We’ve been reading to Lizzy from two different children’s bibles, pretty much since the day she was born. The first one was written in the 60s and was my bible as a wee one. It’s a little dated, so you’ll find phrases like this: “It is because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time we have been brought here, so that he may find fault with us, and fall upon us, and take us for slaves, and seize our asses.” Up until the last month, she was okay staring at its limited pictures and was more interested in listening to us read.
Nowadays, she wants more pictures to look at while we read, so we got her the Jesus Storybook Bible, something our pastor recommended. And it’s been a big hit, partly because of the pictures, partly because the stories are told in a way that emphasizes sounds, repetition, movement, and words kids can understand.
But I never expected this was going to be a learning experience for me. I thought we’d read all the stories I already know by heart, help Lizzy learn them, and that would be about it. But I’m finding that I’m seeing stories in a new way and am getting take home messages of my own from them.
For example, we read the story of Jesus and the disciples on the the Sea of Galilee when the storm hit and Jesus calmed it. That was especially fun because of all the noises I could make to mimic the storm. But the message hit me in a profound way. The retelling emphasizes the fact that as long Jesus is in your boat, you have nothing to fear. What a simple fact. Jesus is always in my boat. Why in the world do I fear the big storms?
Lizzy thought the passover section was a bit boring, guess the pictures weren’t up to her standards, but I managed to learn a bit. That’s humbling, considering that Dan and I have been holding or attending passover seders every year since we’ve known each other (Almost 14 years! Now I feel old.). Jesus’ action of cleaning the disciples’ dirty feet is significant because Jesus also cleans the worst kind of scum out of our hearts. Not sure why I didn’t see that so clearly before
So, I’m realizing the proud attitude I’ve had towards bible stories, how I already know them and don’t need to reread them. Or worse, I only should read adult versions, especially the type with lots of footnotes, since I’m more complex. But of course, they’re more than just children’s stories, even though they make great stories for little ones.
Our morning bible time is turning out to be an enriching experience for the both of us. I might be getting more out of it then her. And like most aspects of parenting, that was a huge surprise.