Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Growing up, I knew I didn’t believe the “millions of years” story, but when the topic came up in my classes, I didn’t have a lot of material to refute what was being taught. In college, Dr. Gary Parker's earth science class was eye-opening, to say the least. Plate tectonics, rock layers, fossils . . . all explained from a Bible-based, young-earth perspective. Science suddenly became relevant; the “natural” world finally made sense within a biblical worldview. I was introduced to material from Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research and began to devour every resource I could get my hands on.
After college, I applied for—and was accepted to—a position at AiG, working with correspondence. That was ten years ago. Since then, I've become passionate about producing resources to help kids and adults know what they believe and why. God has graciously given me the opportunity to work on a wide variety of products—from Pilgrim’s Progress All-in-One Curriculum to Answers Academy to the Answers for Kids curriculum set to our new Vacation Bible School. Although much more can be done, I praise the Lord that the number, quality, and variety of materials produced by creation-oriented ministries around the world continue to increase dramatically.
Even with all of these resources, Mike T. wonders:
I have a two-year-old boy and another boy about to be three. I love your site, and I understand a lot of what you talk about. How can I take the knowledge I learn from you and disseminate it in a positive way that my boys will understand? I want to start early with them, and I know you talk about teaching kids in high and junior high but wonder if you have any suggestions for this age group?
There are many ways to teach children even at this young age. For example, A is for Adam and D is for Dinosaur are great tools for teaching the alphabet. Many of America’s founding fathers were taught to read and write using the New England Primer, which offers opportunity to teach doctrine while training children in their ABCs.
My friend Stephanie uses short catechism questions (http://www.reformedreader.org/ccc/cc.htm) with her two-year-old daughter London before she goes to sleep at night:
- Who made you? God
- Who is God? God is the maker of all things.
With very young children, repetition is key. Ask the same questions repeatedly. Find different and varied ways to say the same thing over and over again. Although your kids aren’t up for a long discourse on soteriology and eschatology, they will understand simple declarative statements, e.g., that God is the creator of all things. As they mature, you can add to their understanding with additional explanations and apologetics. In fact, the ministry Kids 4 Truth (http://clubs.kids4truth.com/) offers a program that helps parents and teachers to do just that:
If 4-year-olds begin with the Kids 4 Truth curriculum, by the time that they graduate from the 6th grade, they will know with some measure of understanding 120 essential questions and answers of authentic Christian teachings, and will be able to provide supporting Bible verses.
Of course, your teaching time doesn’t always need to be “formal.” My young nieces and nephews (ages 3–7) enjoy repeatedly watching Dinosaurs, Genesis, and the Gospel. As they watch, they absorb the truth that dinosaurs and humans lived side-by-side in the recent past and that the millions-of-years scenario is a myth. All God’s Children and My Creation Bible are also great for teaching children the truth about God’s Word and continually sharing with them the bad news/good news salvation message.
Television and movies can also provide teaching times. Don’t be fooled into thinking that twos and threes aren’t picking up the long-age philosophies they get from television and seemingly “innocent” videos (e.g., Land Before Time, Ice Age). In the workshops I conducted, I found that even four-year-olds had picked up on the subtle and not-so-subtle dinosaurs-lived-millions-of-years-ago mantra. Frost, AiG’s web content manager, didn’t just use the television as an easy babysitter for her young daughter. She watched the shows with her daughter and looked for opportunities to discuss any anti-biblical teaching that came up. She’s used episodes of Dora the Explorer and Disney shows to teach her daughter how to discern fact from fiction, talking with her about the problems with evolutionary ideas and what the Bible says.
Dr. Georgia Purdom offers the following ideas about how she’s been teaching her three-year-old daughter.
I try to take advantage of “on-the-spot” teaching moments. When I am pulling weeds in the garden, I talk about the Curse and that if Adam and Eve (and all of us) wouldn’t have sinned, there would be no weeds to pull!
When people or pets die (or our outdoor cats bring dead animals to the house), I talk about why things die (the bad news) and the good news that we can live forever in heaven when we die if we have become a child of God.
The fossil shells embedded in rocks on our property give me a chance to talk about Noah’s Flood.
We were watching a program about big cats (tigers, etc.) and domestic cats, and I talked about God making different kinds of animals and how big and little cats both came from the same original cat kind and how awesome the diversity was that God created. When we see an amazing feature of an animal (on a TV show), I point out God’s great design, imagination, artistry, etc. I read the animal articles from Answers magazine to Elizabeth, and we look at the kids section together.
However you choose to teach your tiny tots, what’s important is that you do teach them. Of course, this presupposes that you, the parent, have developed and cultivated a biblical perspective in which the Bible provides the framework for interpreting and understanding the world around you. The many resources that we offer make supplementing your own Bible study easy and rewarding. It’s never too early to begin raising the children you’ve been blessed with in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.