Written by Michael James Dowling, Christian author and editor
If you’re a grandparent, you naturally want to provide love and support to your grandchildren. And if you’re a Christian grandparent, you no doubt have an even higher priority of helping your grandchildren develop a biblical worldview.
But how can you effectively teach a biblical worldview to your grandchildren in today’s noisy environment, with its constant bombardment of unbiblical information and images from social media, TV, movies, video games, and the internet?
One answer is through stories. Jesus himself taught using parables. You likewise can use stories to effectively teach biblical truth.
Share your personal journey of faith
One story you certainly will want to tell is the story of your personal journey of faith. Your grandchildren will be eager to hear about how you came to know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. They will be encouraged to learn how God has faithfully guided, protected, and provided for you as you have walked with him over the years.
Share Bible stories
Of course, you will want to make God’s Word the central focus of your story times with your grandchildren. Their faith will be strengthened as you read together the stories of Joseph, Jacob, Moses, Esther, Ruth, Abraham, Paul, and other leading Bible figures. Of utmost importance, you’ll want to read the story of Jesus as well as discuss the stories He told.
Share Good Christian Books
Consider augmenting Bible stories by reading together some of the many good Christian children’s books that are available. You can also use books that are not overtly Christian to teach biblical truths.
For example, while reading the well-known children’s book Goodnight Moon, talk with your grandchildren about the vastness of the universe that God has created. Use a concordance to look up relevant Scripture. If you look up the word “stars”, for instance, one of several verses highlighted will be Psalm 147:4, which says that God calls each of the stars by name. Looking up the word “heavens” will point you to passages like Psalms 136:1-9, which tells us to give thanks to the Lord, who made the moon and the stars to rule over the night.
Relating Scripture to the stories you read will enlarge your grandchildren’s universe beyond a wonderful story to an even more wonderful God.
Lead a Time of Discussion
After reading a story aloud with your grandchildren, ask open-ended questions, such as, “Which characters are most like and unlike you? Why do you think the characters made the choices they did? What would you have done if you had been in their situation? What can we learn from this story?”
Further deepen the learning experience by relating the story to actual life experiences. For example, if the story focuses on perseverance, share about times when you persevered to achieve a goal. If the story is about inappropriate anger or jealousy, point out how each of us has a sin nature, and perhaps discuss the story of Cain and Abel. Invite your grandchildren to share their personal experiences, as well.
This type of personal interaction will enrich learning and create fond memories.
Countering the Culture
In his “American Worldview Inventory 2020”, researcher George Barna reports that only about 2 percent of Americans in the 18-29 age bracket have a Christian worldview.
Sadly, most Americans today would probably agree with one or more of the following statements:
- Truth is found inside each of us, so it can be different for everyone.
- Happiness is the goal of life.
- Anyone who insists that Jesus is the only way to God is intolerant and hateful.
- Everyone should have the right not to be offended.
- Tolerance is a supreme ideal.
- We all have the freedom to choose our own identity.
- Jesus was a highly evolved being who came to teach us how to reach our full potential.
This is the hostile spiritual environment in which our grandchildren are being raised.
To make matters worse, many are growing up in homes where biblical truth is not taught. It’s always been vital for children to know God’s Word. But in these troubling times, they must also know how to apply God’s Word to their lives.
That’s why I wrote Frog’s Rainy-Day Story and Other Fables, an award-winning picture book of original fables that teach a biblical worldview. Illustrated by my wife, Sarah Buell Dowling, this eighty-page book with discussion questions has been called an apologetics book for adults disguised as a children’s book. Quotes by the Dalai Lama, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, and other well-known non-Christians juxtaposed against quotes from Scripture teach children and adults how to recognize the false spiritual narratives that permeate our culture and combat them with scriptural truth.
Helping your grandchildren develop a biblical worldview in today’s post-Christian culture can be a challenging task, but it’s never been more important. As a grandparent, you have a special role to play.
Consider making stories one of your weapons as you engage in the spiritual battle.
Michael James Dowling is the author of four books, including Frog’s Rainy-Day Story and Other Fables, which his wife, Sarah Buell Dowling, illustrated, and which WORLD magazine has named one to the six most outstanding Christian picture books of the 21st century. As a ghostwriter and editor, Michael has helped more than twenty ministry leaders and business professionals write and publish books. He and Sarah reside in Nashville, Tennessee.