Q. We gave our preteen son a great Bible that's appropriate for his age, and have repeatedly encouraged him to develop a daily quiet time. Yet he doesn't seem to have any interest in doing so. What's the best way to tackle this with our son?
A. Here are a few practical tips our family's used. For starters, since the time my kids were toddlers, I've incorporated "read your Bible" time into their daily routine, somewhere between "brush your teeth" and "make your bed." When they were tiny, we used a simple picture Bible. As they've grown, they've enjoyed our reading out of The Message, The Living Bible, and The New Living Translation together. These paraphrases and translations bring the stories to life and the truths to heart.
The amount of reading we've recommended has varied. I absolutely love the power of Proverbs for preteens! That's why I think one chapter of Proverbs a day is a great way to start. There's so much wisdom wrapped up in that daily dose that I wouldn't mind if my preteen remained in Proverbs for a whole year.
We have also purchased some children's devotions that make thinking deeper about the Scriptures fun. Kay Arthur's Discover 4 Yourself series is awesome. And since I'm such a Beth Moore fan, I was thrilled to discover she adapted her study, A Heart Like His: Seeking the Heart of God Through a Study of David, for students. I promptly bought it for my teenage son.
Our latest attempt at gentle motivation is a combination of The Two Year Bible and cold hard cash. I promised my son, Tucker, that if he read the allotted Bible portion every night without prompting, I'd buy him a new PlayStation 2 game every six months. I have to admit, this has been the most successful persuasion so far. While this isn't a long–term strategy, I'm hoping this incentive will help Tucker cultivate a desire to stay consistently in the Word on his own.
Of course, when it comes to shaping and molding, nothing's as effective as "modeling" clay. Make sure your son catches you having your personal quiet time with the Lord. You may not see the results as quickly as through some of the other ways I've suggested, but the impact will be more meaningful in the long run.
LISA WHELCHEL is the author of Creative Correction (Focus on the Family), So You're Thinking About Homeschooling (Multnomah), and the founder of MomTime Get-A-Ways. She and her husband, Steve, have three children. E-mail your parenting questions for Lisa to email@example.com.
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