It is exciting to watch my son learn to read. From road signs to menus, magazine ads to library books, Bryce loves to “sound it out” and declare his new knowledge to everyone (mispronunciations and all) However, his learning progress is really keeping me on my toes.
In the past, ordering at a restaurant was easy. I simply narrowed down the children’s menu to two choices to make it quick and easy. Now, he spends a lot of time (think eternity) contemplating over all the options.
And whereas in the past I could keep my Christmas shopping list on the kitchen counter; now, I have to hide it from his anxious eyes.
Bryce’s reading ability has even changed the way I drive. No longer can I pass billboards advertising landmarks and attractions without him begging to go.
Probably the most eye-opening experience of Bryce’s passion for reading came from reading the Bible. Every night, we open up the Bible and he reads a few verses. It is such a blessing to hear his young voice resonate with Scripture.
We started in Genesis 1:1 and slowly worked our way through several chapters. Then, it happened: One night, Bryce pulled out his Bible, and opened it to the last page where he had left off.
I sat back and prepared to listen and be blessed. Bryce started reading, “Genesis 4:19: And Lamech took two wives.”
Uh oh, I should have prescreened the text! Quickly, I blurted out, “Um, amen! Now let’s pray!”
Fortunately, Bryce didn’t feel like going into twenty questions mode after the prayer. After I tucked him into bed and kissed him goodnight, I walked out of his room thinking, “That was a close one!”
Its funny, but it never occurred to me that I might need to protect his young eyes from selected passages until he is a little more mature. I mean, when was the last time you heard your pastor declare the Bible as “dangerous” for young minds?
Don’t get me wrong -I’m glad that children’s Bibles aren’t censored for content. We need the truth, even when it is brutal and ugly. Scripture does not hide the fact that everyone –even patriarchs and their families are sinners. In fact, it has been said that the Bible is a book full of sinful men and a good God.
Part of my responsibility as a parent is to feed my son the truth gradually and with discretion. In the same way that he progressed from milk to baby food to solid food, I must be responsible to regulate his Scripture intake appropriately (I Peter 2:2). If I don’t give him milk, he’ll never eat steak. But if I give him steak to early, he could choke!
While I might not be ready for Bryce to hear the details about all of the sins of Lamech, Abraham, Noah, or David; I do want him to understand that we are all sinners in need of a savior.
In fact, that’s something I need to keep on reading as well.