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Now and then the subject of appropriate Christian books arises.  Some of these are more man-oriented than Christ-oriented.  We need to be able to discern the two. 

Discernment is even more important when it comes to educating the young about sex.  Stacy McDonald of Your Sacred Calling — and the quiche recipe — has a post called ‘Bible Disguised as Fashion Mag?’ warning women about ‘Christian’ literature for teenage girls. 

Before selecting a book for your daughter or granddaughter, have a look through it.  It might be Christian in name only.  Some of these books focus on makeup, fashion and sexual experiences with only a tenuous reference to the Bible.  Such references are so tenuous as to be overshadowed by the content of the stories and advice therein!  Sadly, some of these publications — from reputable Christian publishers — may also have some form of the word ‘Bible’ in the titles!

The only way we can ensure our children — lasses and lads — grow up to be soldiers of Christ is by giving them sound Biblical knowledge from the start.  Here is my own short plan, which requires a lot of input from a parent or grandparent, aunt or uncle:

– Make sure your youngster gets to know the Bible from an early age.  Instead of reading secular bedtime stories, why not choose children’s Bible stories instead?

– As the child starts to interact with his siblings and playmates, make sure he understands right from wrong, and explain why.

– Teach your child how to pray and ensure they can memorise the Lord’s Prayer, shorter Psalms and other prayers by the time they reach school age.

– When the child reaches the age of six or seven, teach them the Ten Commandments and Jesus’s commandments about loving our neighbour.  Keep reinforcing the message.

– Make sure they learn a child’s catechism.  Most denominations have them.  Spend time a few hours a week studying it with them.

– Know the Bible so that you can explain stories and reference passages in the Old and New Testaments.  Get your child comfortable with holding a Bible in his hands and reading Scripture for himself.

– Use people from Scripture as role models of fortitude, virtue and so on.  Study passages together with your child so that he seeks Scripture as a guide instead of the television, social networking sites or his classmates.

The key thing for parents (or other responsible family members) is to understand Scripture and their own church catechism.  Buying them a book alone will not help.  Buying one with ‘Christian’ on the cover may actually hinder their spiritual growth.

Point being — if we educate our children from birth to love, serve and fear (in a filial sense) the Lord, they will walk in His ways and be less drawn into temptation.  The kids I knew when growing up who were the least likely to be tempted by drinking, petting and other sins were those whose parents and extended families raised them in a loving manner compatible with the Bible.  They never had the ‘need’ for carnal pleasure that some of the rest of us did. And they went to large state schools!

As St Augustine said, ‘Love the Lord and do what you will’.  If we — and our children — truly love the Lord, we will not find ourselves tempted at every turn.

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