Teaching Children Through Stories and Repetition

My wife Cathy is an amazing mother.  I marvel as to how easily she relates to our children and grandson.  Recently, I overheard Cathy reading the children’s book, The Cookie Store Cat, to our twenty year-old daughter.  I wasn’t surprised.  Courtney is still a child at heart and Cathy relishes the role of storyteller.
When our children were growing up, Cathy would read to each one prior to bedtime.  Sometimes Dr. Seuss took the stage but most often Cathy read a story from Veggie Tales.  Regardless of the genre, Cathy would conclude with a prayer.
During the daytime hours Cathy would nestle next to Ryan, Garrett, and Courtney while watching a video of Joseph, Coat of Dreams, Moses, and The Little Drummer Boy.  What my children didn’t know at the time is that their mother was imbedding in their hearts and memories the greater story of God’s desire to connect with His children.  My sons and daughter came to know of God’s love for them even before they themselves could speak, read, or write.  In Wesleyan terms, we call such foregoing love Prevenient Grace or the grace of God that precedes our complete awareness and understanding.
In one of his more remarkable speeches to Israel, Moses said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength.  Memorize his law and tell them to your children over and over again” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7, CEV). Educational specialists claim that repetition is one of the greatest tools we have with respect to learning.  The more often a lesson is repeated, the more likely the person is to retain its tenet.
Such a claim is helpful information for those of us who parent.  God has entrusted us with the awesome responsibility of reminding our children over and over who God is and what God requires of us as a human race.  The light of Christ’s love must repeatedly be fanned from one generation to the next lest its fire grow dim.
 
Of course, the church can help a great deal when it comes to Christian education.  Yet, parents have even greater time and opportunity to share with their children the essence of the Christian faith.  The hard truth is:  God is counting upon us as parents to bring loving knowledge of him to the little ones He has created.  As a father and grandfather myself, I pray that I may never let God down.