God?



posted by Michael Howes at 10:46:00 PM |


At October 12, 2007 at 6:54 AM, Blogger One Voice of Many

I don't really know what my 'stone piles' are. Good question.

My children's ages are 7 and under. Mostly I try to work up a dialogue about being kind to their siblings, telling the truth and that sort of thing. I tread lightly sometimes on the God part of the conversation because I'm trying to steer clear of any kind of guilt as control from a religious stand-point.

Whenever I do talk about God specifically I use very short sentences and then ask them what they think. Knowing they're being truly listened to keeps them talking and I try to just make very short and simple comments while they search their own minds.

I rambled... I'm sorry. :-)



At October 14, 2007 at 11:45 AM, Anonymous sonja

I'm finding that as they get older the rock piles (I assume you're talking about ebenezers??) become more apparent to all of us. My two are 13 and 10 now.

I used to feel guilty because we weren't having all these wonderful conversations about God and Jesus all the time. It was a huge burden. But then I started standing apart from our conversations a little bit and listening in and I realized that we were having them, they just didn't immediately sound holy. But my children do ask questions and we do dialogue about God quite a bit. It's short and sweet and I tend to allow them to have control of the conversation when we do because then they remember what we've talked about. When I take control of the conversation it becomes a lecture (in their minds).

Knowing what the family stands for (ours is for truth and love, for instance) and what it won't (lying) can be real conversation starters. It gets the kids talking about what other families do and don't do and why.


At October 20, 2007 at 12:37 PM, Blogger Andrea C.

When our second child was born, my husband went out and bought two noteboks--one for our newest addition, and one for our preschooler. He wrote in it some verses from the Bible that seemed to relate to the meaning of their names, as well as to the circumstances surrounding their birth.

He has continued, every few weeks or even months, to write down what they are doing and saying, and this often ends up having a spiritual element.

The neat thing is that now, at ages 2 and 3 1/2, they often request for us to read from their journals. They love hearing about what they had learned or thought or said or did at certain stages of their lives.

We move a lot and the journals have always come with us. To our children, they mean, "You are valuable. You are growing and learning. God, and your mom and dad, are with you on your journey."