Parents Survival Guide

I don’t know why I like posting about resources so much, but I do. Live with it (or don’t; please don’t go!). I recently obtained my MA in Theological Studies and with that came a decent bit of pride. During my studies I remember thinking – surely I can do my own devotions. Never mind the myriad of things that demand my time and that would likely make these poorly thought out devotions.

But as Christian parents our main objective, pastorate, mission field, whatever, is that we raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The good news is that parents with real faith, acted out in their home, tend to pass that along to their children (see this article by Kevin DeYoung which I have seen confirmed in other sources). So let us not neglect our primary duty as parents.

A quick list of resources I like:

Long Story Short / Old Story New by Marty Machowski are just simply excellent. They can be easily read and discussed with no prior reading. We use these on and off and this is just simply one of the easiest ways to do devotions in your house. My minor complaint is that the praying a prayer or decision based evangelicalism is present in the book and so I’ll just rework the prayers at the end (when that crops up, this is a personal preference and a different in emphasis between myself and the author, a minor point in other words).

The ARP Psalter: we use this at night to read before bed. The ARP Psalter, which is really just the RPCNA’s Psalter (The Book of Psalms for Worship) with our added Bible songs (so sue me, I’m an ARP, I like the ARP Psalter). Any Psalter will do, the Trinity has one as well. But this is a way to just experience the Psalms (and hymnody and poetry) that I think is good for a child. It is good for me to read the psalms in a slightly different setting than straight from the Bible – it reminds us that they are songs.

The First Catechism: this is a simplified and expanded version of the Westminster Shorter Catechism for children. I don’t think it can be stressed enough how important it is to give our kids a theological vocabulary. Like learning grammar our children need to learn what are the important words/concepts of our faith (like justification, covenant, etc). And one thing I actually like about the First Catechism over the Shorter is that it has a question directly on covenant:

Q. 24. What is a covenant?
A. A relationship that God establishes with us and guarantees by his word.


In Conclusion:

We don’t do all of these things all the time. We are most consistent with reading the Psalter at night. My son enjoys doing it. He also now picks one at random after we read the next one in consecutive order each night.

The main thing I think as a parent, which I struggle with, is to have a living faith, fueled by the Word of God that allows you to pour into your kids. That’s the place to start, these resources are just to help us with busy schedules, not neglect the teaching that we need to do. May our children know that we love them and God loves them.

Got any others that are worth it, let me know in the comments.


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