A child's {mis}understanding

If you have read this blog before you are most likely aware that I teach preschoolers in my local church, and I have three children ages 4 and under at home. So most of my life and energy on a daily basis goes into interacting with and teaching little ones. While learning letters and shoe-tying is important and should be praised, my primary goal and heart's cry is to teach these children about the love God has shown for them through his son Jesus Christ. Teaching young children about God may seem like an easy task, but many times it is daunting. I read an article this morning that worded my feelings perfectly.

Young children often make mistakes in their use of language as they learn it... Confusing the meaning of restaurant and restroom as a child, while potentially embarrassing is one thing. However, confusing the meaning of the words of Scripture or the basics of Christian theology is quite another. Anyone who teaches young children has to stop and think about the words he uses when communicating to them. We should not assume that the thoughts in our minds are effectively communicated without distortion to the minds of the children. It is vitally important for us to ask the children what they have understood us to say... Do they understand what is being said when we use words like heaven, faith, soul, or salvation? We can only find out by asking them. {emphasis mine} 

Teaching is not a task that should be taken lightly, whether in a school, church, or home setting. The Bible says that the teacher will be held accountable for what they taught {James 3:1}. So we should craefully consider what we are teaching and how we are teaching it. This post isn't meant to strike fear in you parents and teachers out there, but to encourage you as I was encouraged, to be in the Word seeking God's grace when teaching. After all, ultimately it isn't our teaching that will bring the children to salvation, it is God. My favorite part of the article is to ask the children what they took from your teaching. Seems reasonable. I know this would be a clear indicator as to whether my point has gotten through, but so many times I just move from my lesson to prayer. After reading this article I am encouraged to open the class {or home lesson} to child-led discussion. What better way to get to know the heart of your child?

If you would like to read this article titled A Child's {Mis}Understanding by Keith Mathison, it is from Tabletalk Magazine February 2012. This is a monthly devotional magazine from Ligonier Ministries. You can read it free here.