Three Stories You Must Tell Your Children

This article was originally published in the May 2016 issue of Homefront Magazine. “HomeFront is a monthly magazine and parenting curriculum combined into one – based on the 10 Environments highlighted in the book Spiritual Parenting by Dr. Michelle Anthony. It is filled with recipes, craft ideas, stories, and more to inspire, equip, and support you on your parenting journey.” Subscribe to the magazine here!

Three Stories

magic open book of fantasy storiesWe live in a time where undivided attention is a rarity. Buzzing phones, notification alerts, and angry birds have ensured it is so. Much of the time, attention is hard to get and, if we are honest, hard to give.

Unless someone is telling a story.

The moment we hear the opening lines of a story, something like, “I remember one time when…” the siren call of our phone loses its power and our attention is captured. In the age of apps, iPhones, and social media, there’s still something about a story that grips us.

Many parents have stumbled upon this happy truth. They’ve found there are many stories they love to tell and their kids love to listen to. Whether we relive the glory days of our former athleticism or retell the hilarious stories of our childhood tomfoolery or the recall the original story of how mom and dad’s romance first blossomed, parents love telling stories and (most of the time) their kids enjoy listening.

However, it is crucial for us parents to remember that although there are many stories we love to tell our children, there are some stories we must tell them. Many of our tales are funny, others are instructive, but some are essential. Here are three stories that your children need to hear from you.

His Story

The Bible teaches us that parents are God’s entrusted storytellers (Deut. 6:5-9; Ps. 78:4-8; Eph. 6:4). We’ve been assigned the privilege and responsibility of telling out children His story. The Psalmist names the mission that God has given every mom and dad: “Tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done” (Psalm 78:4). Among the many stories we like to tell our children, God’s story is one we must tell them.

Here, a word of encouragement is apt: try to focus on telling your children the one story of the Bible rather than focusing the many stories of the Bible. It’s easy for the numerous scenes and people of the Bible overshadow the singular plot. Although the Bible is filled with amazing stories of faithful men and women, those stories are all a part of the bigger story about a Faithful God who saves an unfaithful people through Jesus Christ. Therefore, as God’s entrusted storytellers, we must help our children hone in on what God has done and is doing for the joy of all people through Jesus (John 3:16-17). We must tell the story of the, “the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done” (Ps. 78:4). We must tell His story. [1]

Your Story

In sharing God’s story with our kids, we’re given a great opportunity to also tell them our story. Herein lies a unique beauty of God’s story as opposed to other stories: His story actually transforms our own. Telling our kids what God has done for us in Jesus (His story) naturally leads us to tell them of what God has done to us through Jesus (your story)!

For some of us, sharing our stories is a little more difficult and scary than sharing God’s story. To help, here are three simple ideas with some clarifying questions that may serve you.

My Story Before Jesus Saved Me. What did you live for? How did you think about God? What was life like without a personal relationship with Jesus? Try not to get caught up on lengthy details or share inappropriate elements that aren’t essential to the story.

The Story of When Jesus Saved Me. Did you come to Jesus over a period of time or at a specific moment? What or who helped you see your sin and deserved judgment? What or who helped you see the life giving news of Jesus’ cross and resurrection? What happened when you believed?

My Story After Jesus Saved Me. How did your desires, words, actions, and decision change after you trusted Jesus? How has God faithfully transformed you since you became a Christian?

By sharing your story you offer your kids a front row seat to see how God has changed one of the most important people in their life. You’ll help them see that God’s story isn’t just a good story, but a transforming story. It doesn’t only have a plot, it has power (Romans 1:16).

Their Story

In addition to hearing God’s story and your story, your kids also need to know that God offers them a story of their own; He calls them to join His story just as mom and dad have. Good stories invite us to experience pretend life through their fictional characters, but God’s story invites us to experience true life through Christ.

Tell your kids how God invites them to trust in Jesus for forgiveness of sins, and how He lovingly offers them a new life and a new mission through Jesus. Help them understand that God’s story always come with an invitation; they don’t only get to enjoy it, they are called to join it.

Capture your child’s attention through all your stories. Make them laugh with the funny stories, guide them in the instructive stories, and watch God transform them through the necessary stories. And do all this for their joy and the glory of our Great Story Maker.

————

[1] For help in sharing the one story of the Bible, I recommend grabbing a copy of either (1) The Big God Story by Michelle Anthony or (2) The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones or (3) The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung. Although they are meant for children, they powerfully unfold the grand redemptive narrative of Scripture in a way that’s helpful for Christians of all ages.

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About Dana Dill

I am a happy slave of Jesus Christ, a thankful husband to Chawna Dill, and the youth pastor of South Shores Church. I'm here on assignment (Acts 20:24).
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